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Thread: Star hopping ?

  1. #1
    ally8446's Avatar
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    Red face Star hopping ?



    NEWBIE ALERT Is there someone out there willing to spare a few moments to explain the fundamentals of star hopping please.
    David Lukehurst 14" dobsonian F4.62 1/14th wave Hubble Optics, ES 82° 24mm & 14mm, BCO 10mm, 2 x Barlow

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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    I am relatively new myself, but it is the process of starting at a known point and proceeding from there through other known points to your target destination. This usually requires first finding your target on a star map (either online or in a book) so you know where you need to begin your search. To find globuar cluster M13 for example I would see that it is in the constellation Hercules and would look to see which naked eye star is nearby M13 as my starting point. Then I would get that starting star in my finderscope and again using the star map make the moves (or hops) necessary from that point to get to M13. Sometimes this is a simple hop and other times more complex if the object is farther away from the starter star and you have to make several hops from recognizible star groups to another, etc. before arriving at your destination.

    My explanation may not be too good and might only be more confusing.....lol.......but if you Google "star hopping" there is lots of information in general available.
    Last edited by Starprober; 10-02-2012 at 07:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    Starprober's explanation sounds good to me. Here's a tutorial I used to get started.

    Star-hopping Tutorial: Lesson One (M57) | Washed-out Astronomy

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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    Its NOT that difficult but is or can be time consuming for a beginner... a Telrad sure helps me especially with some Telrad Charts will help you along...

    I can tell you this however..it is a lot harder to do today then it was 10 20 30 or 40 years ago I learned to star hop in the mid 1950's and today I know that I can only see,at most, 1/3 of the stars I could see back then.. While 3 or my 4 scopes that I use on a regular basis are GoTo scopes I still enjoy star hopping A FEW nights a YEAR and I make use of a Telrad and their charts when doing so because I now have a lot less "road map stars to guide me..)

    Clear skies

    Bob G.
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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    I find the easiest way to star hop, is by finding a small ring or wire that is scaled correctly to your finder scope. Then I slide this around in a star atlas. Everything inside the ring should match what you see in the finder. This is the method I use to find most of my objects. This method is actually recommended inside the front cover of the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas.


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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    Starprober explained it well in a nutshell. Also, look for patterns in your finderscope. The mind is very good at making triangles, chains and boxes of stars pop out of the background. Once you see those in the finder, they will stick with you. Then look for the same pattern on the chart you are using and you will know where you are and where you need to go next.

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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    Hello Ally8446,

    star hopping is the path finder's way, still used by the 'old school' people, to navigate the scope or binoculars through the skies towards the objects. The binary stars, star patterns and asterims, and the red stars (spectral class M, and the Carbon stars), are very helpful to find the way. The navigation strategy will be prepared with help of a star atlas, and also with help of the side-by binoculars.

    With regards from an old star hopper,

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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    I have had good success getting as close to objects as possible with the known configuration of the stars. In particular I use pointer stars to roughly aim the scope and then switch to the finder. If you know the number of degrees that your eyepiece's field of view captures - for example, 1 to 1.5 degrees at low power then you can match views in your scope to your chart to zero in on the object to within a few degrees then sweep to your location by using finder and the view in the primary. It helps to be able to sight the object (or at least the surrounding bright stars) in binoculars beforehand. This makes finding the brighter objects easier and the fainter objects that will not be visible in binoculars or your finder practicable.

    Then you will be in position to find most of the DSO's on the Messier list. I think using the ring is a terrific idea that should add to your mental calculations. Why go to all of the trouble? It is very satisfying to find objects on your own rather than using GOTO, at least for me.
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    Default Re: Star hopping ?

    This is all great advice guys, thank you very much.
    Clear Skies
    David Lukehurst 14" dobsonian F4.62 1/14th wave Hubble Optics, ES 82° 24mm & 14mm, BCO 10mm, 2 x Barlow

 

 

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