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Locating target - star hopping


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I get lost sometimes trying to find targets.  I can find constellations by eye and the bigger stars in my scope and then star hop towards the right area.  Then it gets difficult sometimes.  I've tried twice to find the Soul Nebula and failed - the area between Cassiopeia and the Heart and Soul nebulae seems really dark.  Being on hands and knees plus twisting my neck to see live view doesn't help either.

I'm viewing/imaging with a WO ZS73mm (FL 430mm or 344mm with reducer) and live view on a Canon 800D.  I use  SkySafari as a star map.  I have a Fornax Lightrack mount and can move the Dec and RA independently.

Get a Go-to mount is the obvious answer but I'm not ready for that yet.  I can blind plate solve with Sharpcap but its very slow and often fails to solve  (PA works amazingly) - I need more practice and to tweak the settings I guess

Am I missing something?  Some bit of hardware or software?  A red dot finder would help with the initial navigation but with finding an invisible target?

Thanks.

 

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When using my ZS61 I had this trouble also, before even trying platesolving I just bought a red dot finder. Now when using my ZS61 I dont even think about plate solving, never struggled to find a target with a red dot finder. Usually find it first or second time, then adjust a few times for framing. :)

 

Edit; Although I don't take anything away from platesolving, most people who are a lot better than me at this hobby use it.. at this moment in time, I've just never had a use for it.

Edited by Grant93
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4 hours ago, Albastars said:

twisting my neck to see live view

800d?

It would probably be a lot easier viewing on your 'phone instead. At any angle you like:)

When you get close to your target, lose live view and take single, say 5s, frames at ISO12800 so you can see any nebulosity and frame properly.

+1 for @Grant93's suggestion of a well aligned finder telescope to get you close, although at just over 300mm, you'll probably be ok without.

Cheers and HTH

 

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I resisted getting involved in Plate Solving but now would not do without it. On a SW star adventurer I plate solve until the declination matches the object and then adjust the RA. Adjusting both at the same time does not work for me.

Gets the object in the field of view every time.

Give it a go  but you will need something like Sharpcap and a laptop .

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Cheap 50% solution (i.e., gets the alt sorted, you pan for the az) get a simple electronic level (they cost around £15 ,  are powered by a couple of AAA cells,) Find the alt of your target with whatever ap  or program you like, put the level on the tube, elevate it to match.

Works a treat with a dob., especially as the level I bought has a magnetic base and the dob tube is steel. It's done the trick perched on a non-magnetic 'frac tube too, on an alt az head.

Another possibility , there's a free 'phone app ( I saw it for android, not sure if they do the fruit flavoured 'phones too ) called something like SkyEye , I've not used it (my smartish 'phone is too stupid, and lacks one of the sensors required) but it claims to work as a 'push to' system .

Heather

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Thanks everyone.  I have lots of options now!

@Grant93 Red dot finder.  

@alacant When you get close to your target, lose live view and take single, say 5s, frames at ISO12800 so you can see any nebulosity and frame properly.

@Tomatobro I plate solve until the declination matches the object and then adjust the RA. Adjusting both at the same time does not work for me.

@Tiny Clanger Cheap 50% solution (i.e., gets the alt sorted, you pan for the az) get a simple electronic level (they cost around £15 ,  are powered by a couple of AAA cells,) Find the alt of your target with whatever ap  or program you like, put the level on the tube, elevate it to match.

@Tiny Clanger'Push to' with SkyEye.  

@Spile I had to look up asterisms!  Right Angle Finder.

All good suggestions, thanks.  And not expensive solutions either.  I'll give them all a try.

Re the SkyEye app.  Its Android only but I searched for something similar for iPhones and it seems I already have something installed - Polar Scope Align Pro.  I need to find or make a phone mount/cradle to get this one to work but it does look promising.

Edited by Albastars
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I have the same scope and had exactly the same problem (but with a 600D :D) 

A red dot finder is an absolute must have for our setups, its like night and day when trying to find something.

This is what I got; https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/baader-30mm-sky-surfer-iii.html

attach it to the scope, keep it as straight as possible by eye, whereever it's pointing should be roughly already in your field of view (of your scope) ..Then you can find a bright star using it, check live view and you should see it there too. Calibrate the red dot finder appropriately and away you go. (If the moons out, even better, use that)

I could barely get Andromeda in my FOV without it, but with it, Andromeda, NA nebula, Pacman nebula, Triangulam galaxy, cygnus wall, whirlpool galaxy etc etc are all quite straight forward to find and frame now even without go to:)

hope this helps.

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  • 1 month later...
On 22/09/2021 at 08:06, Albastars said:

Re the SkyEye app.  Its Android only but I searched for something similar for iPhones and it seems I already have something installed - Polar Scope Align Pro.  I need to find or make a phone mount/cradle to get this one to work but it does look promising.

If you use the "hop to" feature of Polar Scope Align Pro, which requires you to center to a nearby bright star first, sync the app and then jump to the target, then making a proper phone mount that keeps it away from metal etc becomes less important, it will usually work with just the phone strapped onto the tube with rubber bands ;) 

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