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Setting the correct magnitude is done when you compare your initial view by toggling the relative/absolute scale and light pollution settings. Often Stellarium typical shows far too many faint stars until you set it to local conditions. I suppose I think nothing of taking my laptop with me when I go observing as I've often found star atlases sometimes not showing enough. Once people get used to navigating around then it's a natural progression to start doing it straight from a book/chart etc. Confidence is key, if people know they can find what they want, they're far more likely to stick with it etc

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So you've bought a big scope, more than likely been taken in by the Dob brigade (we are pretty persuasive ;-) ) and after a couple of sessions in the garden looking at Jupiter, Orion, and the moon you

We've been astronomying for over a year now used stellarium and had no idea you could do such things with it. Fantastic advice. Thank you.

Hey thanks, the oculars setting was pretty confusing on the older verison of Stellarium I had as it was very hit and miss what it saved, it caused no end of confusion and grief!! The night mode is muc

I use a similar method to you EntropyStar. Rather than using

Stellarium on my webcamming netbook, I use StarmapPro (paid app) on my iPhone which also provides an ocular feature.

I can use the ocular feature alongside either the feature that draws a line between a nearby bright star and the target, or by choosing my own start point and using an arrow indicator to point the way. The view can also be orientated according to which scope I'm using so never get confused as to which way I'm heading.

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Great post EntropyStar! This is going to be really helpful for me as I've been struggling a bit the last few times trying to find something new, other than the easy things I've observed on my first couple of times out - Jupiter, the Orion nebula and the Pleiades. Looking forward to an opportunity to try out your method on some new objects. Cheers!

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The methods described are similar in practice and fun to use, the difference being that one is done with a lap top outside, the other with your own drawing from a star map, a photo copy, or the original star atlas itself, upon which has been traced the FOV of the eyepiece you are using or by using clear plastic sheet with an inscribed black circle or even wire rings of the correct diameter, these can be made up for the various eye pieces that are used. Not everybody wants to take a lap top outside or some may not even have one, it is also helpful to have a good star atlas and a good sized finderscope, the correct image types either right angle or straight through helps with orientation problems when reading from the star maps. An interesting book has been written on the subject entitled Star Hopping by Robert Garfinkle, the book describes the method as has been outlined, and will lead you to many interesting targets to be found in the Constellations throughout the year. The book can can be found at reasonable prices s/h from some outlets.

John.

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The methods described are similar in practice and fun to use, the difference being that one is done with a lap top outside, the other with your own drawing from a star map, a photo copy, or the original star atlas itself, upon which has been traced the FOV of the eyepiece you are using or by using clear plastic sheet with an inscribed black circle or even wire rings of the correct diameter, these can be made up for the various eye pieces that are used. Not everybody wants to take a lap top outside or some may not even have one, it is also helpful to have a good star atlas and a good sized finderscope, the correct image types either right angle or straight through helps with orientation problems when reading from the star maps. An interesting book has been written on the subject entitled Star Hopping by Robert Garfinkle, the book describes the method as has been outlined, and will lead you to many interesting targets to be found in the Constellations throughout the year. The book can can be found at reasonable prices s/h from some outlets.

John.

Indeed not everyone will have a laptop/tablet but the majority of households in the UK these days have some form of portable PC/tablet device, if it was 10 years ago I'd be more inclined to agree. Personally I couldn't be doing with drawing circles, printing out sheets etc....far more easier to have instantly configurable options at your finger tips, the ability to fuly customise a planetarium at your finger tips seems far more user friendly then needing to print things out etc....the crux of the matter is if you're prepared to take a tablet/laptop into your garden/obeserving site, judging by the star parties I attend more people do than don't. The days of laptops just randomly crashing as you mentioned aren't nowhere near as frequent as years ago. I didn't say mine was the only method and the 'best', this is just one way. You have to bare in mind that it seems simple to you (flipping roatating star charts etc) as you're used to it, for many new owners it doesn't seem simple and can be very confusing. Star hopping is a skill and I'm trying to give people who are maybe a little lost the ability right now to go out there and get results, not wait around for deliveries of books or learning calculations etc. Additionally with the advent of so many great mobile phone based planetariums I feel the 'paper' days are drawing to a close, the usability is incomparable between a book and software.

Also take into to account my post is teaching things in Stellarium they may of had no idea (clearly judging by some of the responses) about using, it's not neccessarily about the star hopping....for instance I've detailed out how to tweak Stellarium so matches your local light pollution levels and changing how stars look in comparison to each other, i'm not 'knocking' book versions of star guides but you can't do that with them!

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Hi EntropyStar

Great post and well presented. On the occasions I've taken the lappy outside I've used the Night Mode from the pop up menu at the bottom of the screen, as I'm always trying to keep my eyes as tuned in to the night sky as I can.

I remember scratching my head a bit when setting up my oculars ( ) but they do help get you're head around the inverted / mirrored views.

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Hi EntropyStar

Great post and well presented. On the occasions I've taken the lappy outside I've used the Night Mode from the pop up menu at the bottom of the screen, as I'm always trying to keep my eyes as tuned in to the night sky as I can.

I remember scratching my head a bit when setting up my oculars ( http://stargazerslou...r-sw-super-lps/ ) but they do help get you're head around the inverted / mirrored views.

Hey thanks, the oculars setting was pretty confusing on the older verison of Stellarium I had as it was very hit and miss what it saved, it caused no end of confusion and grief!! The night mode is much better improved on the latest (0.11.4) version imo, it was a little too bright still in previous versions. Hope you found some use somewhere in the OP!

All the best.

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Indeed not everyone will have a laptop/tablet but the majority of households in the UK these days have some form of portable PC/tablet device, if it was 10 years ago I'd be more inclined to agree. Personally I couldn't be doing with drawing circles, printing out sheets etc....far more easier to have instantly configurable options at your finger tips, the ability to fuly customise a planetarium at your finger tips seems far more user friendly then needing to print things out etc....the crux of the matter is if you're prepared to take a tablet/laptop into your garden/obeserving site, judging by the star parties I attend more people do than don't. The days of laptops just randomly crashing as you mentioned aren't nowhere near as frequent as years ago. I didn't say mine was the only method and the 'best', this is just one way. You have to bare in mind that it seems simple to you (flipping roatating star charts etc) as you're used to it, for many new owners it doesn't seem simple and can be very confusing. Star hopping is a skill and I'm trying to give people who are maybe a little lost the ability right now to go out there and get results, not wait around for deliveries of books or learning calculations etc. Additionally with the advent of so many great mobile phone based planetariums I feel the 'paper' days are drawing to a close, the usability is incomparable between a book and software.

Also take into to account my post is teaching things in Stellarium they may of had no idea (clearly judging by some of the responses) about using, it's not neccessarily about the star hopping....for instance I've detailed out how to tweak Stellarium so matches your local light pollution levels and changing how stars look in comparison to each other, i'm not 'knocking' book versions of star guides but you can't do that with them!

Thank you EntropyStar for your response, and I am sure many newcomers to the hobby and even more seasoned Astronomers will be most pleased about the revelations concerning the use of Stellarium, which you have put forward. However, may I point out that when you are relating to another post in future, please be careful in that you are correct in what you quote, the phrase " The days of lap tops just randomly crashing" has not been mentioned by me at all. Furthermore, by the strong tone of your thread, which at length you have made your feelings quite clear on the issue, gives the impression, rightly or wrongly, that you are somewhat irritated by the suggestion of alternative methods to using Stellarium, I am sure though that this was not your intention and that you want everyone to enjoy their Star Hopping, no matter what method they use, and their Astronomy in general :)

John.

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I find that the screens of laptops and ipods are too bright for what I want, which is to move from eyepiece to screen without experiencing a massive change in brightness.

I find red acetate brings the brightness down sufficiently, and with a manual change of the screen brightness I find it less bright than red torch/paper.

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The ocular is a great option but it does have its limitations. Thus as you change eyepieces it will magnify the stars and is not very good at separating double stars. The light pollution option is also difficult to get right. What I would like is the ability to limit the magnitudes of the stars displayed. Also, don't run this program on XP with another program and try Alt+TAB to move from one to the other. Stellarium doesn't like it and you will have to restart the computer.

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Thank you so much for this. I struggled last night and this will really help going forward.

Also made me investigate Stellarium further which can only be a good thing.

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My pleasure, there's many differing methods on how to starhop, I just found this the easiest way to get used to it. By all means if anyone finds any additional tweaks or hints please feel free to add on.

I find the Ocular plugin so useful, I often enter in details for telescopes I don't have yet (ie a 16" dob) and all the EP's on my wishlist, it gives you a rough idea what you'd get before you buy so to speak!

Stellarium is a great tool and there's so much of it untapped. Maybe it would be a good idea if we could set up a dedicated subforum with tutorials and collate all the information into one place.

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This is - by far- the most comprehensive instructions I've found for Stellarium. Just set up the details for my scopes and EPs... Can't wait to try this out on the night sky now!

Thanks so much for this!

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I've just thought of something I may of missed regarding light pollution, relative scales of stars etc....

Once you've set them correctly (or as close as poss!) and back on the main view....click the configuration panel on the left hand side tool bar (or press F2) and click on 'save current configuration'.

It'll also save the orientation of the view you have on the main screen at that time (and remember if you're in night mode or not). I have it set so when I load up Stellarium it's always zoomed out pointing to the south and in night mode.

This is a useful link for all the keyboard shortcuts:

http://www.stellariu...eyboard_actions

I find it's often fun to set another planet as your home location (select the planet and press CTRL+G), it's errie seeing Earth as a crescent in the Martian sky!!

Edited by EntropyStar
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Check your EP specs and telescope....what size is the field of view stated? Finger in the air tells me you have a massive amount of magnification going on and you're looking between the stars!

At the worst add in my telescope specs and EP's detailed in the original post, if it's still blank then we'll have to throw it out to the masses (I'm only a user of Stellarium, not a developer)!

Edited by EntropyStar
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I found that looking at the sky without optical aid and a skychart works best. I know most of the Northern constellations and the names of the brightest stars by now. Then I started with binoculars. An interesting project is to see how many messier objects you can locate with binoculars. It seems to me that people are too quick to buy a telescope before becoming familiar with the night sky...

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