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STAR HOPPING....

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#76 tdfwds

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 12:56 PM

Skalnate Plesos turn up on ebay quite a bit.  They're very similar to the Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas, but sometimes I'll pull it out to plan a session on account of the larger charts.  I bought my color version in 1975, and just because I love old star atlases I picked up the old black on white 1949 version a little while back.  (Actually, it had two "title pages," one from Sky Publishing, and also a 1948 Czech one, so I'm not sure just what their business arrangement was back then.)

 

I too sort of learned the stars out of Menzel's old Field Guide.  I'd never known that Pasachoff was a student of Menzel's.  I remember buying it because it actually had a full sky photographic atlas, but the size and printing quality sort of limited it's real usefulness.  I still love my old copy though, and pull it out every once in awhile just to reminisce.

                                                                                                                        Marty
 

I guess Sky must've got the permission for USA publications and been loaned the plates, and shoved a title page in, can't remember if they translated it or not.

 

USA book and similar copyright used to (probably still does) be unique from world copyright, that's why publishers often had new york and london offices.  And why one of the below books I show is likely a Petersen Field Guide but says Collins, a UK natural history field guide publisher.  They're probably all owned by the same international holding company nowadays.  The Pasachoff one had a UK imprint cover and printed £ price.  I think it has had at least a 3rd edition since my copy.

 

[This copyright thing has always struck me as ironic, as in the 1800s plays and books were often borrowed from England by the USA, and published and performed there and then copyrighted there by the borrowers, not the owners.  That's why Gilbert and Sullivan started opening their operettas in USA first.  Doubly ironic as it's exactly the sort of thing the USA at least used to complain about with Hong Kong and/or China].

 

Both Menzel and Pasachoff were Solar Physicists, Menzel a pretty top level one with some ground breaking discoveries.  He was also a space advisor to JFK, and apparently a very instrumental one.  However, when he disagreed colleagues he apparently took it personal, so this could cut off the presiden't ear for said colleagues.

 

This isn't unique in observational astronomy.  Apparently T J J See, who held a highly influential position, was very similar in this nature.  Except in his case a fair amount of his double star stuff at least was just rubbish with a lot of optical pairs or his further companions to extant pairs being meaningless.

 

Sometimes it's best to not look at the historical biographies of astronomers, no matter how shallowly, of astronomical legends... ...don't get me started on how Newton used to rubbish folk and tried to destroy the memory of Robert Hooke's work.

 

ANYWAY, back to the point.  Whatever limitations Menzel's charts had, when his book first appeared in 1962 1964 it must have been glorious for the average and even better equipped observer!  All collated pre-computer days.  In fact in the days of youth I used to use his fascinating nested circles thing for working out where the planets were likely to be.  Nowadays I just look up on clear nights.

 


Edited by tdfwds, 26 November 2021 - 12:57 PM.

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#77 ziggeman

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 03:27 PM

I had one of those books. The right one. <3 I sadly lost it when moving to another house. A Field Guide To The Stars And Planets. Donald H. Menzel. ❤️



#78 Scoper47

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 04:47 PM

I used to have a Peterson's Stars and Planets Guide years ago. It somehow got lost or thrown away when we moved in 2000. I guess I could order another one online.



#79 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 04:27 AM

I also had Peterson's Guide to Stars and Planets. It was what got me started.  I had purchased a worn out 60mm refractor at a garage sale for $5. It had one two element eyepiece, no finder, barely a mount.  But the Peterson Guide said that a 60mm refractor was capable of being used for meaningful observations and that was enough for me.  

 

Jon


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#80 tdfwds

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 10:57 AM

I used to have a Peterson's Stars and Planets Guide years ago. It somehow got lost or thrown away when we moved in 2000. I guess I could order another one online.

Hiya

 

Be careful if you do, as I had a look around, apparently the 2018 printing is the 16th reprint or something and the latest so stuff was updated 'for the next decade' dateswise, plus some other updates, BUT it wasn't numbered as a new edition (still on the 4th edition I think, and cover the same for several reprints).  So you need to ensure you're getting the latest one if you're going for a modern copy full price.  A quick scan did show a few second hand ones going for next to nothing, both of the original Menzel and the Pasachoff ones.



#81 Ionthesky

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 08:26 PM

Well said, I too have pulled off the road many times just to look around.

It's not so much the destination, but the journey that matters...


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#82 Jehujones

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 09:38 PM

I will typically choose a bright known star and center it in my lowest power eyepiece.

Then I choose the EP that puts another easily identifiable star at the edge.

image_2021-11-28_183313.png

Using this distance as a guide, I now choose my roadmap stars that fall within that reference and start hopping.

That means I use different EPs for each target I'm finding.

I don't plan ahead with circles on an atlas but maybe I'll try that sometime, sounds like fun.


Edited by Jehujones, 28 November 2021 - 09:39 PM.


#83 Ionthesky

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 01:38 AM

Jon Isaacs posted:              (sorry, I managed to lose the header)
 
The caption is joke, the photo was taken during a time trial, but I would do practice laps around the island on my way home from work.. While I was in my early 60's, I could still average nearly 25 mph for 30 minutes.  Miles and miles, base miles, thousands, tens of thousands.. It's personal development, growth, and pure joy...
 
...
 
My eyes are certainly not the best, my skills are what they are.  I was never the fastest rider but I was the best rider I could be.  And that's my goal as an observer, developing my skills, being the best observer I can be.  
 
Eddy Merckx, the most successful competitive cyclist ever was once asked, for training tips.  His answer:
 
Ride Lots
 
That's my attitude when I comes to amateur astronomy.. 
 
Observe lots.. 
 
And have fun doing it.
 
Jon
 
Jon, you (and this entire thread) are inspiring me!  In my 20s and 30s I did a lot of cycling (though maybe not as much as you're still doing...).
 
At 29 I rode solo from Albany to Bar Harbor, ME (about 760 mi. one way).  It was a great 10 days, camping along the way.  Since marriage and kids happened, my bikes have collected more dust than my old 6" Dob.
 
I just got back into the astro hobby after about 25-30 years, using a smaller reflector on an overloaded EQ1 mount (bought it because I wanted to teach myself how to navigate with a manual EQ.)  Very frustrating because of all the hysteresis/slop in the mount.  The Dob had sustained a broken finder scope/mount and didn't have a shoe mount.  Finally picked up a red dot finder and am back in business star-hopping.  I hope to get a lot better at this, as I was never very adept, but all of the ideas posted here are going to be a big help, I'm sure.
 
Now I just need to get the old Trek down and put some air in the tires...
 
Thanks, everybody, for an inspiring discussion!
 
Dave

Edited by Ionthesky, 01 December 2021 - 01:42 AM.

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#84 firefoe

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 11:36 PM

The Evostars come with 8x50 RAIC. It is in the specs of the manual if you want to double check.

Frank


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#85 Cygnus0629

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 10:26 PM

So I finally tried to star hop using the right angle finder scope that came with my refractor. I think I may have been converted to a finderscope guy. My target was Messier 2 as I wanted to try it on something that was a little tricky to find (for me anyway). I aligned the scope with Saldalsuud, which was actually quite easy without a red dot. I just put my eye directly above the telescope and trained the scope on the star. When I looked into the finder Sadalsuud was right there for centering. Now came the tricky part of hopping over to M2. This was a bit bewildering at first for me. I was trying to feel which direction I was moving the telescope while keeping my eye fixed in the finders eyepiece. I kept having to start over.

I soon realized that I wasn’t star hopping at all. I consulted my star chart and found what I refer to as a little “hook” of stars between M2 and Sadalsuud. This “hook” is a group of 4 stars highlighted by HD 205423. In my mind, it was a perfect jumping off point to M2 for me as I could see the group of 5 stars at the edge of my finder field of view. So I hopped to it and stopped, consulted my star chart, and found where M2 was located in relation to my “hook” of stars. Went back to the finder and could see a tiny object where my charts said M2 would be. So I centered it in my finder, switched to my low power EP in the telescope and….EUREKA! M2 was perfectly centered in the eyepiece!

I feel that this is the way I am going to star hop from now on as it really engaged my brain and was a fun challenge to hop to the faint fuzzy. I know there will be way more difficult targets to hop to but I loved the experience of using the wide field finder to help me locate a semi difficult object (for me) to find.

Thanks everyone! I love this thread.

Edited by Cygnus0629, 02 December 2021 - 10:41 PM.

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#86 Dobs O Fun

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 12:59 AM

Its definitely a skill. Estimating angular distance between objects. Learning the sky backwards and upside down for reflectors. Light pollution gets in the way. Seeing affecting the visability of certain magnitude stars.

I live my finder. I love it even more now I have a comfortable chair.

I'm learning less magnification and patience.
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#87 Jehujones

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 10:38 PM

"...I soon realized that I wasn’t star hopping at all. I consulted my star chart and found what I refer to as a little “hook” of stars between M2 and Sadalsuud. This “hook” is a group of 4 stars highlighted by HD 205423. In my mind, it was a perfect jumping off point to M2 for me as I could see the group of 5 stars at the edge of my finder field of view. So I hopped to it and stopped, consulted my star chart, and found where M2 was located in relation to my “hook” of stars. Went back to the finder and could see a tiny object where my charts said M2 would be. So I centered it in my finder, switched to my low power EP in the telescope and….EUREKA! M2 was perfectly centered in the eyepiece!..."

What you describe is exactly the same way I do it too but I do it through the scope because I don't have a finder. I pick a star and then find an eyepiece that captures enough territory to recognize on a chart. I follow the patterns to know what stars I'm looking at and sometimes we get lucky when there's asterisms to help us out. Once I have located where the object is supposed to be, I start swapping eyepieces to find the object (if I don't already see it).

The cool thing is that after years of going back to the same objects, the territory gets familiar and you get faster at finding your way around. Sometimes when it's a really familiar object like M51, I can get there in seconds. Eventually, you'll even be able to just point the scope right to the spot the first time because you've been there so many times.


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