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kmce

what star is what object

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How do i know what star is what object (planet etc) People have suggested different programs to use so you know where the object is roughly but when i point the scope i could be looking at anything is there a way of knowing where the objects are or is it just through experience that i will learn, cause all ive seen is jupiter for the past 3 weeks and its cause its the easiest to find, but getting a bit boring lookin at the same thing lol

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A lot of people use Stellarium (free software) to find their way around. But practice is the best thing, just concentrate on small parts of the sky, and learn your way around that first, then move on to the next bit etc.

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No, the sky has been extensively mapped in incredible detail. There are many catalogues, old and new, which asign numbers both to stars and nebulae. This means that before each number you specify the catalogue by its initials. Eg NGC2244 (New General Catalogue object 2244 is a cluster in the Rosette Nebula, for instance.)

Sky maps use an equivalent of longitude and latitude to allow us to specify any location on the imaginary sphere that makes up the sky. The longitude equivalent is called right ascension and is measured in time units of hours minutes and seconds - since the Earth takes a day (roughly, to keep things simple at this stage) to do a full turn within the sphere. The zero point of the scale is called the First Point of Aires but is no longer in Aires. Sorry about that!

The latitude equivalent is called declination, positive for the northern hemisphere and negative for the southern. The celestial equator on the imaginary sphere is at Declination zero and the celestial north pole, very close to Polaris, is at Dec +90.

You can buy good paper charts or download a free planetarium called Stellarium. Or indeed buy commercial ones like SkyMap Pro. These you set to your observing time and date and they show you where things are. A planisphere is a handy device to show you quickly what is where on the sky but they are too small to give great detail.

The sky has been divided up into constellations, 88 in all, so any object lies in one of these and the charts show their officially agreed boundaries.

You will need to wait for the moon to go down before you do much exploring with yur scope. Have fun,

Olly

PS There's a wonderful book called the Photographic Atlas of the Sky which has a photo of the stars next to a chart showing exactly what's in the photo. It is a brilliant way to get the hang of working between chart and sky and you can practise when it is daytime!

Edited by ollypenrice

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Hi kmce, this can get quite frustrating to begin with, what type of finder scope do you have?

I found the best approach was to concentrate on one constellation at a time, identify the objects I wanted to see (using a programme like Stellarium or paper star maps), using the star map go outside and identify where they should be with naked eye observations, once I could find the right bit of sky, then using a straight through finder or RDF point the finder and telescope at the desired location (you can use both eyes one looking through the finder and the other straight at the sky until the image lines up - takes a little practice but soon becomes easy) - then using your widest field eyepiece search the sky area you have just found until you locate your objective.

Good luck, looks like there's some clear nights on the way ;)

Note: You will need to line up the finder and scope in daylight first!

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There is also a good book - Turn Left At Orion - it shows you popular views of many objects and what they look like through your finder - and how to find them.

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It appears that you are a beginner and are getting frustrated at finding your way. My advice is to NOT use the telescope for a few nights! Go outside with a star atlas and try to find your way around the major constellation patterns. Try to find The Plough (Ursa Major) and Cassiopea and Cygnus (the Swan) (both pretty much overhead at the moment ) then work slowly from there. In a short time you will start to recognise the shapes and be able to find other constellations from the map.

You can download maps try:

Taki's Home Page

Which you can print off.

Or buy "The Sky at Night" or "Astronomy Now" magazines, both of which contain a star chart and instructions to find things for the current month.

Edited by Bizibilder

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Stars are stars and remain as points of light, simply too small and too far away to appear to us as even a small disk. If you want to look at stars then I suggest finding and downloading one of the lists of coloured doubles.

Planets, well you already have found at least one, have the feeling they are all located fairly close to one another at the moment, so you could try to locate a couple of the others. Uranus is close to Jupiter but being small will be very star like = almost a point, blue/green I think.

Then come the DSO's. Probably the things you want to see/locate.

For those you need to know a few of the constellations.

The Plough is relatively easy.

If you get a guide on The Plough then you will see that fairly close to some main the stars that make up the Pllough are:

M97, M108, M109.

Two other Messiers close are M101, M51.

M82, M81 are in the constellation but further away from the constellation stars.

Much the same holds true for other Messier objects, they are in various of the constellations.

Leo is another constellation where there are 5 Messier objects close to the line of stars that form the lower "belly" of Leo.

M65, M66, M95, M96, M105.

So you need to go and get some idea of the major constellations. Eye's are the best for that, and a warm coat.

I would suggest a different book, The Monthly Sky Guide instead. For each month it picks out one constellation that is high and give a detailed diagram of it and of what is in it. I find it more useful for this exercise.

Suggested learning:

The Plough, Cassiopeia, then Leo and Orion (hard to miss when it gets above the horizon)

To find Leo: Using the 2 stars in The Plough that point to Polaris, go the other way. They point to Leo. All 4 stars of tThe Plough point "down" to Leo.

Orions belt (left to right) points to The Pleiades (Bright open cluster) and Taurus (Bright star = Aldebaran:

Cassiopeia is used to point to Pegasus, Andromeda (M31) and the double cluster.

The constellations were drawn up by the greeks and at that time they didn't have the light polution we do. So they may not stand out as much as could be wished for.

Quite a few of the Messier objects are clusters, open and globular. All will be dim.

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Hi kmce - I found the easiest way is to first learn the constellation shapes and seasons - then as you go through the year watching each one come round - find out which objects are in each one and observe it. You soon begin to remember where everything is.

Get Stellarium as mentioned above so you can find unusual stuff - and buy Sky at Night magazine or Astronomy Now. These give a monthly guide of what's up, where it is, and best equipment to use.

Hope that helps ;)

Edited by brantuk

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Celestial navigation is confusing at first, but everything finally started to make sense when i got a red dot finder. It enabled me to pinpoint exactly where i was in the sky and then match my eyepiece view with what was on the charts. Made all the difference in the world. ;)

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I agree with Carol

the two things that really allowed me to begin to find things (well three actually, OK four)

were:

1) Telrad finder (also a Rigel Quikfinder)

2) wide field, low power eyepiece

3) Corrected right angled finder - by corrected I mean the right way round and up - i.e. as you see things.

4) A decent book - I started with 'Turn Left at Orion' too.

Apart from that as others say, concentrate on one constellation at a time and go from there - you'll be having a ball soon enough!

Good luck and welcome to SGL!

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I sometimes sit in the garden with a red torch and a skymap. I try to work out where I am using the constellations and then pick out the stars. It's really enjoyable and you quickly start to get a feel for the sky. ;)

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I sometimes sit in the garden with a red torch and a skymap. I try to work out where I am using the constellations and then pick out the stars. It's really enjoyable and you quickly start to get a feel for the sky. ;)

This is the way i managed to find my way around the constellations, its kind of like serving an `apprenticeship`.

When you are able to pick out the shapes in the sky, there is loads of useful info online on what to look for in each constellation, for example..

The Constellations

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