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Thread: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

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    Default How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)



    Hello guys,

    I have just started and thanks to the advice here I have come to grips with the equipment and some basics of astronomy. I can collimate the telescope, set up the finder scope, use a SkyView app and choose appropriate eyepieces. I can easily find the planets and some of the major constellations however that is about it. I drove out to a field in the hunter valley and tried to find DSOs. I realised I have no idea how to find anything... it was just me randomly searching in the attempt to find things that I am not sure how to find at all or what they even look like when I find them. I find I am extremely disorientated by all the new stars that pop up in the finder scope when look through it and with a dobsonian it is really hard to aim anyway... I was trying to find the eagle nebula I think I did find a grey patch but it could have been anything

    sorry this is turning into a rant but I have two questions

    How do you learn to navigate the night sky?

    How do you learn to accurately aim a 8 inch skywatcher dobsonian?

    Kind regards
    Andrew
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    I sent you a PM.
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    Quote Originally Posted by rickg18704 View Post
    I sent you a PM.
    Thanks I responded

    Sorry reading back this is a very big vague request for information that I shouldn’t expect people to respond

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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    Well if you cant ask here where can you. People will bend over backwards to help you on this forum. Just give em plenty of info. Im just a beginer myself and have no idea about your scope. There are lots of good apps to use, Stellarium is great and I use Star traker as well.
    I recently camped at Broke in west hunter valley, you can camp for free there. And its pretty dark. Best of luck Phill
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    Equip yourself with a red light, a planisphere, an app such as Stellarium or Sky Safari, and a pair of binoculars.

    I'd say start each session with the planisphere and red torch.
    Use the planisphere to find where the big constellations are, and check how they'll move across the sky as the evening progresses.
    Then set yourself a target, something like M57- the Ring Nebula or M13 - the Globular Cluster in Hercules.
    Use Stellarium and the planisphere to find which constellations they're in, and where in the sky they're currently to be found.
    Then use Stellarium and binoculars to find the area of the sky where your target is - and what the fainter stars are surrounding it.
    You can then use the telescope finder to centre on your target before trying to find it in your lowest power eyepiece.
    I'd suggest trying to find a couple of new targets each night, and then try to re-visit the ones you've already bagged.

    Just spotted where you are situated - you'll have your own really good targets to start with in the southern skies.
    Last edited by Gfamily; 09-29-2018 at 10:31 AM.
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    In the Southern skies I would focus my attentions on the LMC and SMC as they are now coming into better view.
    There are a ton of great targets in both, NGC 104 near the SMC is amazing and NGC 2070 in the LMC will be a nice treat too.

    As mentioned, download Stellarium(free) for your PC and SkySafari(cost) for your android or IOS device. Or the planisphere.
    Study the currently visible constellations and try to get familiar with at least one. Then check and see what objects are located in each, find the closest naked eye star and then do a star hop from there.
    If the finder scope is showing too many stars then attach a RDF as well, use that to aim the dob at the initial naked eye star and then the finder scope to do some smaller star hops from there before heading to the eyepiece.

    It all takes time and practice and you will quickly get the hang of it, just keep at it and soon it will all fall into place. And have as much fun as you can without laughing out loud!
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    Let star hopping be your friend. It seems tough at first, but after finding your first few objects, your confidence builds quickly and next thing you know you are finding things easily and quickly.

    If I can't find it, it is simply out of reach of my scope or it is not there.

    See these links for a little guidance:

    Star hopping n00b, help me (and everyone else) out! :)

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...B0AD5D29A76981
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    Bryan

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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    Get the free version of Sky Safari for you phone. Use it without the scope at home for learn the sky for a night, and then use it with a wide EP as a finder helper. It's the way of the force this century, really it will help a lot to under the sky. Then buy the PRO version and your set for a long time. You can even get holders for a dob to mount your phone on your scope and you have a kind of push to system.
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    We’ve all been there, nobody started learned. Start with easy targets, and work up. I found the Andromeda galaxy (M31) every time it was up, and it was a good exercise. Aim for naked eye objects, like the Pleiades or the Orion Nebula, and get comfortable looking around. Try easy targets, like M13, or the ring Nebula, and get used to how these look in your eye pieces.
    I’m surprised nobody mentioned Turn Left at Orion yet. SkySafari is a much more complete and versatile tool in the long run, but what this book is uniquely good at is to guide you through what things will look like, and what you should expect at the eye piece, both navigating to your targets, and observing them.
    And practice, practice, practice
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    Default Re: How to get any good at astronomy (finding DSOs)

    I'd pick up a copy of Turn Left at Orion. The book features just about all of the Messier objects and gives you guidelines including views through a finder scope and instructions for star-hopping to each object. I found it immensely valuable when I got back into the hobby.

    https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Ori.../dp/0521153972
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