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Beginners: what do you find hard about locating objects?


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I think it's a great idea :)

Dunno if it's been suggested but if it was in month order so folks can go outside with their description and see a current object would be useful. You can cover a whole year with on average two objects a month :)

That sounds like a great way of breaking down the work involved

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Yes i think that would be right.Probably the biggest let-down is when beginners see pictures in books taken from hubble then buy a scope and have a wake up call,because their relatively small scope wi

It's a good idea. 'Turn Left' is an invaluable resource, but a website would be good for those who would prefer a similar online version.

To me, the single most useful thing about 'Turn Left' is the pictorial representation of the finderscope view. To me, directions such as "go 4.5 degrees east north east of epsilon lyrae" may as well be written in Chinese; visual guides are much more helpful: see these two stars - go that way. :)

Personally I have never got on with Telrads, but if possible you could include instructions for both Telrad and conventional finderscopes to keep both camps happy.

I now use a star atlas to hop my way around the universe, but my mastery of that stems from what I learned reading 'Turn Left'.

Also useful is the picture of what you can expect to see. Maybe you could have side by side pictures showing you what you can expect and what it looks like in a long exposure picture. This is where the magazines fall down. Half the time you are not sure what you should be looking for.

Best of luck with it.

Rachel

i can see the star with my naked eye but when i point the scope in the general direction i can see several stars through the finder
@ Nova: Do you keep both eyes open when you are looking through your finderscope? You should find it easier with two eyes; you can see the naked eye star with one and the finderscope image with the other. When the two images overlap, you are on the right star. It sounds tricky, but try it on something really obvious like Jupiter and it will be clear. It usually works well. The only difficulty is when you are in a rich star field like the Milky Way region.
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@ Nova: Do you keep both eyes open when you are looking through your finderscope? You should find it easier with two eyes; you can see the naked eye star with one and the finderscope image with the other. When the two images overlap, you are on the right star. It sounds tricky, but try it on something really obvious like Jupiter and it will be clear. It usually works well. The only difficulty is when you are in a rich star field like the Milky Way region.

Not heard of that before thanks Rachel!! Cant wait to give that a try :) I suppose this will only work until I get my RA finder but is worth a go for sure

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I am a complete beginner in astronomy, never had a telescope in my hands. I would welcome visual aids that show the discernible,easy found constellations, as I am supposed to see them in the sky so I can start off on my star-hoping from one of the corners or most important trait, to find whatever I need to find. Turn Left... Is not enough because who really takes the book down to a dark place and tries to follow directions? I think most people take notes and pass the information they take from Turn Left into a sketch that we take with us. It's usually on a piece of paper or a small notebook (I do that). So Turn Left is a Good Read, but at the end of the day, not the proper tool at the field. Commercially, I am thinking laminated papers with glowing stars and connecting dots. Wow! That would be a kill!

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I would love a dummies guide to using a Telrad to star hop. I never did get how the telrad charts on the net were supposed to help you find objects. I have had and used telrads but never grasped the concept. I understand the idea but a few objects sat on their own away from near by stars anyway so how is a telrad supposed to help there ??

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personally I think that star hopping is only possible with a Telrad where you can see lots of stars; this is certainly not the case where I live. I use it to rough position and then star hop with the optical 9x50mm RACI finder and my sky & telescope pocket atlas.

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Dont think it does, need to have visible stars (naked eye visible) to act as your referance. Cant be many objects that are away from visible stars though? I guess it depends how dark your sky is

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I'd definitely be interested in something like this (I just posted on my frustrations as a beginner at finding DSOs)

For me the hardest thing initially has been getting to grips with the flipped image you see in most finders. This is where Turn Left has been a great help, showing what you can actually expect to see through the finder.

A list of good targets for the beginner would be a great resource.

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Wonderful idea, from my starting point, pointing the scope at the desired DSO was a real pain, added Telrad and a real pain become a real pleasure, after that finding the DSO, a good quality wide (low mm) EP, my 36mm Hyperion is a real blessing the amount of DSO's that are just on the edge of its FOV. If you need images i have most of my Messier list as Tiffs, if you want then or want them as smaller Jpeg there here just PM....let's hope this takes off....

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Great idea Umadog. I would suggest that the main reasons for difficulty finding DSOs are the following:

1. Sky not sufficiently dark (looks black because your eyes can't adapt, but is actually as bright as twilight or full moon, hence the target may not be viewable at all).

2. Sky not sufficiently transparent (you can see stars but you're seeing them through a veil of mist that will blot out most DSOs).

3. Finder not good enough for the available sky conditions (a telrad or 30mm finder at a light polluted site will show a lot of empty sky with not many stars to navigate by).

4. Finder not properly used (it's misaligned, out of focus, or you can't match the view through the finder with the differently-angled or oriented view through the main scope).

5. Map insufficiently detailed (it needs to show stars sufficiently faint that the object can be brought within the field of view of the main scope at low power).

6. Map held the wrong way round (we've all done it).

7. Starting star misidentified (we've all done that too: only solution is to go back to the beginning and try again).

8. Inappropriate target choice (deciding to go for something just because it's on the map, without checking if there's any chance of seeing it with the given scope and sky conditions).

I guess there are other pitfalls I've left out (such as failing to remove lens caps!) but these strike me as some of the main ones.

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Cracking idea - I spent so long last year, when i had the EQ5 looking & searching - it was really depressing.

I'd suggest a read of the how to find things thread, from last years SGL6

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Personally I have never got on with Telrads, but if possible you could include instructions for both Telrad and conventional finderscopes to keep both camps happy.

This is what has kept me from moving forward on a similar project in the video realm. There are so many different ways of searching the sky.

Binoculars / correct-image finders

Right angle finders

Inverted finders

Zero power finders

And that's just how you expect to see the sky while finding objects. Then there's the telescope view:

Correct image (45 degree angle diagonal)

Reversed left to right (star diagonal refractor / SCT)

Inverted / reversed (reflectors)

Then there are differences in focal ratio, aperture, eyepieces, local light pollution issues that throw monkey wrenches into the whole thing too. There are so many variables, at some point, I'm not sure how to account for all of them. I think what might help umadog in this project is to have folks help him by narrowing down what the 2 most important things to them are, and what they can live without.

Does it need to be in the same orientation as what you see?

Do the object illustrations need to be exactly what you will see at the scope?

Just some things to consider - I don't think there's any way one site or guide can provide a "works for everyone" type set up. But it will be more valuable to more people if there are fewer "must have" parameters.

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