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I have a Skywatcher 130m on an az gti mount and have a relatively restricted view of the sky.  If I want to look at a certain part of the sky be it North or South  I have to reposition the scope as I have trees and houses around me.

I'd like to push the scope and look for stuff I would not normally go for iike hard to separate doubles and the like.

Some suggestions please.

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Buy a book like the highly recommended “Turn left at Orion” This will show you a multitude of things to look at in the sky and where to find them. Good luck 👍 

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The SkySafari app is very good for giving realistic views of the sky, I recommend it. It's better than a planisphere. You need to run it on an iPad and I use the basic version, about £4.

I tried Turn Left at Orion and found it frustrating. Even though I avoided stars/galaxies which were listed as difficult to locate, most of the easier sites I still couldn't find.

Recently I've found the Loughton list of stars - basic, but that's why I like it.

https://las-astro.org.uk/docs/Loughton_List_v2_0.pdf

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I've looked at both the references and they are full of information. I've never seen such detail before, I'm impressed by all the time and effort it must have taken to prepare the lists of stars and clusters.

I think they are aimed at people with lots of experience.

I'm at the other end of the scale, I've been looking at the stars for about two years. I can find the location of most of the stars I want to see, provided I use binoculars. When I switch to a telescope, it's much harder because I haven't had enough experience  star hopping. (102 Maksutov and a 9 X 50 finderscope).

 

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15 minutes ago, keora said:

I've looked at both the references and they are full of information. I've never seen such detail before, I'm impressed by all the time and effort it must have taken to prepare the lists of stars and clusters.

I think they are aimed at people with lots of experience.

I'm at the other end of the scale, I've been looking at the stars for about two years. I can find the location of most of the stars I want to see, provided I use binoculars. When I switch to a telescope, it's much harder because I haven't had enough experience  star hopping. (102 Maksutov and a 9 X 50 finderscope).

 

I've found a finderscope, no matter how good, not to be enough when star hopping in an unfamiliar part of the sky. Would it be possible for you to put a Rigel Quickfinder or reasonable quality red dot finder anywhere on your scope? I use the Rigel, a RACI 8x50 finder and a low mag eyepiece to find stuff with my  dob (in that order) and even then I often have trouble.

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4 hours ago, keora said:

it's much harder because I haven't had enough experience  star hopping. (102 Maksutov and a 9 X 50 finderscope).

If you can get a 9x50 RACI finderscope, it'll feel much closer to using your binos

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Cajen, I considered buying a Rigel but I've decided to keep things simple. I just have a finderscope attached to the main telescope. As for a red dot finder I have used one and in my view it didn't help much. I live in a big city, the Bortle value is 7 or 8, and there's not many stars visible in the sky with the naked eye.

With the finderscope I can find some of the dimmer stars. The field of view is nearly as wide as binoculars.

I use Star Safari to work out the degrees of distance between the bright star I'm starting from and the star I'm looking for. As I move the scope towards the star, I count the degrees travelled by counting the number of turns on the controls - one full turn moves the scope two degrees . Routes which I find difficult include Regulus in Leo to M44 in Cancer - lots of dark sky, not many waymarks to guide you.

Edited by keora
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19 minutes ago, keora said:

Cajen, I considered buying a Rigel but I've decided to keep things simple. I just have a finderscope attached to the main telescope. As for a red dot finder I have used one and in my view it didn't help much. I live in a big city, the Bortle value is 7 or 8, and there's not many stars visible in the sky with the naked eye.

With the finderscope I can find some of the dimmer stars. The field of view is nearly as wide as binoculars.

I use Star Safari to work out the degrees of distance between the bright star I'm starting from and the star I'm looking for. As I move the scope towards the star, I count the degrees travelled by counting the number of turns on the controls - one full turn moves the scope two degrees . Routes which I find difficult include Regulus in Leo to M44 in Cancer - lots of dark sky, not many waymarks to guide you.

It's good that your controls are so accurate and predictable. Not quite so easy when you're nudging a dob! 😆 I share your pain with the light pollution - I have exactly the same problem, exacerbated by very close streetlights.

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On 23/03/2022 at 22:49, Stephen Waldee said:

Let's see.  I am not 100% certain if my answer will be what you are looking for but assuming that you do NOT know the typical objects in the constellations that drift past your "openings" I could suggest a few things that haven't been mentioned.

 

The late Steve Coe was a marvelous observer in Arizona, USA.  He passed away in 2018 and had been a very beloved and respected member of the Saguaro Astronomy Club, and was gifted not only in observing but also in researching and organizing.  I never found him to be a very stylish writer; he was, shall we say, "succinct" and tended to use the terms originally promoted and pioneered by the Herschels even as far back as before 1800.  So he uses a very limited palette of descriptive terms but there is a certain consistency in that.  He basically describes deep sky objects exactly the way Dr. Dreyer did when he published the New General Catalogue at the end of the 1880s; whereas today's magazine and book authors (especially Sue French, 19 year veteran columnist of American Sky & Telescope, or Stephen James O'Meara -- even to a slight extent, Sir Patrick Moore -- try often to be rather, um, "poetic".  But Steve Coe's technique allowed him to say a LOT in short phrases and sentences, packing tons of info into very few words.) 

 

I found his Constellation Pages of enormous value; but perhaps around the time of his death, his astronomy club seems to have taken them off the net.  However, I found them in the original formatted version on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.  So if you click on the name of a pertinent constellation, you can be pretty sure that he looked at these carefully with (a) primarily an inexpensive, common 13.1 inch Dobsonian scope; and (b) alternatively with one of his small refractors (he usually specifies which is which; but do not assume something he describes with his 13" scope CANNOT be seen in a 4 to 5 inch scope, given a good dark sky.)

 

So try this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170314025431/http://www.saguaroastro.org/content/obsnotes.htm

 

Sometimes when you hit this URL, it may take as much as ten or more seconds for the page to come up.  (You can click near the top and get rid of the Wayback Machine's banner.) Steve also wrote a book on observing, published by Springer-Verlag in the "Patrick Moore Observers Series", called "Deep Sky Observing -An Astronomical Tourist" which is now, I believe, in its 2nd edition.  Not a particularly briliant or literary work, but a useful one.

 

For "poetry" consult the collections of Sue French Sky & Telescope columns in her elegant "coffee table" book "Deep Sky Wonders" (Firefly); and for "inspiration" and the motivation to try wild-n-crazy things with a small scope, Stephen James O'Meara can't be beat; he could see things with his 4" TeleVue refractor that just about beat ANYBODY ELSE--and he DID see them! He had a site on the high slopes of Mauna Kea: a beautiful, dark, steady sky.  In the Pacific coast of California, at locales where I could discern 7th mag. stars by naked-eye, I could often duplicate what Sue French had seen with her expensive Astro-Physics 5" refractor with my cheap Orion (USA) 4.7 inch achromat...but I just fail time after time in being able to discern the amazing things that O'Meara could pry out of "nothingness"! He is a phenom~

 

I -- ahem; makes me squirm a bit to say this after mentioning all these celebrities  -- have a section on my website that is based on a software program for amateur astronomers that I first published close to thirty years ago.  I collected a series of data files separated into categories -- galaxies, globular and open clusters, nebulae; etc. -- that were included in the late Professor John Sanford's book OBSERVING THE CONSTELLATIONS, now out of print.  John gave me permission to use these data and some of his descriptions; I could "plug in" these objects into an old telescope-simulator program I wrote back in the days of MS-DOS.  A few years ago, when NOBODY was using that old clinker program, I re-did those lists into webpages: so there are quite a few interesting observing candidates: including over 600 multiple stars.  So: take a look at these lists, found here:

http://celestialregina.x10.mx/8-h-haggis/eyepiece-objects.htm

 

Did I manage to get anywhere near what you're looking for, or miss the mark?

 

Best,

Steve & Regina, Ivins UT
http://reginacelestial.byethost3.com
or 
http://celestialregina.x10.mx

 

 

I am a double star fan and most of the time I view them with clusters thrown in. Having light polluted skies its no use looking for fuzzies so your better off going for multiple stars and clusters and I wanted to say thank you for these resources really appreciate you posting them. 

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On 20/03/2022 at 17:13, Ed the Fox said:

I have a Skywatcher 130m on an az gti mount and have a relatively restricted view of the sky.  If I want to look at a certain part of the sky be it North or South  I have to reposition the scope as I have trees and houses around me.

I'd like to push the scope and look for stuff I would not normally go for iike hard to separate doubles and the like.

Some suggestions please.

Yes, GoTo is most useful for reaching targets when the sky is poor and there are few guiding stars or patterns.

Also, with a poor sky, many fuzzies and nebulae are hard to spot.

Going for doubles (and various clusters) is therefore a good idea - huge variety, often challenging, great views, rewarding.  The Cambridge Double Star Atlas (2nd ed.) lists the best and many, many others, and gives all their parameters (and SAO numbers) so you can decide which are of interest or are even do-able.  

One key point here is that for really tight doubles around the 1.0 arcsec separation and less, you need aperture to counter the effects of bad seeing at high mag.

Have fun!

Doug.

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9 hours ago, keora said:

Cajen, I considered buying a Rigel but I've decided to keep things simple. I just have a finderscope attached to the main telescope. As for a red dot finder I have used one and in my view it didn't help much. I live in a big city, the Bortle value is 7 or 8, and there's not many stars visible in the sky with the naked eye.

With the finderscope I can find some of the dimmer stars. The field of view is nearly as wide as binoculars.

I use Star Safari to work out the degrees of distance between the bright star I'm starting from and the star I'm looking for. As I move the scope towards the star, I count the degrees travelled by counting the number of turns on the controls - one full turn moves the scope two degrees . Routes which I find difficult include Regulus in Leo to M44 in Cancer - lots of dark sky, not many waymarks to guide you.

When I stop hop using SkySafari, I set it up so the orientation and limiting magnitude of stars matches the scope, along with the correct field of view circle. From your bright star starting point, it then becomes very easy to match star patterns to get to your target.

What I normally do is position the bright star I’m starting from on the furthest edge of the fov so that I’m heading in the direction of the target. Then I find a star or pattern of stars on the opposite side, and move these to the side furthest from the target, then reposition SkySafari to match, and then repeat until you get there. Sometimes I go in a slightly indirect route depending on what stars are available, and sometimes you have to zoom out a bit with SkySafari to see if you are still going the right way, but it works really well.

I’ve found any target I want using this method even under Bortle 7 or worse skies. Most recently I found the mag 10.3 asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 which passed relatively close by the earth. My skies are normally around Bortle 4 here but the transparency that night was quite poor so it was still a challenge. By using the scope/SkySafari views in this way, there are always stars visible to hop by and it becomes much easier than with a finderscope if your skies are poor.

For some reason, my brain doesn’t work well with printed black on white star maps, but it does with SkySafari as it looks just like the real thing.

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Stu, thank you for the advice. I've got Sky Safari on an iPad. It's hard to find out what version number it is. Since I paid just £4 for it I suppose it's the beginner's version.

Whereabouts in the instructions does it mention the techniques you use? It sounds better than the crude system I'm using?

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24 minutes ago, keora said:

Stu, thank you for the advice. I've got Sky Safari on an iPad. It's hard to find out what version number it is. Since I paid just £4 for it I suppose it's the beginner's version.

Whereabouts in the instructions does it mention the techniques you use? It sounds better than the crude system I'm using?

It is worth finding out which version you have as the way of doing this does change a little with each one, mainly just which menus it is in. I think you need the Plus version of whichever one you have in order to have the field of view functions.

Try finding the help menu and that might tell you what you have.

In basic terms though, there is normally an Observe menu available, which contains an equipment section for setting up your kit eg scope, eyepieces, barlows etc, and then a scope display section which allows you to choose which combination you are using, and it then displays a circle representing the correct field of view. There are instructions on the SkySafari website

These are for Skysafari 5 but should help.

https://skysafariastronomy.com/support/manual/manual.shtml
 

You can tap at the top left or top right of the screen and it opens menus to control star and DSO brightness, plus orientation and fov circles etc

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15 hours ago, keora said:

Routes which I find difficult include Regulus in Leo to M44 in Cancer - lots of dark sky, not many waymarks to guide you.

A red dot finder might help here. All I do to find M44 is point the scope at the imaginary spot exactly half way between Regulus (Leo) and Pollux (Gemini) and you should be pretty close to it. Just a quick jiggle 5 degrees to the right and you'll find it. Same with binos.

 

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12 minutes ago, Pixies said:

A red dot finder might help here. All I do to find M44 is point the scope at the imaginary spot exactly half way between Regulus (Leo) and Pollux (Gemini) and you should be pretty close to it. Just a quick jiggle 5 degrees to the right and you'll find it. Same with binos.

 

That’s what I do for M44. I have a cheap red dot finder and 9x50 RACI finderscope on my Dob. I’m in Bortle 7. Another example is M3. To find that I point the red dot as close to half way between Arcturus & Cor Caroli, the only two stars that I can see naked eye from my garden that are anywhere near M3. It’s quite a big gap. Then look in my RACI finderscope. Most of the time I can see M3 as a faint fuzzy patch of light somewhere in the finderscope. If it’s not there I try again with the red dot. At most it’ll take me 3 attempts but 50% of the time I get it first go. 

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Stu, I've found out that I've got the basic version of SkySafari. There isn't an extension to the name, such 5 or 6 Pro. Mine doesn't have an option on the screen that says Observe.

The instructions are not very long,compared with the those shown in your reply yesterday.

Apple store on my iPad offers four versions of SkySafari - the basic one (mine), then 6 Plus, 6 Pro and finally 7 Pro.

I think I'll buy 6 Pro at £13 and hope it lets me find stars more easily.

Edited by keora
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2 hours ago, keora said:

Stu, I've found out that I've got the basic version of SkySafari. There isn't an extension to the name, such 5 or 6 Pro. Mine doesn't have an option on the screen that says Observe.

The instructions are not very long,compared with the those shown in your reply yesterday.

Apple store on my iPad offers four versions of SkySafari - the basic one (mine), then 6 Plus, 6 Pro and finally 7 Pro.

I think I'll buy 6 Pro at £13 and hope it lets me find stars more easily.

V6 user manual is here: https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/sections/115004140107-SkySafari-6-User-Manual-for-iOS-and-Android

Comparison of features in the different V6 editions is here: https://skysafariastronomy.com/skysafari-6-professional-astronomy-telescope-control-software-for-ios.html

Edited by Zermelo
Replaced the second link to point to the iOS version
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1 hour ago, keora said:

Stu, I've found out that I've got the basic version of SkySafari. There isn't an extension to the name, such 5 or 6 Pro. Mine doesn't have an option on the screen that says Observe.

The instructions are not very long,compared with the those shown in your reply yesterday.

Apple store on my iPad offers four versions of SkySafari - the basic one (mine), then 6 Plus, 6 Pro and finally 7 Pro.

I think I'll buy 6 Pro at £13 and hope it lets me find stars more easily.

6 Pro should be very good, will be all you ever need really.

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On 20/03/2022 at 11:13, Ed the Fox said:

I have a Skywatcher 130m on an az gti mount and have a relatively restricted view of the sky.  If I want to look at a certain part of the sky be it North or South  I have to reposition the scope as I have trees and houses around me.

I'd like to push the scope and look for stuff I would not normally go for iike hard to separate doubles and the like.

Some suggestions please.

This can be a challenge. A planetary nebulae GJJC1 in M22

 

"Planetary Nebula In Globular Cluster M22 (archive.org)

Extraordinary Efforts And Results!
Observation Report (web link) of GJJC1
by Stephen Waldee;
near San Jose, California, August 15, 2007
(note: extensive report plus a sketch! - 
scroll down the linked page and you'll see
report labeled "PN GJJC1 in M22")
THANK YOU STEPHEN!"

This report is by Stephen Waldee

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