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theghettostylus

how in gods name do I even find DSO

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I guess this post if for both imaging and observing.

I can find constellations and the planted about at the moment but can't for the life of me find any DSO, I am using my 130 and eq3-2 (sand filled tripod) dual motor at the moment. The sky isn't overly light polluted but all I can find is stars.

Would using the setting circles help at all?

I've the smaller they are the more useless they are.

What sort of objects can I point my scope at, at this time of year?

Thanks.

Jason.

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I found the setting circles had too much play in them on my EQ3-2 so were not reliable. Accurate alignment of your guide scope will help and could be even better with a Telrad or red dot finder to help you "see" the target in the dark of night!

As Pete says, Turn Left is a great book and Stellarium will get you close in! IT is hard works and takes time, but you get the in the end - and once you find one, you can easily find it the next time!

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I find the best approach is a good atlas and star hop from a recognisable bright target. I typically use triatlas, usually the B series, to let me star hop to it. I use the finder scope to find the starting point and then use the main scope visually while star hopping until I am confident I have the target in sight. I then swap from eyepiece to camera and run a series of shots at 13000 iso while I focus and frame. Usually I find I have the target pretty well in the centre of the frame by doing that.

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Here is a list of easy-to-find DSOs, organized by season and 'scope size, and with instructions on how to find them.  These should get you started.

(And, no, the setting circles on your scope probably won't help.)

- Richard

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I have Stellarium on my phone bit my laptop died so waiting on a new one, but the android version is way off when using GPS shows everything in the wrong place.

I have heard good things about turn left at Orion.

Will have to check it out!

I was going to get the eq 3 pro synscan but wanted to get a basic understanding of where stuff is rather than going down the GOTO road first.

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A reflex sight like a Telrad or Rigel Quickfinder is great for finding things quickly.

The standard fit RDF tends to be pretty poor.

Try easy stuff first and remember a lot of DSO's will be faint and fuzzy in the eyepiece with very little detail. Use low power eyepieces to find them and only up the magnification once you have them centred.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I found a used copy of turn left at Orion so put that on order.

With all this bad weather I can hopefully get some reading done when the book arrives before the clear skies come back.

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post-28808-0-17881000-1432075475_thumb.j

I guess this post if for both imaging and observing.
I can find constellations and the planted about at the moment but can't for the life of me find any DSO, I am using my 130 and eq3-2 (sand filled tripod) dual motor at the moment. The sky isn't overly light polluted but all I can find is stars.
Would using the setting circles help at all?
I've the smaller they are the more useless they are.
What sort of objects can I point my scope at, at this time of year?

Thanks.
Jason.

One way is the old fashion way of looking through a Star Atlas. I don't have one of those. I assume that you have a laptop. Download either Stellarium or CDC which are free downloads. I had Stellarium but couldn't get used to the interface. I use CDC it is a little more complicated and involved but you soon get used to it.  There  you have a  panel with all the options to find stars, constellations, deepsky objects, etc. You can see their positions with reference to known nearby stars. You can also deduct their celestial co ordinates from looking at the chart either celestial or equatorial and then star hop to the target. As far as the scope is concerned I am afraid that 130mm is not a lot of aperture ( perfect for imaging but not so hot for observing ) so a lot of the fainter stuff may not be so obvious.

A.G

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I found a used copy of turn left at Orion so put that on order.

With all this bad weather I can hopefully get some reading done when the book arrives before the clear skies come back.

When I was a kid (and had all the time in the world to completely obsess about whatever my current interest was), I was given a pocket star atlas entitled "Constellations", published by Collins.

It was then, of course, cloudy for two whole weeks, but I spent every night pouring over that book.

When the skies cleared, I could find my way around the night sky like it was the back of my hand!

It still took practice to find DSO's by star hopping though. 

No-one ever said that this hobby is easy. ;)  But, by Jove, the rewards for the work are fantastic! :) :)

Before you know it, you will be adept at finding your way around the sky :)

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I learned how to find things using a 60mm refractor on an alt-az mount (a Tasco type affair).

Neither the scope nor the mount were very good but they were simple. I imagine that if I'd had an equatorial mount back then I'd have been held back. The scope would have been fighting my gentle pushing and pulling.

Anyway, I digress..

I've never used a finder of any description (but understand that the Telrad  types are quite good). I simply sighted along the scope tube (as I still do today with Ye Olde Fullerscope, the supplied finder has never been mounted.) to an approximate position interpolated from a star chart or finder chart and swept swept the area at low power power until something fuzzy appeared. This might take seconds or minutes, it might take hours. It sometimes took years!!

For point like objects and fainter DSO's I used star hopping. It sounds difficult but you will be surprised how easily the human brain learns telescopic star fields even when inverted or mirrored.

My views on setting circles on small  mounts (read: most amateur mounts) is that they are just a gimmick. It could be argued that they have an educational function but as an aid to finding telescopic objects they are next to useless and add unnecessary complexity. 

Finding stuff should be fun. It was for me :)

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I do t have a laptop at the moment, was to slow and the battery was dead so put it in the bin aha. Will get a new one so on and check out CDC! I'm all for the never ending learning process that comes with any hobby :) I was thinking of getting a cheap refractor to use as a finder scope so I can see more of the dim stars to find my way around. But that is still just an idea and will stick to the little finder I have for now. Thanks for all the advice!!!!

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+1 for Turn Left at Orion.

It's surprising what you can pick out with just a pair of bins too, and you can really start learning the sky that way.

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When I was a kid (and had all the time in the world to completely obsess about whatever my current interest was), I was given a pocket star atlas entitled "Constellations", published by Collins.

That's a brilliant book and I also had a copy in my youth.  I bought another copy on the secondhand market a few years ago, admittedly for sentimental reasons as I use CDC and the S&T atlas these days but still thinks it's worthwhile seeking out.  The companion book on the Moon, Mars & Venus is great too.

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How many of the constellations do you know and can identify?

At 11:00 tonight could you point out Leo, Casseiopia, Auriga, The Plough, Hercules.

Can you get from the Plough to Leo, from Casseiopia to Perseus.

There is little use saying half way up the right sdie of the square of Hercules is M13, or, midway from Casseiopia to Perseus is the double Cluster.

An "easy" one at 11:00 would be M57 in Lyra, find Vega first, but first how well do you know the constellations?

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+1 for binoculars.

You can find your way much easier, getting basic orientation sorted out.

Much easier than impatiently hunting the many degrees finding nearly invisible things :)

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I know where Leo is and the big dipper and things like that, its just finding the very faint stars in them to star hop.

I've tried the hole move down right a bit but that is far to hard to find anything.

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It's worth remembering that most DSO's aren't going to look like they do in so many images posted here, not through a small telescope at least.

Fuzzy blobs are what you are looking for. Once found, a combination of skill, experience and good conditions will bring out more detail (or start a bout of "aperture fever"!).

Unfortunately, in the absence of GoTo there is only perseverance. After the first couple of successes, those DSO's will start flying in. 

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Another good way to find DSO's is when you know that you are in the right area, start looking with your lowest magnification eyepiece (lets say 25mm). If the target DSO crosses your view in the scope you should be able to detect it as a faint grey fuzzy object against the darker background. When this happens and you feel that you are on target, slowly increase the magnification of the scope by removing the 25mm eyepiece and replacing it with something like 15mm or even 10mm. Then you will have to refocus the scope. Repeat this process again and again until you end up with as much magnification as you want (or as is possible to use due to atmospheric conditions) and the view is pleasing to you. Star hopping is not a simple case of taking a left turn at orion (good book). You will need to know a bit more then just the big bright stars and constellations. 

The good thing about finding a DSO is that the next time you go looking for it is that you can almost just swing your scope up/down/left/right and easily find it. Its all about practise and patience. It eventually all falls into place.

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I fully aware of the lack of amazing views of deep sky stuff, even a fuzzy blob would be perfect so I can get on and image it rather than just random stars.

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If you are imaging you can just take a short exposure of what you are pointing at and plate solve it.

This will then tell you exactly where your scope is pointed so you can adjust to get the DSO in frame.

Sometimes it will already be in shot but is so faint it won't show until you have already acquired a lot of data on it.

Check out www.astrometry.net

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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The only down side is my telescope is unable to focus now unless I have my camera attached as I had to cut it down so much that the rack and pinion had to be removed. Its a crazy mod but was worth it just to reach focus with the camera.

I'm planning to get a 130pds in a week maybe but will take all the advice on board!!! Plus its rain, rain, and more rain here so no astronomy for a while anyway :(

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My humble setup is very similar to yours, I have the EQ3-2 mount and evostar 120 refractor ontop of it

A good DSO to start with is the beehive star cluster as it is near jupiter and you will be able to see it through your finderscope, i was looking at it last week, download stellarium app free ( i put it on my phone and then take it with me outside as this is most helpful to get the exact point) 

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