What’s your preferred solution for visually pointing your telescope within an approximately constellation-sized view of the sky:
a) wide angle finderscope (if such exists)
b) red dot finder
d) mounted green laser pointer
I briefly experimented with the ‘alt-az coordinates w/ digital inclinometer’ method with some success back in August and I guess I’ll get back to that, but there’s some frustration with looking up in the night sky [naked eye] and seeing right where a DSO should be, but not really understanding if my telescope is actually pointed in the right area with only the view in my 8x50 finderscope to go by.
While we’re at it, it seems to me from various comments I’ve come across that red dot finders are somewhat loathed, at least by some people. I’ve never used one myself, so what’s the issue(s)?
In contrast, it seems Telrads are widely well-regarded, but they look huge to me and I’m not sure how I’d mount one on my Sky-Watcher 100 ED refractor.
Meanwhile, a green laser pointer could be cool for at home use, but from the one semi-dark sky site I know (the only place I’ve taken a scope to so far besides my porch and front lawn), people are often there trying to take long exposure photos of the Milky Way, so using a laser there would be pretty unfriendly (read: hostile) to the other night sky aficionados.
The method I ened up using to find my first two non-Pleiades DSOs last weekend (the Double Cluster and M31) was to find them first in my binoculars, thereby narrowing down the search area enough for my finderscope. This however didn’t work for me for finding Uranus though as there were no sufficiently prominent stars nearby (I think I saw Uranus in the binocs but never did find the same target in my finderscope), nor did it work for Neptune, which as far as I could tell wasn’t visible in my little binoculars (nor was there anything prominent enough near where Neptune should have been for me to focus in on and star hop from there). Likewise, the "binoculars first" method wouldn’t work well for DSOs too dim/small for my binoculars. I mean, like I could see naked eye where some things should be in relation to main stars in Cassiopeia, but in my finderscope I couldn’t be sure which star of Cassiopeia I had in view! I could probably get better with practice, but it would be so much easier if I could just see the whole of Cassiopeia, or at least most of it.
Your suggestions and experiences will be appreciated.
Edited by therealdmt, 04 October 2020 - 02:24 AM.