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MAPS, CHARTS, BOOKS, WHICH ONES DO YOU USE?

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#51 MT4

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 07:01 PM

Thanks a lot Mike for the valuable tips for star hopping.  I now know what I'm doing wrong:  I am not leveraging star patterns as much as I should and tend to think in terms of degrees/directions and FOV.   Perhaps that's why star hopping has been sort of "technical" for me, and so not really easy nor fun.   Will definitely apply some of your tips the next time I am at the eyepiece.  Thanks again.


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#52 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 06:51 AM

Is accuracy, or lack of, the main reason why you don't use SkySafari in compass mode?  While the app has been a great learning resource for me (I'm a newbie at the stargazing hobby), I've found it to be frustratingly inaccurate at times.  It's as if the app played dice with me each time I use it and sometimes would show bright stars to be way off from where they are in the sky.

 

I use the compass mode, if the device has a compass, to move the SkySafari screen.  It's quicker than slewing the screen by hand or by using the coordinates. 

 

Say I am looking north east and decide I want to look at some globular in Scorpius.  Rather than looking it up, rather than trying to move the screen by hand, I just use the compass mode, point it at the region. If the device doesn't have a compass, it just takes a little more time to get there. 

 

To add to Mike's excellent discussion of star hopping techniques:

 

If I am using an alt-az mount, (which is all I use), the finder may not be positioned vertically.  With a Dob, it almost always at an angle.  This means the cross-hairs are not aligned with the axes of the sky nor with the axes of the telescope but rather at some arbitrary angle.  What I do is rotate the finder eyepiece so the cross hairs are aligned up-down, left right.  Normally I do this by centering a star and the moving the scope in the vertical axis and rotating the eyepiece until the cross hair is remains aligned with the star. This is easily done if the finder uses interchangeable 1.25 inch eyepieces.  Otherwise, it requires unscrewing the eyepiece slightly, no more than 1/4 turn is needed.

 

With the cross hairs aligned and the cross hairs and finder field of view visible in Sky Safari, it lets me use stars anywhere in the field to point the scope because all I need to do is position one star relative to each cross hair and I am pointing at the object or very near the object.  Doing this, my "finder eyepiece" will usually be somewhere between 200x and 350x.

 

For binoculars, I usually don't use charts, I probably should but normally I am observing regions I am familiar with already.  

 

This drawing is not quite correct, the 6.5 degree circle should be centered on object but hopefully it conveys the idea.

 

cross hairs pointing.jpg
 
Jon

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#53 Fiske

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:21 AM

This is quite precise and ingenious, Jon. Thank you for sharing. smile.gif

 

When I first got the Mini-Borg 60ED (my ultimate RACI finder), I looked around for a quality reticule eyepiece to use with it, but nothing got close to the 24mm Panoptic so I just thought bother it! And gave up on cross hairs. My approach is similar to Mike's except I use printed charts constantly. And love them, no matter how retro that might be. wink.gif If the Millenium Star Atlas were still in print I would order it instantly. I was supposed to get a copy of it years ago from a local astronomy store, promised to me by the owner, but before I could get by to pick it up another club member swooped in and bought it first! I have more or less forgiven her for that. grin.gif

 

What I find is that the more time I spend in an area with binoculars, the more familiar it becomes and that significantly enhances my enjoyment of the night sky. Skymarks (as opposed to landmarks) become well known and friendly. It is natural I suppose that in time one starts developing one's own favorite asterisms. A recent one that I now quite enjoy observing, even apart from M94 in Canes Venatici for which I originally used the asterism as a locating aid, looks like a lizard to me and includes double star ES 2643. Here is a chart including it which I made with Sky Safari -- one of my favorite uses of the app. I use the share option to save whatever chart directly to Google drive.

 

ES 2644 near Lizard Asterism

Edited by Fiske, 18 June 2021 - 09:19 AM.

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#54 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:43 AM

This is quite precise and ingenious, Jon. Thank you for sharing. smile.gif

 

When I first got the Mini-Borg 60ED (my ultimate RACI finder), I looked around for a quality reticule eyepiece to use with it, but nothing got close to the 2(?)mm Panoptic so I just thought bother it! And gave up on cross hairs.

 

Miles:

 

Thanks for the kind words.

 

When I first started seriously using an RACI finder that took 1.25 inch eyepieces, I tried a number of eyepieces.  The last one I bought was the 20 mm 70 degree with the illuminated reticule.  Besides being a mess of astigmatism, the illumination was too bright at the lowest setting and scattered light over the field of view.  

 

So, given that I heavily relied on cross hairs, I decided to add them to existing eyepieces. The first one I did was a 24mm TV Widefield.  Not a 22 mm Panoptic but much better than anything that was available. Now I am using a 20mm ES 68 degree.  I consulted Don Pensack about how to do it, he recommended heavier than normal wire so I could see it under dark skies.  I use 0.004" brass wire.  

 

Jon


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#55 Fiske

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 09:22 AM

Interesting. 

 

How do you attach the wire?

 

question.gif



#56 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 09:43 AM

Interesting. 

 

How do you attach the wire?

 

question.gif

 

 

I think we are getting pretty far off-topic.  Some day I should do a video.  The cross hairs have to be in focus, the field stop is in focus so I glue the wires to the field stop. It can be quite tricky and only possible with certain eyepieces. 

 

Jon


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#57 Fiske

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 10:24 AM

I think we are getting pretty far off-topic.  Some day I should do a video.  The cross hairs have to be in focus, the field stop is in focus so I glue the wires to the field stop. It can be quite tricky and only possible with certain eyepieces. 

 

Jon

Hey, you started this!

 

lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

 

(Hopefully the moderators won't notice...)


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#58 Sarkikos

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 01:38 PM

Interesting. 

 

How do you attach the wire?

 

question.gif

Very carefully.  :grin:

 

Mike


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#59 Sarkikos

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 01:47 PM

Thanks a lot Mike for the valuable tips for star hopping.  I now know what I'm doing wrong:  I am not leveraging star patterns as much as I should and tend to think in terms of degrees/directions and FOV.   Perhaps that's why star hopping has been sort of "technical" for me, and so not really easy nor fun.   Will definitely apply some of your tips the next time I am at the eyepiece.  Thanks again.

FOVs do have their practical use, though.  It's important to have a good idea of the size of the FOV of your optical finder and the eyepieces you will use in the telescope (or the FOV of the binoculars). 

 

In SkySafari Pro, you can set up FOV circles for all your optical finders, eyepieces (in a specific telescope), and binoculars.  When I'm star hopping with a telescope, I set up a FOV circle for the finder and keep that displayed for star hopping with the finder.  When I look through an eyepiece in the telescope, I turn on the FOV display for that eyepiece/telescope combination in SSP.  For binoculars, I display the FOV for those binoculars.  Knowing the comparative size of the FOV - and seeing the FOV circle in SSP - makes it much easier to find appropriate star patterns for star hopping, and reposition stars and asterisms for the next star hop as you move the scope toward the intended object.

 

SSP has an on-screen toggle for quickly changing the orientation of the FOV.  So you can go from the natural view of a RACI fnder to the upside down view of a Dob or the reversed left-right view of a refractor or Cat.  Binoculars are easy:  no switching views!

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 18 June 2021 - 09:34 PM.

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#60 Fiske

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:00 PM

FOVs do have their practical use, though.  It's important to have a good idea of the size of the FOV of your optical finder and the eyepieces you will use in the telescope (or the FOV of the binoculars). 

 

In SkySafari Pro, you can set up FOV circles for all your optical finders, eyepieces (in a specific telescope), and binoculars.  When I'm star hopping with a telescope, I set up a FOV circle for the finder and keep that displayed for star hopping with the finder.  When I look through an eyepiece in the telescope, and turn on the FOV display for that eyepiece/telescope combination in SSP.  For binoculars, I display the FOV for those binoculars.  Knowing the comparative size of the FOV - and seeing the FOV circle in SSP - makes it much easier to find appropriate star patterns for star hopping, and repositioning stars and asterism for the next star hop as you move the scope toward the intended object.

 

SSP has an on-screen toggle for quickly changing the orientation of the FOV.  So you can go from the natural view of a RACI fnder to the upside down view of a Dob or the reversed left-right view of a refractor or Cat.  Binoculars are easy:  no switching views!

 

Mike

I can't figure out how to rotate the cardinal points to match my finder view, which would be helpful. I mean, it has a rotation feature, but when I rotate it and click okay, the cardinal points on the FOV overlay don't change.

 

Fiske



#61 Fiske

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:01 PM

Very carefully.  grin.gif

 

Mike

Jon was promising a video, I think...

 

wink.gif



#62 Sarkikos

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 09:59 PM

I can't figure out how to rotate the cardinal points to match my finder view, which would be helpful. I mean, it has a rotation feature, but when I rotate it and click okay, the cardinal points on the FOV overlay don't change.

 

Fiske

I think that might only be a problem if you insist on keeping the smart phone (or tablet) stationary in relationship to the finder.  What I do is rotate the iPhone as necessary to match the finder view.   In my experience, as long as the view orientation of SSP (natural, inverted, reversed) is the same as the finder scope, only a small rotation of the device is usually needed, if any.  I keep the Field Rotation Angle at 0 degrees.  Keep in mind, too, that all of my mounts are alt-az, no GEMs.

 

Getting software to do what you want it do is part figuring things out and part trial and error.  I'm not saying which usually has the bigger part.  grin.gif

 

So you might want to try my settings and see if they solve your problem.  My settings are Coordinates = Horizon, Grid & Reference = Equatorial, Behavior = Tilt to Use Compass OFF, Behavior = Show Coordinates & FOV ON, Scope Display = Cardinal Directions ON, Scope Display = Field Rotation Angle 0 degrees.  

 

It might be best to keep the Field Rotation Angle at 0 degrees, and physically rotate the device a little to match the finder field of view.  One less thing to futz around with in the software.

 

I'm using SkySafari Pro for iPhone.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 18 June 2021 - 10:02 PM.

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#63 steveincolo

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Posted Yesterday, 10:12 AM

I can't figure out how to rotate the cardinal points to match my finder view, which would be helpful. I mean, it has a rotation feature, but when I rotate it and click okay, the cardinal points on the FOV overlay don't change.

 

Fiske

The Field Rotation Angle seems to only rotate the crosshairs, not the cardinal points.  If you’re not displaying the crosshairs then it won’t seem to do anything.   I don’t see a way to rotate the actual star view.  Anyway, a Field Rotation Angle of 0 would make the crosshairs match the finder crosshairs if you orient the crosshairs as Jon describes, if I understand him correctly.  
 

While playing with the Flip widget I noticed for the first time the Rings widget above it.  That turns the FOV on and off for the top three FOVs in your FOV list.  You can change the order of the list by clicking Edit. 


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#64 btschumy

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Posted Yesterday, 02:41 PM

Yes, there is no way to rotate the actual view.  Since this was designed mainly for mobile devices, we thought you could just rotate the device itself.  Of course, that’s not possible if the device is mounted.  Maybe SimCur will add this to SS7.

 

Glad you found the shortcut for turning the first 3 defined fov indicators on/off.  It is not documented but I hoped power users would discover it.


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#65 steveincolo

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Posted Yesterday, 02:55 PM

Yes, there is no way to rotate the actual view.  Since this was designed mainly for mobile devices, we thought you could just rotate the device itself.  Of course, that’s not possible if the device is mounted.  Maybe SimCur will add this to SS7.

 

Glad you found the shortcut for turning the first 3 defined fov indicators on/off.  It is not documented but I hoped power users would discover it.

It's a nice Easter Egg!  If you're thinking about new features, here's one.  I saw a tip somewhere on CN to take a screenshot of SS when you've got the exact starfield you want.  Some sort of quick-lock feature in SS would be nice.  (You'll probably tell me that it's already somewhere!). That's why I don't use the compass mode, even in the way Jon suggested above.  I put my phone in my vest or pants while observing.  Then when I pull the phone out I'm prone to activating the compass by tilting it.  


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#66 Jon Isaacs

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Posted Yesterday, 03:14 PM

It's a nice Easter Egg!  If you're thinking about new features, here's one.  I saw a tip somewhere on CN to take a screenshot of SS when you've got the exact starfield you want.  Some sort of quick-lock feature in SS would be nice.  (You'll probably tell me that it's already somewhere!). That's why I don't use the compass mode, even in the way Jon suggested above.  I put my phone in my vest or pants while observing.  Then when I pull the phone out I'm prone to activating the compass by tilting it.  

 

I turn off the tilt to activate compass.  Currently I am using an 8 inch ONN 8 Pro from Walmart, no compass anyway. 

 

Jon


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#67 steveincolo

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Posted Yesterday, 03:18 PM

I turn off the tilt to activate compass.  Currently I am using an 8 inch ONN 8 Pro from Walmart, no compass anyway. 

 

Jon

Thanks, good tip!  I didn't think about manually activating the phone compass. 



#68 btschumy

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Posted Yesterday, 04:15 PM

 

It's a nice Easter Egg!  If you're thinking about new features, here's one.

I no longer work at SimCur or on SkySafari.  I “retired” almost two years ago now. 
 

What is it you want to lock?  Prevent panning or zooming?  What is the purpose?  The screen doesn’t change unless you change it, assuming you are not in compass mode.


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#69 steveincolo

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Posted Yesterday, 04:59 PM

I no longer work at SimCur or on SkySafari.  I “retired” almost two years ago now. 
 

What is it you want to lock?  Prevent panning or zooming?  What is the purpose?  The screen doesn’t change unless you change it, assuming you are not in compass mode.

I'd like to prevent inadvertent panning or zooming.  Not a big deal. 



#70 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 08:27 PM

The Field Rotation Angle seems to only rotate the crosshairs, not the cardinal points.  If you’re not displaying the crosshairs then it won’t seem to do anything.   I don’t see a way to rotate the actual star view.  Anyway, a Field Rotation Angle of 0 would make the crosshairs match the finder crosshairs if you orient the crosshairs as Jon describes, if I understand him correctly.  
 

While playing with the Flip widget I noticed for the first time the Rings widget above it.  That turns the FOV on and off for the top three FOVs in your FOV list.  You can change the order of the list by clicking Edit. 

The easiest solution is to keep Field Rotation Angle at 0 degrees and physically rotate the device a little clockwise or counterclockwise.  I do this all the time without even thinking about it.  Why go through an extra step of drilling down into the settings menu and adjusting the Field Rotation Angle?  How many times a night would you have to do this if you observe objects all over the sky, which I do during most every observing session? :shrug:

 

By the way, I turn the FOV crosshairs off in the SSP display.  For me, they just get in the way when looking at SkySafari Pro and star hopping.  The FOV circle for the finder is on, the FOV circle for the eyepiece is on, the cardinal directions are on.  The crosshairs just make the view even busier.  YMMV

 

Yes, the Flip widget in the upper right corner allows you to switch FOV rings off and on.  Convenient.

 

Mike


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#71 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 08:37 PM

Yes, there is no way to rotate the actual view.  Since this was designed mainly for mobile devices, we thought you could just rotate the device itself.  Of course, that’s not possible if the device is mounted.  Maybe SimCur will add this to SS7.

 

Glad you found the shortcut for turning the first 3 defined fov indicators on/off.  It is not documented but I hoped power users would discover it.

Yes, I agree.  For mobile devices, why not just rotate the device a little to match the view in the eyepiece or finder?  I don't think it's ever more than maybe 30 degrees or so of rotation.  I do it without even thinking, it's such an obvious solution.  But I forgot that some observers like to attach their devices to the mount or the telescope. I just hold the iPhone or tablet in my hand when it's not in my pocket or on an equipment table.  These devices aren't very heavy.

 

Yep, you can turn on/off FOV circles from the controls in the upper right corner of the main screen. 

 

The right-corner widget also lets you do zoom jumps for the entire screen, at intervals from 180 to 10 degrees, as well as the FOV widths of the three rings.  Nice.  But I mostly use my two fingers to zoom, sometimes the + and - buttons.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, Yesterday, 08:46 PM.

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#72 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 08:41 PM

It's a nice Easter Egg!  If you're thinking about new features, here's one.  I saw a tip somewhere on CN to take a screenshot of SS when you've got the exact starfield you want.  Some sort of quick-lock feature in SS would be nice.  (You'll probably tell me that it's already somewhere!). That's why I don't use the compass mode, even in the way Jon suggested above.  I put my phone in my vest or pants while observing.  Then when I pull the phone out I'm prone to activating the compass by tilting it.  

Yep.  Compass mode is mostly a PITA.  It reminds me of Siri.  I turned Siri off on my phone within five minutes of first using it.  Same with the compass.  I don't need that much help!  lol.gif

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, Yesterday, 08:42 PM.

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