Locating deep sky objects without Go-To control is sometimes very exhausting and can be frustrating. With the EF 200mm f/2.8L and the Kenko 1.4x converter at 280mm I was for the first time in trouble to find an object…
Some are very easy to find, if they have a bright star(s) nearby:
- NGC 7000 North America Nebula / Pelican Nebula (Deneb)
- M45 Pleiades (very very easy…)
- M42 Orion Nebula (very bright object at all)
- M31 (so large and bright… big chance that some part of it is quickly on a testshot)
Other objects needs more time to find them…
The hardest object to find was the faint Galaxy IC342. Neither visible on the preview images nor on a 180sec. shot…
Add all your equipment to Stellarium (DSLRs, lenses, extenders, …). Read more here.
The alignment of the DSLR is important to match the field of view in Stellarium. Within tripod mount ring the DSLR can be rotated 360° to get the best angle.
Of course without tripod ring the DSLR can’t rotate 360° so the field of view is always in portrait orientation along the equatorial grid (if the DSLR is attached directly on the L-bracket from the Star Adventurer Astro-Set).
Star Hopping with short exposures and Stellarium
Star hopping is a method to find objects by using star maps and well visible stars. Stars can guide you to a faint object.
I use short exposure images to check, if I’m still on the route, which I plan at home in Stellarium before the sessions starts. It’s not really a star-to-star route. Its a route along the Declination and the Right Ascension axis.
I start with an easy to find bright star (prefered from a constellation). In this example with Betelgeuse from the Orion constellation.
See my 6 test shots (minimal enhanced) I needed to find the Rosette Nebula. All test shots are 10s exposures at ISO1600, f/5.6, 400mm.
On image 2 to 5 the periodic error of my Star Adventurer is clearly visible (only 10s exposure time!)… what would I do without the MGEN… 😉
Sometimes there are no stars for orientation on the test shots… worst case! Then I go back or forward slightly in one axis, do another test shot and so on…
I admit… I did 4 more shots to center the Rosette Nebula 😉
To move accurate to the object I use the DEC knob on the L-bracket (very slightly) and the arrow keys (RA) of the Star Adventurer.
When the object is found and centered, I calibrate and start the MGEN-II and begin with the shooting (usually 10 to 30 minutes after the Polar Alignment).