Observing at Skyhound



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What You Need to Be a Successful Deep Sky Observer

Good Finder Charts

You can't observe deep sky objects if you can't find them. Whether it be the Sky Atlas 2000, Millennium Star Atlas, Uranometria or computer observing software, you need to develop a method of finding objects that works for you and your telescope. Sky Atlas 2000 is a good place to start. Use it in conjunction with your unaided eyes and finding device to locate the vicinity of the brighter objects. These objects will be visible in your telescope if not your finder. When at the telescope always start with your widest field eyepiece.

Deeper charts will help you star hop to the fainter more difficult objects, often matching a small aperture finder scope. For small, faint objects you are often required to hunt around in the general vicinity until the object becomes apparent, perhaps even changing to a higher magnification eyepiece.

For the ultimate in deep sky observing you will need charts that show you the field in your eyepiece. This is one of the areas where good software can really excel because software generally has much fainter stars available for plotting. Some software can even accurately simulate both the field of view and magnitude limit of your telescope-eyepiece combinations. This technique allows you to recognize the star patterns in the eyepiece. Once you know the field there is little doubt where you should concentrate your efforts to see some small, faint fuzzy.

next --> The Choice of Instrument

1. A Dark Observing Site
2. Knowledge and Desire
3. Skill and Patience
4. Good Finder Charts
5. The Choice of Instrument