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What is your favorite method for finding your targets?

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Just how many ways are there to locate goals?  What's your favorite?

As a newcomer, one of my greatest concerns was to be sure I'd be able to find things.  I had some success with celebrity hopping with binoculars but once I got my very first telescope I selected a GoTo bracket.  I am very happy with my decision.  But I've since learned other techniques.So I had been wondering as to just how many ways there are to find goals and interested in what people like best.

Here's What I know of so far:

<strong>GoTo</strong> -- fully computerized such as locating and tracking.

<strong>PushTo </strong>-- Computerized aid in finding targets but no tracking

<strong>Star Hopping</strong> -- Start in a bright star then go there and proceed and you should be on it.  (like turn by turn directions in your car) Usually exercised in a paper chart or with a computer software to work out the measures of the hop.  If it is possible to see the guide stars and affirming patterns that this should do the job nicely.

<strong>Setting circles within an equatorial mount</strong> -- Uses Right Ascension and Declination coordinate system that is unique to astronomy -- may read coordinates from a paper graph then use the setting circle dials on the telescope to point the scope.

<strong>Altitude and Azimuth</strong> -- Height above zero angle along with a degree angle from North.  I've tried this using an angle gauge for the elevation component.  I believe this is worked with a real time program on computer or phone to supply the coordinates as these change constantly.

These are the ones that I know of.  Are there others?I have used:

GoTo -- Meade ETX 80 and ETX 125 -- Love it!

PushTo -- Orion Intelliscope- Love it!

Star Hopping -- Most success with binoculars and bright goals.  Less so with my telescopes in the majority of my light polluted skies as I can not see lots of the stars I'd love to see in order to do the hop or to observe the pattern that would affirm I am in the ideal location.

AltAz coordinates -- Tried this recently with an electronic angle gauge for the elevation.  Employed Star hopping to approximate azimuth position.  Don't tried with a compass or an azimuth degree gauge on the extent.

Never attempted setting circle dials in an EQ mount.

Are there others?

Which do you use?

Which would you enjoy?

On my imaging rig: Automatic arrangement with plate solving.

On the dob: Star hopping!

Michael Zamora:

--- Quote ---<strong>On my imaging rig: Automated sequence with plate solving.  </strong>

About the dob: Star hopping!

--- End quote ---
That is a new one to me.  I'm not into AP.  Can you explain this method?   Is it only for AP or may visual men and women use it too?

Push-to does not necessarily mean no tracking. It just means that the motor parts and the object location are not tied together. Like encoders+computer on a GP mount or G-11/GM-8.
Star-hopping just means you work your way to an object by using nearby stars to get closer and closer to it.
There is also scanning, where you put in a WF eyepiece then start moving back and forth in an area shifting a little each time until you find it. That's one I may have developed/invented myself back in the late 1950's. You can also use star-hopping to get to the area you plan to scan.

Troy Furlong:
Mostly GOTO. Used to star hop but getting old and lazy. My favorite way with my dob is to use Argo-Navis DSC system. I can set it to show me all of the galaxies or other objects in a particular constellation. Much less moving around.


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