Re: Finding objects! (was Re: (IAAC) The Herschel List)
I have a method of star-hopping that I use for faint or difficult
to find objects. It involves the fact that I have four aids that
allow me to easily and confidently move to fairly exact location
in the sky. Those four things are: Telrad, University 11X80 finder
with an Amici prism, Bright Star Atlas and Uranometria 2000 star
atlas. I get the general idea of where I want to go in the sky
with the Telrad and Bright Star Atlas. Using these together I
can with certainty point the scope at a "jump off star", generally
naked eye, to star from. The Bright Star Atlas lets me answer
the question "OK, which one of you guys is Sigma" or whatever.
Now that I am on the starting location I am ready to move up to
a deeper magnitude.
I turn to the page in Uranometria that has the bright star on it,
and hopefully it also has the deep sky object I seek. Then I note
an asterism that is directy north, south, east or west of the
object I am looking to find. This works because I have a Bigfoot
Mount, which is essentially a German Equatorial. Then once I am
directly even with the object in a cardinal direction, I move the
scope to the oject, moving in only one direction at a time. I have
found two helpful things: the large finder shows all the stars marked
on Uranometria and the Amici Prism will show the sky in the same
orientation as the charts.
I used to spend a lot of time looking for a faint object, not certain
if I just wasn't seeing it, or am I in the wrong location. This
method allows me to be quite certain that I am at the location marked
on the chart. Now I can move to the right spot and if the object
isn't there, it isn't there and I can move on.
Hope that helps;