The Mag-7 Star Atlas Project


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What is it?

This project is my attempt to produce a free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts -- the Mag-7 Star Atlas -- capable of being printed at reasonable resolutions on the average home printer.

The Mag-7 Star Atlas plots stars down to Magnitude 7.25, with double / multiple stars indicated by a thin horizontal bar. Plotted DSO's (Deep Sky Objects) include all objects on the Messier list, the RASC's finest NGC list, and the Herschell 400 list – more than 550 DSO's in total.

I hope the Mag-7 Star Atlas will be useful for beginners who can put the printed charts in a binder to serve as their first star atlas. I think more experienced observers will find it useful as well: as a naked-eye or binocular atlas, for marking out a nights observing plan and/or to make notes on in the field and file with your observing reports and drawings.

But Free? Really?

Yes. And not just free of charge -- you have other freedoms as well. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons License. Basically you are free to download, use, and or distribute this work for non-commercial purposes with appropriate attribution. You can create and distribute derived works if they follow the same licence.

If you are the administrator of an online astronomy group/forum, please consider hosting copies of the charts on your site for members. Even better, consider publically hosting or mirroring these charts.

Alternate Public Hosts and Mirrors:

  • The Czech Astronomical Society is graciously providing a mirror site for this project. Many thanks to Karel Mokry and the Czech Astronomical Society for providing this service! You are on this mirror page!
  • The Cloudy Nights online astronomical community and equipment review site have now made the charts available on their website. Cloudy Nights is perhaps the largest online astronomical community, filled with nice people and plenty of information. Many thanks to Allister St. Claire and Cloudy Nights!

The Mag-7 Star Atlas

There are 20 primary charts and one supplemental chart (11a for the Virgo Coma Berenices region) comprising the complete Mag-7 Star Atlas. Based on early feedback, I've made two versions available: a black on white version for use in the field (where red light may interfere with different color schemes), and a version with DSO's, constellation lines and boundaries, and gridlines highlighted in different colors. Different colors help to visually break up the charts making for a more relaxed viewing experience (whether viewing on-screen or printing in color for a "desktop" version). Apart from color, the two versions are identical. Enjoy.

UPDATED: Version 2.0, April 2007: includes corrections, new color scheme, and different symbols for different DSOs (no legend). There is also a full color version with a representation of the milky way -- this is a single PDF file of about 18MB and can be found at: this location. Enjoy.

NEW An object index is now available which lists all DSOs plotted in the atlas and provides their basic data along with which chart each can be found on. Object Index. (a place to jot your own notes per object is also provided).


Download the whole Black and White Atlas as a zip archive, Color Atlas as a gzipped tar file, or just take the individual charts you need from the table.

North of declination +65
chart 01 - B&W
chart 01 - color
RA 0h to 4h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 02 - B&W
chart 02 - color
RA 4h to 8h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 03 - B&W
chart 03 - color
RA 8h to 12h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 04 - B&W
chart 04 - color
RA 12h to 16h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 05 - B&W
chart 05 - color
RA 16h to 20h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 06 - B&W
chart 06 - color
RA 20h to 0h, Dec +65 to +20
chart 07 - B&W
chart 07 - color
RA 0h to 4h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 08 - B&W
chart 08 - color
RA 4h to 8h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 09 - B&W
chart 09 - color
RA 8h to 12h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 10 - B&W
chart 10 - color

RA 12h to 16h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 11 - B&W
chart 11 - color
RA 11.5h to 13.5h, Dec +20 to 0
chart 11a - B&W
chart 11a - color
RA 16h to 20h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 12 - B&W
chart 12 - color
RA 20h to 0h, Dec +20 to -20
chart 13 - B&W
chart 13 - color
RA 0h to 4h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 14 - B&W
chart 14 - color
RA 4h to 8h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 15 - B&W
chart 15 - color
RA 8h to 12h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 16 - B&W
chart 16 - color
RA 12h to 16h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 17 - B&W
chart 17 - color
RA 16h to 20h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 18 - B&W
chart 18 - color
RA 20h to 0h, Dec -20 to -65
chart 19 - B&W
chart 19 - color
South of declination -65
chart 20 - B&W
chart 20 - color


Double Stars

I selectively marked double stars using the Washington Double Star catalog with the following criteria: only stars with a separation of at least 0.5 arc-seconds, a secondary component of Magnitude 11 or brighter, and were based on at least five observations, were marked as doubles on the charts.

Because separate, non-synchronized data sources were used, occassionally the star positions are not identical, resulting in the double-star marker (the thin horizontal bar) and the star being slightly offset. Also, since the magnitudes may be slightly different in each source, stars close to the Mag-7.25 cutoff may be mismarked. This means either a star could be plotted but not marked as a double (if the WDS listed it as fainter than the cutoff), or a marker might be plotted without its star --- the latter being the only case you can readily notice. These are pretty rare occurrences and I'm not sure any reconciliation is worth the effort at the moment.


These PDF's display and print as expected on Acroreader-5.05 on my Linux box. Your results may vary depending on platform and PDF viewer.

Future Plans?

I am considering developing a Mag-9 or 9.5 Star Atlas, and perhaps customized charts for particular observing lists.


The following software and data are being used in this project:

Additional thanks to:
  • Members of the Cloudy Nights community for providing some feedback and suggestions.


I'd love to hear from you if find these charts useful, or have bug reports and suggestions for improvements, or donation enquiries. You can contact me at:

mail address

Copyright © 2005 Andrew L. Johnson
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.