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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Javier1978
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/12/09

When star hopping gets annoying...
      #5566227 - 12/11/12 04:22 PM

I have always considered myself in the star hopping side. I have been observing for four years now and finding a lot of objects with my dob became a second nature and I enjoy it a lot.

But last saturday I went to my dark observing site after months of cloudy new moons (or close to that). I was looking forward to find some new targets, but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing, thinking about all the time of pure observation I was losing. I admit I didnīt do my homework for those targets in my regular roof observation, wich I usually do before going to a dark site.

Anyway, for the very first time I understood how useful a goto mount can be.


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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5566240 - 12/11/12 04:28 PM

Or you could just do your homework . . .

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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5566248 - 12/11/12 04:34 PM

Nothing wrong with GoTo. This is a hobby. Do it in a way that gives you the most enjoyment. You don't need to prove anything to anyone.

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Javier1978
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/12/09

Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5566267 - 12/11/12 04:42 PM

Of course, I just love the simplicity of my dob. Besides, Iīm not planning new investments for the hobby at the moment

Iīll do my homework though.


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5566320 - 12/11/12 05:16 PM

Quote:

last saturday I went to my dark observing site after months of cloudy new moons (or close to that). I was looking forward to find some new targets, but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing, thinking about all the time of pure observation I was losing.




That has happened to me, too. When it does, set it all aside, sit down and relax. Look at the beautiful sky for a while with the naked eye or perhaps with binoculars, then go visit some old celestial friends and forget your troubles. It's not a work or a race to see who can see the most objects. There's always a billion objects out there you'll never see, so one or two less on a list won't make a scrap of difference. What counts is being happy under the stars, not numbers on a piece of paper.

BTW, I am a very experienced starhopper myself, but recently I got my first GOTO mount. I was excited. I thought it was going to be a blast to use. It was boooooring. It was about as much fun as dragging a TV set to a river and watch a video about fly fishing... The fun, challenge and excitement from the hunt and the satisfaction from knowing the sky and how to find the target was completely missing. Other people praise the frustration-free observing of a GOTO, but I found it exceptionally dissatisfying.

Just my honest opinion.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Feidb
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5566336 - 12/11/12 05:27 PM

Getting frustrated star hopping is part of the fun! That may sound contradictory but that's as true as any other part of searching for deep sky objects. I've been doing this a long time, the old-school way (old time hockey!). Now I use a green laser pointer instead of my 50mm finder and I still have trouble with some objects. There are times when I may spend 10 to 15 minutes looking for one object. By that time I give up and move on to the next. With the faint fuzzies I shoot for, that can be par for the course. Does that make me want to "cheat" and spring for a GOTO? Not on your life! That's just me.

Don't feel bad if you have an off nigtht. We all do. It's still fun for me, at least. I appreciate the objects I DO find more.

On the other hand, more often than not, I've already observed a dozen objects before some of my buddies have fooled around trying to get their GOTOs to work. That says something right there!


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Feidb]
      #5566360 - 12/11/12 05:45 PM

Spot on, Feidb.

Quote:

On the other hand, more often than not, I've already observed a dozen objects before some of my buddies have fooled around trying to get their GOTOs to work. That says something right there!




Been there, done that.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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rockethead26
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5566393 - 12/11/12 06:13 PM

I always star hopped when I lived in Florida and Arizona and enjoyed the hunt immensely. I had good night and bad nights when I couldn't seem to find anything. It was just part of the adventure

Then I moved to crummy red-zone skies in Indiana and bought my first computerized push-to system for my dob. There just aren't enough visible stars to star hop so I decided I'd rather enjoy looking at the objects I can and to heck with the hunt. To be honest, even with push-to, there's still a little hunting involved.

The next time I visit a dark site, I'm sure my skills will be rusty and I'll get a little frustrated. If that happens, I can fall back to my computer for help. I really don't care how I do it, I just want to see some great stuff while I'm out.

As another poster stated, you've got nothing to prove to anyone, it's a hobby! Just don't waste a good night.


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5566409 - 12/11/12 06:26 PM

Quote:

you've got nothing to prove to anyone, it's a hobby! Just don't waste a good night.




The truth.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5566424 - 12/11/12 06:42 PM

Quote:

I admit I didnīt do my homework




This is the key. One should sit down with the star charts and calendars and prepare a viewing session before setting out. I am not against Go To, but I am a star hopping viewer and therefore, must always prepare before going out.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5566429 - 12/11/12 06:44 PM

Quote:

BTW, I am a very experienced starhopper myself, but recently I got my first GOTO mount. I was excited. I thought it was going to be a blast to use. It was boooooring. It was about as much fun as dragging a TV set to a river and watch a video about fly fishing... The fun, challenge and excitement from the hunt and the satisfaction from knowing the sky and how to find the target was completely missing. Other people praise the frustration-free observing of a GOTO, but I found it exceptionally dissatisfying.




I agree with you, but wouldn't have had the (b)alls to say it.


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: GeneT]
      #5566448 - 12/11/12 07:00 PM

Quote:

One should sit down with the star charts and calendars and prepare a viewing session before setting out. I am not against Go To, but I am a star hopping viewer and therefore, must always prepare before going out.




This has become increasingly difficult for me, as the number of clear nights continue to decrease, seemingly. In winter, in can be weeks, even a whole month or longer, between deep-sky nights. The whole sky seems to have changed each time I go out. Constellations that were prominent in the west have now set completely. I find it extremely difficult to plan constellation-specific projects, as I never know when I am able to observe them next time. Now I have observed for so long that I am very familiar with the sky and I can easily spend several hours even without an atlas, finding objects from memory alone. Or I can just bring Uranometria and open a page on a constellation that is well placed and begin, starting with something big and obvious and then checking out the smaller objects nearby. Every so often, I stumble on something nice. Most of my evenings are like this and I am almost always taken by surprise when it suddenly clears for a few, precious hours, and find myself scrambling for maps and eyepieces.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: GeneT]
      #5566450 - 12/11/12 07:00 PM

So....what's wrong with picking a constellation and slowly scanning it to see what you might find? I do this a lot and it always yields a rewarding session.

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C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: coopman]
      #5566515 - 12/11/12 07:55 PM

I sometimes feel this way when it is very cold. It takes a certain amount of energy to star hop. Sometimes there's just not much left when you subtract the energy required to keep me warm

On nights like that I always thought it would be cool to just have the scope slew to where I wanted to go.


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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5566555 - 12/11/12 08:39 PM

Quote:

Anyway, for the very first time I understood how useful a goto mount can be.




I've had that happen. I even bought a couple of goto mounts. Then when I went to align them, and had a tree in the way, or a house, or another tree, or the batteries died or were low, it was then I understood how useful a simple, non-motorized scope can be.

But that's just me, and where I observe from. Everyone is different, and if goto works, cool - more power to them. I prefer finding each object by starhopping, even when I get frustrated and lost. It happens. Fall back, regroup, try again another clear night. There will be more.


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george golitzin
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/24/06

Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5566572 - 12/11/12 08:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

last saturday I went to my dark observing site after months of cloudy new moons (or close to that). I was looking forward to find some new targets, but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing, thinking about all the time of pure observation I was losing.




That has happened to me, too. When it does, set it all aside, sit down and relax. Look at the beautiful sky for a while with the naked eye or perhaps with binoculars, then go visit some old celestial friends and forget your troubles. It's not a work or a race to see who can see the most objects. There's always a billion objects out there you'll never see, so one or two less on a list won't make a scrap of difference. What counts is being happy under the stars, not numbers on a piece of paper.

BTW, I am a very experienced starhopper myself, but recently I got my first GOTO mount. I was excited. I thought it was going to be a blast to use. It was boooooring. It was about as much fun as dragging a TV set to a river and watch a video about fly fishing... The fun, challenge and excitement from the hunt and the satisfaction from knowing the sky and how to find the target was completely missing. Other people praise the frustration-free observing of a GOTO, but I found it exceptionally dissatisfying.

Just my honest opinion.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




I agree completely. That moment when you give up the current chase, and sit back and look up, is really vital--it reconnects one to the sky, and provides an opportunity to relearn, or to learn better, the map of the stars overhead. Then, having relaxed a bit and refreshed your star-memory, maybe on the next go-round you won't turn north when you mean to turn south!

-geo


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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: magic612]
      #5566611 - 12/11/12 09:32 PM

Whether I'm starhopping or using DSC's, both methods are tied to the use of my tablet running SkySafari, so it's a fairly seamless transition.

When starhopping, SkySafari is used as an electronic star atlas. And in the case of push-to, it's wireless Bluetooth connection to the DSCs. So I'm free to choose either option


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: tezster]
      #5566628 - 12/11/12 09:48 PM

I star hop, I love star hopping. There is a time and a place for GoTo, when you have a short time to observe. I find after 3 months or so of cloudy new moons I usually am a bit rusty. After I find an object or two, I am back in the groove and the rest of the night goes well. Good advice to take a break and star hop to something you find easy to do. For me in fall that is the Blue Snowball PN or Messier 78 in Orion in winter, just something easy to do. I have also found that using a new scope and having moved my focuser to the right side of the scope since I am left eye dominant also caused some adjustments. It's all good as its part of the journey and its the journey that matters to me, not just a destination.

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Dennis_S253
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5566661 - 12/11/12 10:15 PM

What is the real point of this thread? That you didn't do your homework, or you want a goto system? You know Messier and the other's of the day, they didn't have goto.

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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #5566674 - 12/11/12 10:26 PM

i agree with others, planning is pretty key but i do highly recommend trying sky safari. its full of tools to help the star hopper and even if one did not have a set plan or anything you can still easily find things to view using it.

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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: frito]
      #5566722 - 12/11/12 10:54 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

I was a practitioner of the long tradition of star-hopping for many decades before I bought my first GoTo. I was convinced my first night out with it. However, I still make use of the old skills. I recently found a way to combine these two worlds; the simplicity of a fully manual scope with the convenience of GoTo. The motivation for this approach was my biggo homebuilt 16.5” f/6.5. A wonderful scope, but note the lack of sophisticated pointing aids. That combined with a small field of view made using my big baby a bit of a chore. Not a recipe for fun on the few clear nights we get here in Ohio.

Edited by jgraham (12/11/12 11:13 PM)


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: jgraham]
      #5566724 - 12/11/12 10:54 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

After trying several blends of finders, my trusty Telrad, setting circles, and laser pointers I hit on an idea. While using my laser pointer I found that I could easily see the beam in my finder and even the scope itself. Then it occurred to me that the laser didn’t have to necessarily be on my Dob, but it could be on any scope nearby. The original thought was to mount a laser pointer on an cheapy ETX-60. However, after digging through spare parts I came up with an old Meade 2045s (4” f/10 SCT spotting scope) on a DS-2000 mount with a #494 GoTo controller and an Orion laser pointer. I use the DS-2045s to point to the target and illuminate it with the laser pointer. I then locate the beam in the finder of my 16.5” and follow it out to the end. Voila! A Point-To system. The nice thing about this approach is that it is relatively simple, inexpensive, and I can use it with any scope. Sooooo, you can keep your Dob and use it with a Point-To laser designator whenever you want. The best of both worlds!

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KidOrion
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/07/07

Loc: Carbondale, IL
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: frito]
      #5566866 - 12/12/12 12:45 AM

Star-hopping, to me, is like fishing.

Sometimes you spend a lot of time in the boat only to catch nothing. Sometimes, you only catch minnows or debris. Sometimes, though, you reel in a fine catch that's well worth the effort and occasional frustration. No matter what you catch, though, you're surrounded by nature and everything seems at peace.

\this analogy was better in my head


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avarakin
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: KidOrion]
      #5566882 - 12/12/12 01:10 AM

One way of star hopping without preparation is this:
1. If you are looking for M objects, print Telrad Messier finder charts and then just point your scope according to chart. This works most of the time even in light polluted skies
2. If you are after H400 list, then Triatlas B is your best friend: you open a page with a constellation which you can nicely see (not too high not too low) and then look for H400 objects on the page, they are marked bold and there at least 2-3 of them on a page. Then you just star hop to them. Triatlas B has stars down to Mag 11 so it gives enough stars to hop

If you are not doing M or H400 list and just futzing around, then you need to prepare for this

Alex


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5566965 - 12/12/12 04:21 AM

Quote:

I agree completely. That moment when you give up the current chase, and sit back and look up, is really vital--it reconnects one to the sky, and provides an opportunity to relearn, or to learn better, the map of the stars overhead. Then, having relaxed a bit and refreshed your star-memory, maybe on the next go-round you won't turn north when you mean to turn south!

-geo




GOTO can be GOOD...


- "Reconnecting with the sky"

- I hear Javier's, excitement, expectations, his frustration, his impatience. Out under a dark night sky for the first time in several months, he was excited and hopeful of locating some new objects. When that did not seem to be, disappointment, confusion...

- "Reconnecting with the night sky"

"Make new friends but keep the old" Most any time I am under dark skies I begin by just enjoying my old friends, working from memory and just taking in the visual pleasure.. This might last the entire evening..

At some time, it feels like the right moment to start off on a search for something new. When I do this, I may have some region and objects already in mind but I may just decide, hey, Fornax looks interesting, I wonder what new objects I can find tonight. At that point, I walk away from my telescopes, position my chair to have an unobstructed view of the region and get my binoculars. I get my charts, Sky Safari Pro these days, it used to be Planetarium for the Palm, before that, I used paper charts. I sit there and just enjoy identifying the stars in the region, learning/relearning that part of the sky. At some point I scan the region with the binoculars, familiarizing myself at a deeper level. This might take 15 minutes and is most enjoyable, learning, connecting with the night skiy is enjoyable. Once I am familiar with the region, I spend a few minutes which the chart/program deciding on some interesting targets, move back to the telescope and start hunting. This past weekend, once I was started, I had great fun with the brighter (Mag 9-mag 12) Galaxies in Fornax...

- GOTO is the solution for many and Javier might enjoy stargazing more with a GOTO mount or at least DSCs. But as they say, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Using a GOTO mount can also be a frustrating, disappointing experience. Last month a friend called me long distance, his Nexstar 8SE mount was acting up and he was at his wits end trying to fix it. In the end, I was able to figure out that nothing was wrong with it, in his impatience, he had not correctly remembered the alignment procedure. And GOTO mounts break down ruining an evening or an entire trip. When I used to share a secret spot with three guys with a 12 inch LX-200 GPS, the mount failed a few times and they were dead in the water, a lost night, a lost weekend.

- Patience is probably the most important virtue required for this hobby... The night sky throws us so many curve balls that playing the night by ear, just patiently plodding ahead is the most satisfying path...

Jon


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TexasRed
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/17/11

Loc: East Texas
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5566986 - 12/12/12 05:12 AM

Am I the only one here who enjoys star hopping backwards? These days, I find myself reading about interesting targets, deciding to try observing them and using my GoTo to find them initially. Then I ask myself how I'd find them again in a scope without GoTo and shine my green laser pointer into the finder to see exactly where the GoTo has taken me. I check the charts and the view in my 9x50 RACI finder and binoculars and then plot a course back to the nearest bright star. Only then do I feel like I've really "found" the object, as well as seen it. The next time, I might star hop to it, just for the fun of it, or I might not, but at least I'll know where it is.

All that might seem like useless activity to someone who relies on GoTo, but after years of star hopping, I just don't feel like I've really observed an object until I feel like I could find it myself. I just enjoy using GoTo to skip over the frustrating "Where the heck is it? And how will I know for sure when I've found it?" phase.


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izar187
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/06

Loc: 43N
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: TexasRed]
      #5567087 - 12/12/12 07:40 AM

In general the real secret to star hopping is detailed charting. Whether home printed, book bound or electronic.
Everything has coordinates. Which makes it pretty easy to be on target, if one has enough field stars to help identify the target area.
Seeing the target area may be significantly aided by a magnifying finder, rather than unit power finder.
Seeing the target itself is of course dependent on a whole bunch of other stuff.


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ThreeD
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/08

Loc: Sacramento suburbs
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5567228 - 12/12/12 09:41 AM

I've never had a GOTO scope but my first scope was "push to" XT8i. I was great for the first 6 months as I saw enough eye candy from my light polluted backyard that I got hooked. I soon thereafter began star hopping and never looked back. I do however feel your frustration.

This last summer, after a long stretch of either being unable to observe at my darksight or being too busy helping others at said site to make a dent in my observing list, I found myself there without having made the proper preparations. I didn't even have a proper list -- just a few challenge objects which I had noted but not planned for. What a bust. I've never had problems star hopping in the past but I just wasn't getting anywhere that night.

Finally I sat down in frustration and, as someone ,mentioned previously, I looked up and just took in the wonder of it all with my naked eyes. After a while I was nice and relaxed and I decided to take in views of some old friends (aka bright eye candy). In the end I saw nothing new but it was a nice session -- not my typical session but still nice.

Maybe a GOTO would be right for you but I suspect that you just need either prepare a little better or have a contingency plan.


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Javier1978
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/12/09

Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #5567257 - 12/12/12 10:04 AM

Quote:

What is the real point of this thread? That you didn't do your homework, or you want a goto system? You know Messier and the other's of the day, they didn't have goto.




No point in this thread, just sharing an experience. I think this kind of feedback makes CN the most interesting forum to read.

Thanks to everyone for the comments. Donīt get my wrong, it was overall a wonderful night, I saw a bunch of old and wonderful objects wich I love to revisit and observe in detail for long time while trying to improve my observing skills.

I mentioned that I didnīt do my homework and thatīs true. I did print detailed charts from stellarium (my altas donīt have detailed asterisms), but I couldnīt do a pre-recognition of the zone at home, so I guess Iīm still not a good starhoper and I need some previous work with my scope.

I think Iīm a patient observer, but as Jon said, when you are out there in a dark sky after months, your expectations grow and grow. I think this is the key of dissapointing moment, the lack of oportunities to observe under realy dark skies.

However, at that moment I did what a lot of you said. Carina was raising and I canīt get tired of that nebula and that zone, so I spent the rest of the night with my old friends that I love.

I think the solution for me might be a push to device as mentioned. As for the sky safari, my cel phone is a dinosaur, but the intelligent scope would be nice, easy an effective when needed.

Edited by Javier1978 (12/12/12 10:44 AM)


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galexand
sage
*****

Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Bloomington Indiana
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5567271 - 12/12/12 10:13 AM

I'm also a big fan of star hopping. I use stellarium on my laptop (lots of LP so the laptop screen doesn't bother me), and between a couple different approaches I can locate pretty much anything pretty quickly (zenith still gives me fits though).

But I'm really starting to notice the limitations of sky glow, and I'm trying to take advantage of some of the darker sites around here. Suddenly I find myself in your boat. I don't want to bring (or look at) the laptop, but I do want to find some of the dimmer objects I can't see at all from the city. Plus my time at dark sites is super limited.

Oh and I *hate* planning.

I haven't got much experience with this yet, but I think the solution for me is binocs. I practice hops using the binocs, memorizing various "landmarks" to help me in the EP. From a dark site, even 10x50s will show you the Messier you forgot how to find. And sometimes I do it backwards, I get lost at the scope, so I hunt around for a nearby asterism, and then I look in the binocs for that same asterism to put it in context. Binocs have completely changed the way I star hop.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5567279 - 12/12/12 10:23 AM

Quote:

No point in this thread, just sharing an experience. I think this kind of feedback makes CN the most interesting forum to read.




I agree; those reading this thread could definitely understand your experience, and also both sides of the starhopping/go-to discussion.

I've enjoyed the thread!


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Tony Flanders
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5567317 - 12/12/12 10:48 AM

Quote:

Last Saturday I went to my dark observing site ... but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing ...




There are nights like that. Most of the time star-hopping just clicks for me, and I find all my targets in a matter of minutes. But every now and then I have nights where everything goes wrong.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5567346 - 12/12/12 11:08 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Last Saturday I went to my dark observing site ... but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing ...




There are nights like that. Most of the time star-hopping just clicks for me, and I find all my targets in a matter of minutes. But every now and then I have nights where everything goes wrong.




Everything going wrong = Clouds

Otherwise, what more can one ask???

Jon


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mountain monk
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5567356 - 12/12/12 11:12 AM

+1

Jack


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la200o
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: mountain monk]
      #5567482 - 12/12/12 12:27 PM

I do all three: GoTo, push to (Sky Commander), and star-hop. You often hear, "Using GoTo, I spend more time observing, and less time hunting." This is true, but I'd add, when I star-hop, I spend more time observing the object I've found, since I know if I move off it, I'm going to have to find it again. With GoTo, there's not that motivation to get all I can out of the target.

But all are good. As said above, it's a hobby--no way to do it wrong as long as it's fun.

Bill

Edited by la200o (12/12/12 12:28 PM)


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ensign
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5567557 - 12/12/12 01:08 PM

Quote:

This has become increasingly difficult for me, as the number of clear nights continue to decrease, seemingly. In winter, in can be weeks, even a whole month or longer, between deep-sky nights. The whole sky seems to have changed each time I go out. Constellations that were prominent in the west have now set completely. I find it extremely difficult to plan constellation-specific projects, as I never know when I am able to observe them next time. Now I have observed for so long that I am very familiar with the sky and I can easily spend several hours even without an atlas, finding objects from memory alone. Or I can just bring Uranometria and open a page on a constellation that is well placed and begin, starting with something big and obvious and then checking out the smaller objects nearby. Every so often, I stumble on something nice. Most of my evenings are like this and I am almost always taken by surprise when it suddenly clears for a few, precious hours, and find myself scrambling for maps and eyepieces.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




Thomas, I feel your pain.

I have decided that I'll take a break from "serious" stargazing (for me, at the moment, that's hunting down the Herschel 400) while there's snow on the ground. Here, in Southern Canada, that's generally mid-December till early March. Our winters are also very cloudy, so I plan to save myself a good deal of frustration by simply taking quick peeks with my grab and go setup during those rare moments when the sky clears up.

The winter constellations are still around in the early spring and I find it much more comfortable to observe in more moderate weather.


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killdabuddha
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: frito]
      #5567623 - 12/12/12 01:47 PM


After enuf go-to, don't you learn the sky well enuf to star hop afterward? Unless the LP is extreme, of course. We get sum visceral satisfaction from aiming with a laser and acquiring targets, but that requires knowin where they are. Seems that after long enuf the go-to obsolesces.


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spencerj
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: ensign]
      #5567665 - 12/12/12 02:09 PM

Intersesting how times continue to change. There has always been the "star hop vs. goto" debate. That debate used to be centered around the technology-is-cheating argument.

Now we have "exclusive" star hoppers who rely on a laptop, a smart phone and 3 tablet computers to figure out where to point their scope.

I don't really know what this means. Guess there is no wrong way to skin a cat . . . as long as you end up with a skinless cat.


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Javier1978
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: spencerj]
      #5567709 - 12/12/12 02:24 PM

Quote:

Intersesting how times continue to change. There has always been the "star hop vs. goto" debate. That debate used to be centered around the technology-is-cheating argument.

Now we have "exclusive" star hoppers who rely on a laptop, a smart phone and 3 tablet computers to figure out where to point their scope.

I don't really know what this means. Guess there is no wrong way to skin a cat . . . as long as you end up with a skinless cat.




I have never been into the star hopping vs goto discussions. I have been in the star hopping "side" due to practical reasons and I really enjoy it. But I would not hesitate in complementing my observation tools as long as they donīt become unpractical or very expensive. So I guess I agree with your conclusion.

Edited by Javier1978 (12/12/12 02:26 PM)


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Dave74
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5567823 - 12/12/12 03:18 PM

Goto is expensive. That's the main reason I don't have it. I don't like the idea of not being able to manually point the scope, either. But if it had been free, I'd probably have it.

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MikeBOKC
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Dave74]
      #5567912 - 12/12/12 04:28 PM

The opera singers sound the same whether you arrive at the concert hall on foot, in a horse drawn carriage, by car or by parachute.

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Astrojensen
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5568113 - 12/12/12 07:12 PM

Quote:

The opera singers sound the same whether you arrive at the concert hall on foot, in a horse drawn carriage, by car or by parachute.




Indeed, but for many of us, there is as much satisfaction from the preparations leading to the main show, as the show itself. Perhaps the tickets are not easy to get, the opera hall is in a faraway location, hidden and not easy to find. And maybe the artist is only doing a few performances a year, so if you want to attend, you got to hunt down tickets, find a map with the location of the opera hall and find out exactly when the artist is going to perform. But if you do all this, then there's going to be tremendous satisfaction from beating the odds and get to that rare, perfect opera evening, where everything is perfect. That sure beats just being taken there by a yellow cab.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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The Ardent
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5568204 - 12/12/12 08:01 PM

Im 100% starhopping myself, but how many starhoppers actually take a few minutes to observe the stars they use to hop with?

Most observing lists and guides will have you believe that its ALL about the "object" and not about the stars. I disagree. But thats just me.


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izar187
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5568626 - 12/13/12 03:20 AM

I'm with you. I make it a point to enjoy the stars along the way. Noting which are variable, which are doubles/multiples.

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Sasa
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5568633 - 12/13/12 03:33 AM

Ray, you are right. Especially when you do star hopping with the finder. Then you barely notice the stars on the way. However, from time to time I do star hopping with the main telescope (which for me is usually small 63-100mm refractor) - mostly because I'm lazy to get the finder or simply because the finder could not be easily attached to OTA at that tome. It is definitely more work, sometimes quite frustrating, but sometimes it is also quite interesting and rewarding.

Here and there I notice some unusual color and later at home I identify the star, sometimes it is a carbon star, interesting variable, or nice unexpected double. Or even something totally different. For example, this autumn I noticed very nice orange color of gamma Cep. Later at home I was trying to dig out some information about the star and to my surprise I found out that the star was used in past as a spectroscopic standard for its class, or even more fascinating story about being it the first star with discovered planetary system.

More rarely, I notice even some DSO objects that are not listed in my field atlas (Pocket Sky Atlas). For example, last year on the way from gamma Sge to M27, I noticed fuzzy group of stars which looked like an open cluster. At home, I found out that this was open cluster Roslund 3. Or from this summer, I noticed in 63mm refractor open cluster Cr421 when star hopping from gamma Cyg to IC1318. Or another open cluster Basel 1 in 120mm refractor when star hopping to M11. Interestingly, these are the regions I looked at a hundred times...

I can't see myself with GO-TO which would deprive me greatly out of this little pleasures of star hopping.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5568749 - 12/13/12 07:17 AM

Quote:

Im 100% starhopping myself, but how many starhoppers actually take a few minutes to observe the stars they use to hop with?

Most observing lists and guides will have you believe that its ALL about the "object" and not about the stars. I disagree. But thats just me.






There are really very different ways to enjoy this hobby, different mindsets, different paradigms. Certainly one can go down an list of objects and try to spot them all, enjoy them for what they are and then move on.

But one can also view a telescope as an instrument of discovery, observing every moment and seeing what there is to be seen. Whether looking through the finder, with binoculars, through a "finder" eyepiece on the main scope or a high power small view, there is something to be seen, appreciated both aesthetically and intellectually.

My wife I most often take our vacation as trips to the dark skies of NE Arizona. As we drive along, we look at the countryside, just taking it all in. Not every vista is of the Grand Canyon but along the way, there are some wonderful views, wonderful sights.

I am big on just looking around... keeping an eye open...

Last year I was hunting for the galaxy cluster centered around NGC 5350, its a favorite I stumbled upon several years ago. It's about 1/4 the way from Alkaid to Arcturus... I was tired and not having much luck but I found an unfamiliar object... It turned out to be NGC 5466, a large but relatively faint globular. It's about 1/4 the way from Arcturus to Alkaid. I guess I was tired but I still had my eyes open...

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5568787 - 12/13/12 08:08 AM

Quote:

Hhow many starhoppers actually take a few minutes to observe the stars they use to hop with?




My notes are full of phrases like "Stumbled on remarkable wide double star en route to xyzzy. Identified the next day as Herschel such-and-such." Or even occasionally, "Grossly lost attempting to locate foobar. Just as well, because I encountered a suspiciously clusterlike object x.y degrees east-southeast of 5th-magnitude star. Research the next day indicates that it's ..."


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tigerroach
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: C_Moon]
      #5568840 - 12/13/12 08:57 AM

Quote:

I sometimes feel this way when it is very cold. It takes a certain amount of energy to star hop. Sometimes there's just not much left when you subtract the energy required to keep me warm




That's the case with me too - cold makes all the difference. It has a way of just sucking out all my will to put forth the effort of going back and forth between the scope and the atlas.

That said, some of my greatest star-hopping adventures have been on cold nights...

And I should also note that those of you from the frozen north would laugh at what I consider "cold."


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C_Moon
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5568851 - 12/13/12 09:11 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Hhow many starhoppers actually take a few minutes to observe the stars they use to hop with?




My notes are full of phrases like "Stumbled on remarkable wide double star en route to xyzzy. Identified the next day as Herschel such-and-such." Or even occasionally, "Grossly lost attempting to locate foobar. Just as well, because I encountered a suspiciously clusterlike object x.y degrees east-southeast of 5th-magnitude star. Research the next day indicates that it's ..."




For me that is what it is all about. The journey is often more than the destination...


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KidOrion
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5569123 - 12/13/12 11:54 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Hhow many starhoppers actually take a few minutes to observe the stars they use to hop with?




My notes are full of phrases like "Stumbled on remarkable wide double star en route to xyzzy. Identified the next day as Herschel such-and-such." Or even occasionally, "Grossly lost attempting to locate foobar. Just as well, because I encountered a suspiciously clusterlike object x.y degrees east-southeast of 5th-magnitude star. Research the next day indicates that it's ..."




How do you get lost on the way to Foobar? It might be the easiest deep-sky object there is.


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Carol L

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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: jgraham]
      #5569510 - 12/13/12 04:04 PM

Quote:

I use the DS-2045s to point to the target and illuminate it with the laser pointer. I then locate the beam in the finder of my 16.5” and follow it out to the end. Voila! A Point-To system.




Absolutely ingenious!!!


--------------------

For me sometimes it's go-to, sometimes it's push-to, and sometimes it's star-hopping.

I think of it this way:
When i lived in Chicago and needed something from the store a mile and a half away, i could go about it differently.
1) When the weather was bad, i drove.
2) When the weather was nice but i was pressed for time, i'd take the bicycle.
3) When it was nice out and i had loads of time, i walked.

It didn't matter one bit to me 'how' i got to the store - as long as i got what was needed.



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galexand
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5570671 - 12/14/12 11:15 AM

Quote:


After enuf go-to, don't you learn the sky well enuf to star hop afterward? Unless the LP is extreme, of course. We get sum visceral satisfaction from aiming with a laser and acquiring targets, but that requires knowin where they are. Seems that after long enuf the go-to obsolesces.




You know, that makes sense, but I'm not sure it would work for me. I find if I'm riding in a car and someone else is driving, I can make the same trip hundreds of times before I start to figure out where it is. But if I'm ever navigating there on my own even once then I will remember the route forever, and will be able to connect it to the map. I think that's pretty individual, though, and I've never used goto.

On another note, I am glad to see some other people here have already been doing what I've really just discovered...when I "get lost" star hopping, I often run into all sorts of fascinating things. And just two nights ago for the first time I actually bothered to complete the whole process backwards. I got lost on a hop to double cluster, and I found another nice obvious cluster. I tracked down the nearby bright star (Algol), and then checked the charts and, lo, I have discovered M34. Now that I've done it once, I'm excited for the next cluster I accidentally "discover."


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jgraham
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: galexand]
      #5570917 - 12/14/12 02:14 PM

I gotta be honest... after 40 year of star-hopping I never, ever, ever felt that it helped me to 'learn the sky' anymore than looking at a leaf through a microscope would help me 'learn the forest'. If anything, it left large swaths of sky unexplored for lack of guide stars and stepping stones. In contrast, I've learn much more of the sky from my GoTo scopes and cameras than anything else. With their help I've been able to find soooo many objects it's incredible. The laser pointer is also a nice aid since it points right to where the object is and gives me a naked eye visual reference. Also, having access to unprocessed source images shows me exactly what an object really looks like (before it’s processed beyond all recognition).I can now lay back in my lawn chair and scan one region after another with my binoculars knowing exactly where each object is since I've finally been able to find them. It's fun to spend a few minutes standing out in my back yard gazing up at a constellation and mentally ticking off each object that I've been able to find. In the end there no right or wrong way, and there's certainly no One True Way, whatever method you enjoy and works for you.

Oh, by the way, I star-hopped for decades tracking down faint little asteroids. Now that's fun, not only are you looking for a tiny stellar object that's off the beaten path, but it moves every night! If you're lucky to get a string of clear nights you quickly become familiar witht the field and can spot the little bugger fairly quickly.

Last note (I promise)… the star-hopper's best friend? Vehrenberg's Photographic Star Atlas; one of my most treasured possessions.

Have fun folks, it’s just a hobby.


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Gastrol
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Dave74]
      #5571736 - 12/14/12 10:51 PM

I like my dob to be a simple instrument without any of the electronics but be able to locate objects. This is why I like degree circles. The only electronic gadget you need is your smart phone or tablet.

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azure1961p
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5571794 - 12/14/12 11:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

last saturday I went to my dark observing site after months of cloudy new moons (or close to that). I was looking forward to find some new targets, but I got lost with my charts and that became very dissapointing, thinking about all the time of pure observation I was losing.




That has happened to me, too. When it does, set it all aside, sit down and relax. Look at the beautiful sky for a while with the naked eye or perhaps with binoculars, then go visit some old celestial friends and forget your troubles. It's not a work or a race to see who can see the most objects. There's always a billion objects out there you'll never see, so one or two less on a list won't make a scrap of difference. What counts is being happy under the stars, not numbers on a piece of paper.

BTW, I am a very experienced starhopper myself, but recently I got my first GOTO mount. I was excited. I thought it was going to be a blast to use. It was boooooring. It was about as much fun as dragging a TV set to a river and watch a video about fly fishing... The fun, challenge and excitement from the hunt and the satisfaction from knowing the sky and how to find the target was completely missing. Other people praise the frustration-free observing of a GOTO, but I found it exceptionally dissatisfying.

Just my honest opinion.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




I confess I love GOTO particularly because the laser finder on the c6 is painfully inadequate and my trusty 8x50 finder would t fit. Fact is I hated the notion of GOTO from its inception but in the context of my sct needs I like taking a break from star hopping and I get a little giddy when the things slewing to another new object. The downside is its confining as much as its expansive. Not knowing where in heck the object I'm looking at is with regard to star fields is detachment to the point of mild frustration. The point of star hopping is I learn the avenues and streets and byways up there. GOTO by comparison is star hopping blind folded. The avenues and byways are never seen as this electronic cab driver takes you from point a to point b while all the while the taxi has no windows . Celestial navigation of star fields and asterisms is nothing Id ever want to trade up for auto-find. It IS fun -,in moderation. For me anyway. I agree with your points to a great degree.

Pete


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Achernar
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5573150 - 12/15/12 08:28 PM

While I still starhop to objects, for the most part I now use digital setting circles. Even with the aid of DSC's many of the objects I hunt for are not a slam dunk, I still have to hunt for them. DSC's merely get me to the right haystack in a field of haystacks. Milky skies, cold and limited opportunities to observe at dark sites are why I use DSC's, which allow me to spend more time observing objects. I use themalso to obeserve DSO's I would miss from my severely light polluted front yard. And if the DSCs fail or I don't want to bother using them, I can star hop anytime I want.

Taras


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Feidb
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Achernar]
      #5573434 - 12/15/12 11:44 PM

If I'm under skies so light polluted where I can't star hop, it's not worth observing, as far as I'm concerned. To me, that's an outreach night. That's why I drive 40+ miles to my observing site. Of course, I wouldn't expect anyone else to do that, but that's just me. The faint fuzzies I go for require skies at least dark enough for star hopping to work.

When it's too light-polluted to star hop, it's outreach time, which we do once a month, usually when the moon is out anyway. It's not a wasted evening, just tourist objects, the really really bright stuff that you could find with your eyes closed... okay, almost.

For those of you stuck in an area where you can't drive out of town or have a pier in your back yard or can't afford the gas (I can't really, but I do it anyway), I understand GOTO. I also understand for anyone else that it's a personal choice. I would rather spend the money on aperture or better eyepieces or a book or actually, save it for gas so I can go out to my observing site! However, whatever tool works for you is best.

I've said it many times that I'll never personally use GOTO but I've "cheated" a few times to confirm I was looking at the correct object. Most of my observing buddies have some form of GOTO and even though they almost always have "issues" every time we go out, once they finally get rolling, their input sometimes comes in handy, especially on obscure open clusters.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Feidb]
      #5573621 - 12/16/12 05:06 AM

Quote:

If I'm under skies so light polluted where I can't star hop, it's not worth observing.




Sure, I would agree with that. As long as you can see one star, you can star-hop anywhere in the sky -- though it will take longer than it would in better conditions. And if you can't see a single star in the sky, the only objects worth observing are the Moon and Sun.

Fortunately, in the most light-polluted locations where I ever operate -- such as Manhattan -- dozens or even hundreds of stars are visible on a decent night. So it's rarely necessary to hop more than 10 or 20 degrees from the anchor star.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: When star hopping gets annoying... new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5573641 - 12/16/12 05:54 AM

Quote:

Quote:

If I'm under skies so light polluted where I can't star hop, it's not worth observing.




Sure, I would agree with that. As long as you can see one star, you can star-hop anywhere in the sky -- though it will take longer than it would in better conditions. And if you can't see a single star in the sky, the only objects worth observing are the Moon and Sun.

Fortunately, in the most light-polluted locations where I ever operate -- such as Manhattan -- dozens or even hundreds of stars are visible on a decent night. So it's rarely necessary to hop more than 10 or 20 degrees from the anchor star.




I am not one to pronounce when it's not worth observing, rather I prefer to consider when it is worth observing and that is most any clear night. With a cup half-full attitude and a decent magnifying finder, there are few clear nights when it is "not worth observing." There is nearly always something of interest to look at. If the light pollution is severe, then the menu may be limited a few of the brightest deep space object as well as the planets, the moon along with the many, many "doubles" and "triples."

Jon


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