Star Hopping in the Big City
- Last Updated: 27 November 2016
by David Nakamoto
Star hopping is an old method for finding objects that only requires a star chart and some planning. But doing it from the city can be challenging since you rarely can see stars brighter than 3rd or even 2nd mag with the unaided eye, and even through a 50mm finder it's a challenge.
In this article I'll describe the general equipment requirements and techniques for star hopping using the few stars available to city dwellers. I'll illustrate those techniques with actual star hops I used with the 8-inch f/12 refractor at Garvey Ranch park observatory on the night of Nov 2nd.
David Nakamoto has been star hopping for nearly 50 years, mostly from suburban skies, and while lately he prefers the swiftness of GOTO mounts, even with those he finds that a little star hopping is involved. He's been an LAAS member since 1989, although he's been "hanging around" the LAAS for longer than that.
- Last Updated: 17 July 2016
Image by Mike Hayford
Takahashi TAO-150 with a barlow lens yielding an effective focal length of 4300mm at f/28.6. Canon Rebel T1i to shoot video. The image was stacked using about 1400 frames with Autostakkert 2. Further processing was done using Registax 6 to do wavelet sharpening, Noiseless Pro to do just a little noise reduction and Photoshop to get the color balance correct.
The imaging was done Saturday, June 4, 2016 around 11:20pm from Monrovia, CA. The air was very steady although the transparency was poor. Amazingly, Saturn was only about 30 degrees above the horizon when I did the imaging.
Urban Imaging: Objects in Cygnus
- Last Updated: 09 October 2016
By David Nakamoto
In my previous articles on urban imaging, I gave some strategies to increase your chances of imaging deep sky objects. I’d like to give my personal recommendations for such objects in Cygnus.
For LAAS members, Cygnus has a lot going for it. For starters, it passes directly overhead for LAAS members, or it will if the date and time are right. For another, the three classes of objects that are the easiest to image, Globular and Open clusters, and Planetary nebula, are found near the Milky Way, which passes right through the constellation. The reason why these three types of objects are easier to image has to do with what they’re made of. Stars are probably the easiest objects to image, so clusters tend to be easy objects. Planetary nebula have a high surface brightness per square arc-second, compared to more nebulous objects like galaxies and emission nebula.