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Old 08-04-2010, 03:48 PM
astrospotter (Mark)
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
Posts: 146
Answer: I use a map turned to match field

On Avoiding getting lost in SMC:
(I think I got lost a few time, especially in LMC)

A few years back I started to take a music stand into the field and it has magnets on it so I can first figure out where west is in my eyepiece cause that is where stars drift to in a short time. Then since I love the DOB that does not mirror the image I rotate the paper chart (or computer MegaStar chart) to match what I see. This is how I 'galaxy hop' back home (if you have ever visited virgo and so on you know it is 'nasty' place to get lost. All I had room for is the basic 'low cost' thin metal strip music stand down there due to suitcase limits so I taped charts to that with masking tape, messy but acceptable.

For SMC and LMC I had done paper DSS charts and in fact down there almost everything I had was paper charts so I could be fast as possible and not suffer too much dark adaptation loss from red-plastic over PC screen. In fact you can find the tons of stuff I put together at www.astrospotter.com (a USA web location) about 2/3 of the way down in a big Zip file or look at a folder with individual files (which is confusing) This I did as a 'backup plan' in case something happened to my charts. There too are my prioritized lists specific to my own goals (I did not get close to completing them but the idea was to have way more objects than I would get to in a prioritized list).

The other thing I have tried hard to do is never leave the scope alone for more than 20-40 seconds or you loose your reference from drift. Since I was talking into a little sony digital recorder (like for meetings) I did not have to write notes (which can take a lot of time in the dark).

So I followed a 'route' mostly in any given area of the SMC or LMC and mostly just had to not let the scope drift too far cause my typical field was 20-30' for most SMC and LMC things (also to save time in not changing eyepieces). My gain was seeing lots of stuff in such a short trip but my loss is I was not able to do size estimations on all those things in busy areas like SMC/LMC.

Just like in life, it is all about tradeoffs. The trip was such a rush for me and I loved cruzin the skies down in such rich skies.

Mark
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