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ASTRONOMY UNPLUGGED. The Art of Star Hopping By Michael Davis.

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ASTRONOMY UNPLUGGED

The Art of Star Hopping

By Michael Davis


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Why on Earth would I want to unplug my telescope? I paid a lot of money for my super-duper, billion object database, GPS, auto-aligning, remote-control, go-to, makes me coffee, rubs my feet and mows my lawn telescope. Unplug it? Are you nuts????

No, I’m not nuts. There are some good reasons why you might HAVE to run unplugged from time to time, and some good reasons why you might actually WANT to run unplugged.


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  • Why you might HAVE to run unplugged lot of money for my super-duper, billion object database, GPS, auto-aligning, remote-control, go-to, makes me coffee, rubs my feet and mows my lawn telescope. Unplug it? Are you nuts????

  • No power available

  • Dead battery

  • Telescope electronics broken

  • Not your telescope

  • Why you’d WANT to run unplugged

  • To learn the sky

  • The sense of accomplishment

  • Have confidence when using any telescope

  • Not limited by your telescope’s built-in database

  • For the challenge of it!


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What is Star Hopping anyway? lot of money for my super-duper, billion object database, GPS, auto-aligning, remote-control, go-to, makes me coffee, rubs my feet and mows my lawn telescope. Unplug it? Are you nuts????

Star hopping is simply a method of finding objects in the night sky that are invisible by using objects that are visible for reference.

What equipment do I need to star hop?

  • Eyes

  • Star charts

  • Working knowledge of the sky

  • Your telescope’s manual pointing accessories

  • Patience


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Navigating the sky lot of money for my super-duper, billion object database, GPS, auto-aligning, remote-control, go-to, makes me coffee, rubs my feet and mows my lawn telescope. Unplug it? Are you nuts????


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Learn how to move and point your telescope unplugged, and use it’s accessories.

No telescope actually needs any power for the optics to work. It will still produce great images even when unplugged. The hard part is pointing the scope unplugged. Most telescopes, even ones loaded down with all sorts of electronic bells and whistles, still have manual axis locks, manual movement controls, and visual pointing aids already built into them. Find them and learn how to use them


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Pointing with a finder scope use it’s accessories.

Sight along the alignment screws of the finder scope like you would a gun sight to rough aim the telescope until the object of interest appears in the view of the finder scope.

Move the telescope until the object of interest is centered on the crosshairs of the finder scope. The object should now be visible in the main scope at low power.


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Pointing with a Telrad use it’s accessories.

Move the telescope until the center of the bulls eye is on the object of interest. The object should now be visible in the main telescope at low power (you may need to go to very low power). The Telrad can also be used for measuring distances across the sky since the concentric circles are 4 degrees, 2 degrees and ½ degree in diameter.


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An easy exercise in star hopping use it’s accessories.

Find the Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra.


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A medium difficulty exercise in star hopping use it’s accessories.

Find the Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo


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A medium difficulty exercise in star hopping use it’s accessories.

Find galaxies M81 and M82 in Ursa Major


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A difficult exercise in star hopping use it’s accessories.

Find quasar 3C273 in Virgo


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  • Star hopping is: use it’s accessories.

  • Fun

  • Challenging

  • Educational

  • Limitless

  • So, Don’t be afraid to go…


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