Craig Sandler of Massachusetts Discovers the Fun and Satisfaction of Finding Deep-Sky Objects by Using Good Old Fashioned Star-hopping.

After 15 years of being a slave to my GOTO systems, last night I located M44, M67 and M68, via good old fashioned “Star-hopping” using a totally manual EQ mount and a S&T Sky Atlas.    

It was a REVELATION!   I now understand the sky….maybe 30 percent better this week than two weeks ago, and I was not a beginner to start with.

My first scope was a Meade ETX 125 Maksutov-Cassegrain, so my observing or self-teaching was about looking up at the sky for awhile, then punching buttons, navigating menu stystems instead of the stars, and centering.  

As of my last two sessions with my manual equatorial mount, I now understand why the GoTo systems are set up the way they are.  More to my point, my relationship with the sky is now very intimate, familiar and satisfying.  It’s really hard to put into descriptive language or words. 

I’d never seen the last object on my list and had to FIGHT for ~15-20 minutes to find it, but LOVED the challenge!  I KNEW I could do it, but it wouldn’t have happened without a wide-field of view.    

I recently purchased an Orion Astroview 120 mm f/5 refractor.  It has a straight through, 6×30 finder, not a 90º diagonal, with a mirror-image non-correct view…..which can be torture.  

The Orion Astroview is a high-quality refractor telescope, but with a very economical price.  Now is this possible?  Yes….apparently it is!  Maybe it does not perform like a designer or “big name” APO, but I find the views to be very acceptable….maybe even great!    

Again…..as I said earlier, I’m re-learning amateur astronomy, and many would say the right way.  I’m now using the finding methods of Messier, Herschel, and so many other great observer’s of the past.  

I must say…..it’s wonderful.   Craig Sandler  
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