Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

What's your preferred method for finding objects?

  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 MasterSaturday

MasterSaturday

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2016

Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:34 PM

As I get into finding smaller and more obscure DSO's, I'm facing the issue of how I want to go about finding them.  Basically, whether I want to have a computer point me to the object, or whether I want to try and hunt it down myself with a telrad and a star map.  I already have my laptop out there with Stellarium installed, so if I really wanted to, I could just push a button and have the telescope slew to whatever I want, but that almost seems too easy.  Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I feel like part of the fun is searching for the object yourself.  But maybe I'll go out and do it, only to eventually get sick of it and switch to a computer anyway.  But at least then maybe I can say I "earned" it by doing it the old-fashioned way first.


  • NochesNubladas likes this

#2 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12191
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:49 PM

I'm a starhopper at heart, so that's how I do it. I use my trusty Uranometria 2000.0 for most objects, and if they're very faint, I make my own finder maps from POSS2 images I get from Digitized Sky Survey, invert to black stars on white background and print on A4 paper. Simple. The DSS prints are *amazing* for finding ultra dim and obscure objects, because you're 100% sure that the starfield around the object is 100% correctly shown and there's always enough stars to guide you. 

 

It can occasionally be frustrating, when you're tired and gets confused by very rich or very poor fields, but since I upgraded my Uranometria to the new all-sky edition I've experienced a much greater initial success rate in areas with few naked eye stars, because the maps cover twice the area of the old version of U2000.0, so you're twice as likely to have an easily visible naked eye star within jumping distance. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


  • Asbytec, BravoFoxtrot, CelestronDaddy and 5 others like this

#3 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2664
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:53 PM

SkySafari Pro.  You can change the orientation to match whatever view you wish.   Pro because it provides fainter stars which can sometimes be important when starhopping through the eyepiece.

 

Eric


  • Asbytec, ShaulaB, Knasal and 1 other like this

#4 xiando

xiando

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6388
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: Cloudy NEOhio

Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:53 PM

I occasionally "star hunt" but since I'm not retired, since my goal is imaging, and since my skies are normally cloudy and untenable for either imaging or observing, I tend to desire a more expeditious route to maximize my productive time and use goto. I'd prefer to walk long distances during nice weather, but until (if) my boat comes in and I become a member of the idle rich, time is my enemy, so I drive.


Edited by xiando, 19 November 2017 - 02:54 PM.

  • Pilot87178d and NochesNubladas like this

#5 ShaulaB

ShaulaB

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1590
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Missouri

Posted 19 November 2017 - 03:06 PM

Although I have telescopes equipped with electronics that will slew from my smartphone (Sky Safari Plus 5)I like star hopping. It is a skill, like hitting a golf ball or tennis ball well. With enough practice, the mental gymnastics involved with star hopping becomes second nature.

 

If you think you might get bored using a GOTO mount to find DSO's try earning some of the Astronomical League awards. https://www.astrolea...rvingClubs.html


  • Astrojensen and Knasal like this

#6 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12191
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 19 November 2017 - 03:17 PM

 

I like star hopping. It is a skill, like hitting a golf ball or tennis ball well. With enough practice, the mental gymnastics involved with star hopping becomes second nature.

waytogo.gif And it can be a HIGHLY rewarding feeling, when you suddenly find yourself surfing up and down the milky way, picking out P-K planetaries and PGC galaxies like it's nobody's business. The feeling of actually roaming the universe freely is empowering and intoxicating like nothing else. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


  • JKAstro, BillP, hersey0308 and 2 others like this

#7 MG1692

MG1692

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Joined: 25 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Western Kansas

Posted 19 November 2017 - 03:22 PM

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I feel like part of the fun is searching for the object yourself.  But maybe I'll go out and do it, only to eventually get sick of it and switch to a computer anyway.  But at least then maybe I can say I "earned" it by doing it the old-fashioned way first.

Having a GOTO take you to the place is only half the battle. With obscure faint DSOs you will often find yourself star hopping in the field. I use Skysafari pro for that.


  • Jaimo!, Astrojensen and Redbetter like this

#8 CelestronDaddy

CelestronDaddy

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Central Texas

Posted 19 November 2017 - 06:44 PM

Goto is nice but I've always used star atlases and prefer star hopping as compared to any other way.  At least for me I find I have a better understanding of constellations and stars from star hopping.  I understand that very faint magnitude objects can be difficult to find but I usually try and stick it out until I find them.  Not being a young man, star hopping and atlases is how I learned 45 plus years ago.  I don't even think there was any other way to find objects that I recall at that time ...



#9 FrenchStar

FrenchStar

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 465
  • Joined: 23 Jul 2010
  • Loc: St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada

Posted 19 November 2017 - 07:19 PM

With my DOB, I do everything manually with maps printed form Skytools.

 

The maps are sometimes confusing because they don’t represent “reality”. I still have to figure out how to print more realistic maps from Skytools. 90% of the time it’s ok but for crowded regions of the sky and small objects, it’s more problematic.

 

For my C8, I use my GOTO because the scope is not designed to do star hopping.

 

I prefer the old fashioned method.


Edited by FrenchStar, 19 November 2017 - 07:19 PM.


#10 Bill Kocken

Bill Kocken

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 465
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2004
  • Loc: McGregor, MN

Posted 19 November 2017 - 07:55 PM

I use digital setting circles on my 16" dob. I only get out a few times a year and my time under the stars is too precious to spend starhopping.  I also find that my eyes aren't as sensitive as they used to be. (impending cataracts) 


  • Dhellis59 likes this

#11 NEOhio

NEOhio

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2061
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:23 PM

Star hopping, I find it relaxing and fun, and I like to learn the context of objects which occurs naturally by star hopping. I have a red dot finder and a 9x50 RACI on each scope. Use the RDF to get the first star in the RACI and work in the RACI from there. I'm not advanced enough to need to do much star hopping in the eyepiece FOV so far. Use Skysafari as the atlas, once in a long while may use a printed atlas just for variety. 



#12 MasterSaturday

MasterSaturday

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2016

Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:27 PM

What's the main difference between SkySafari and Stellarium?



#13 MasterSaturday

MasterSaturday

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2016

Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:29 PM

I occasionally "star hunt" but since I'm not retired, since my goal is imaging, and since my skies are normally cloudy and untenable for either imaging or observing, I tend to desire a more expeditious route to maximize my productive time and use goto. I'd prefer to walk long distances during nice weather, but until (if) my boat comes in and I become a member of the idle rich, time is my enemy, so I drive.

This is a good point too.  Like you my time is little as it is.


  • xiando likes this

#14 NEOhio

NEOhio

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2061
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:32 PM

What's the main difference between SkySafari and Stellarium?

Much better search capabilities in Skysafari, but Skysafari is a commercial product so it costs whereas Stellarium is free, or a nominal fee for the Android version. Also Skysafari is not available in Windows.



#15 gwlee

gwlee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 19 November 2017 - 10:34 PM

Telrad and paper charts for finding things, but often use sky safari now for deciding what to observe each evening. Still use the RCAS Observer’s Guide for anticipating events such shadow transits, conjunctions, etc. 



#16 Redbetter

Redbetter

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7970
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Central Valley, CA

Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:20 AM

Star hopping with Telrad/RDF and RACI, using Sky Atlas 2000.0 and Uranometria 2000.0.  I sometimes sketch my own charts or print other's charts for specific objects. 



#17 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 15621
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Pampanga, PI

Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:57 AM

"Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I feel like part of the fun is searching for the object yourself."

 

Like many others, I star hop because I enjoy it. In fact, my entire observing experience is bare bones and no frills. Mostly. Feels like being close to nature, doing it the old fashioned way. But, I am a little more modern and high tech using SkySafari (agreeing with above comment.) 


  • Astrojensen, astroneil and FrenchStar like this

#18 MasterSaturday

MasterSaturday

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2016

Posted 20 November 2017 - 03:04 PM

. Also Skysafari is not available in Windows.

 

Welp, that's a dealbreaker there, unfortunately.


  • david-p likes this

#19 Bill Barlow

Bill Barlow

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4383
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Overland Park KS

Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:41 PM

Like many others, I like to find objects manually by star hopping as I have never used a computerized go-to mount.  My SV 9X50 finder scope is my main tool using the Sky+Telescope star atlas and some more detailed finder charts fro Messier45.  I also use my 8X40 wide field binoculars to see star fields that my finder can't.  These more detailed charts are used when hunting down distant/small scale galaxy groups (Hicksons, Arps, Abell's).  I did a lot of this when I previously owned a C14.  Now with a C11, quite a few of these distant galaxy groups are not visible.  But it is rewarding to find an object for the first time by star hopping..

 

Bill


Edited by Bill Barlow, 21 November 2017 - 10:40 AM.

  • Chrysovellus likes this

#20 Bill Kocken

Bill Kocken

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 465
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2004
  • Loc: McGregor, MN

Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:47 PM

Interesting thread here. It seems that most people reporting here are star hoppers, yet most of the people I see at star parties and in my group of astro buddies are goto or digital setting circle users. Perhaps the kind of people I observe with aren't represented here.

 

I used to start hop, but in addition to my not wanting to spend so much of my limited time doing that, I find challenge in just detecting some of the faint fuzzies that I am trying to see. My setting circles get me in the neighborhood, but finding the exact starfield and then seeing the object is often a challenge. Then there is the challenge of trying to discern details.

 

It's a great hobby, and I have much respect for expert star hoppers. Perhaps some night I'll turn the digital setting circles off and do some good old fashioned star hopping. 



#21 Chrysovellus

Chrysovellus

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: 31 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Wyoming

Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:39 PM

I look for a naked eye star and use the Qwik Point finder on my TV Ranger to get it in view.  From there, I starhop to my target.

 

My Reflector has a 6x30 finder... which results in a bit less hopping.  The 6x30 that comes with the Vixen may be small, but it's very clear and sharp.

 

I use a Peterson Field Guide for reference, and a Red LED flashlight so my night vision doesn't get wrecked.



#22 Astroman007

Astroman007

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7319
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2017
  • Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada

Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:41 PM

Star-hopping. waytogo.gif Since all I use is large binos, I don't even need a finder. My reference is The Cambridge Star Atlas, Fourth Edition by Wil Tirion. Simplicity is sweet...

 

Clear skies,

 

Martin.


Edited by Astroman007, 20 November 2017 - 10:43 PM.

  • Chrysovellus likes this

#23 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1120
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:24 PM

I prefer the old ways – go out, point the scope at whatever and start observing.  Electronic aids never go out with me – no phones, no laptops, no tablets – no dark-adaptation robbing glows.  Computer assisted telescope pointing isn't an option for me, and never has been.  I have no need for powerpacks or extension cords.  There's not much opportunity for equipment failures.  There's not much that can fail.

 

More often than not, I no longer take out printed atlases or charts; but sometimes they'll still make it outside.  More often they're consulted before I go outside.

 

The simple low-tech life was good enough a hundred years ago.  It's still good today.  I tend to find objects where I left them. smile.gif


  • Astrojensen and Chrysovellus like this

#24 MasterSaturday

MasterSaturday

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2016

Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:25 AM

.  Electronic aids never go out with me – no phones, no laptops, no tablets – no dark-adaptation robbing glows. 

At first this was going to be my route, but since I do Astrophotography, unfortunately I've had to incorporate a laptop for guiding and (quick) precision polar alignment.



#25 havasman

havasman

    Cosmos

  • ****-
  • Posts: 9833
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Dallas, Texas

Posted 21 November 2017 - 11:53 AM

Nexus DSC's. 

 

Well, somebody had to say it...

 

What can I say? I like 'em. I'm old and started late but I want to see just pretty much EVERYTHING so I figure Id' rather spend my time looking at the thing than for it. Sunday night I left the 6Delos in the focuser for 350x in a 12 arc' FOV for 12 smaller galaxies in a row, pulling back to a widefield for groups I wanted to see together. I can star hop pretty well when I need or want to and love galaxy hopping through large clusters of faint galaxies to find objects buried in them. I originally learned the constellations and my way around using the intelliscope system. Like many tools electronic DSC's can be used as a learning aid or insulator from learning depending on the user.

 

And I use paper charts exclusively. B&W near-field images of things like supernovae, Hickson clusters and quasars are often valuable at the eyepiece too.

 

I do not hold that this method is superior to another nor do I consider it inferior to another. It's just one of several ways to practice the hobby.


Edited by havasman, 21 November 2017 - 11:55 AM.

  • Bill Kocken likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics