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;
Steve Coe