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Michael-H

Surprisingly difficult

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I broke out my newly acquired 200 F/6 dobsonian with a 28mm 56° eyepiece and tried some star-hopping. Started at Altair, which is nice and bright, but it's really hard to keep track of where you are in the beginning. Even with stellarium to help you. I think I'll try a printed map tomorrow, maybe that is easier.

What is your general advice for looking around when starting out?

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Telrad, Telrad charts,a planisphere, no clouds

, mini cheddars and coffee :D

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As above. I've found the ideal combination (for me) to be a Telrad / Rigel Quikfinder + 9x50 RACI optical finder + Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. That combination, plus some decently dark skies, has massively boosted the number of deep sky objects that I've seen over the past few months.

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The main thing is the 2 Ps........practice and patience. The oftener you try the easier it gets. I too use a 9x50 RACI and a Rigel finder. The Rigel gets you in the general area and the RACI used with a star atlas lets you home in on your target. I also find that pre-planning a star hop is much more successful.

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I found a Telrad made star hopping very easy, download the Telrad maps and match them the the display on Stellarium makes finding and learning the night sky very quick and easy and rewarding when you find DSO's

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If you have a tablet / iPad, buy Sky Safari pro. Then get a Telrad (a bit of a theme going here). You can switch on Telrad circles on Sky Safari. And off you go! I mounted my Telrad where the RACI used to sit. Fully intending to reattach the RACI further round the tube. This was some time ago.....

The only caveat is around light polution. If lots of light polution. Go the RACI route. It will save you from some big chiropractor bills.

Paul

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