Star Hopping

Star hopping is one of the easiest ways to find your way around the night sky. Simply locate a bright star and then using a star chart gradually move on to fainter and fainter objects. The constellations always keep in the same patterns but move across the sky during the night as the earth rotates.

It is used anytime one plans to locate a celestial object having a faint light, that is undetectable with the human eye alone.

Star Hopping consists of a number of steps from a star that is observable with the naked eye or through a finder scope, to a different star and so on until the target object is reached.

It can also be used for uncovering ,comets, asteroids, variable stars and other objects in the night sky that are way too dim to be observed with the naked eye.

On the subject of finder scopes , one with a wide field of view is extremely important. At the very least it ought to be a 8x50mm, but a 9x60mm is better still.

An eyepiece with a wide field of view is also a major advantage to successfully locating objects, as you will be able to see more stars at any given moment in time.

This will make it far easier to hop from star to star. If you use high magnification lenses on your initiall search you will soon become frustrated.

When you have finally reached your target location you can then switch to an eyepiece with a higher magnification to commence smaller sweeps of the area you're interested in.

During the course of the year as the seasons change you will notice different constellations in the sky. The months of September,October and November provide some really great sights.

If you are observing from the northern hemisphere a good place to begin is the Plough, as it is one of the easiest constellations to find and can be viewed all year long from the northern hemisphere.

It is also possible to use 3 bright stars in Cassopeia to locate other formations such as the Great square of Pegasus. You will soon find yourself locating a host of other interesting star patterns in no time at all.

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