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Astrohopper

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7 months 2 weeks ago #111910 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Astrohopper was created by Until_then-Goodnight!
Hi everyone,

I hope all is well. I'm on holidays close to Ardmore Co. Waterford at the moment. It's a wonderful place for observing, but I've no scope with me and let's just say the weather has been less than ideal this week.

So, I've spent some of my time here reading and watching astronomy related stuff. During this time I came across this video



and thought 'Astrohopper' was an interesting and helpful piece of software for Dob users like me. I've read a few posts on CN, and understand it previously went by the name 'Skyhopper'.

Of course, it takes the 'hunt' out of finding objects, which I love, but I'm going to give it a go when I get back to my scope over the coming days.

In the meantime, has anyone used 'Astrohopper', and if so how do you find it?
 
And for those who have not heard of it, I've posted the link below. Bear in mind, it's not a phone App in the sense you've to download it from the 'Playstore' etc., you simply open in through Google or a different browser on your phone...it even works offline too...so that'll be handy at the Sugarloaf :)

artyom-beilis.github.io/astrohopper.html


Clear skies,

Darren. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, Fermidox

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7 months 2 days ago #111929 by mykc
Replied by mykc on topic Astrohopper
Hi Darren.

Thank you for posting the info about Astrohopper.  It is difficult to 'point' large Dobs, especially when trying to find faint objects in areas of the sky that are far from bright stars.  I had been using the compass, the inclinometer, and a sky map, on my phone to locate deep sky targets with a 12" Dob.  That worked reasonably well, better than star hopping, but switching between several apps on the phone was tedious and the accuracy of the targeting was only so so.

Astrohopper sounded really interesting because it combined the functionality of the three apps and added an alignment function that should improve accuracy.  I tried it last night and it did not disappoint.  I got the base of the Dob reasonably level to improve accuracy, and the trickiest part was figuring out how to tie the phone to the barrel of the scope.  I used an elastic band from a head torch, which was adequate, but I will have to find a better method.  However, it was sufficient to test Astrohopper. 

It's very easy to use - locate a bright star near the target using the finder, roughly centre it in the fov of the scope, press 'Align' in the app and click on the star in the map and wait a moment for the map to be 're-centered', and move the scope until the green circle indicating the scope position encloses the target (increasing the zoom for accuracy, there's a search function too for objects that are not shown on the map).  I used it to locate about ten DSOs and it put the target in the 43' fov first time for all but one of them.  Choosing a new alignment star worked for the one target that wasn't located at the first attempt.  The targets were in the East, South and West and varied from close to the horizon to close to the zenith.  It is recommended that a new alignment star is chosen before each target, but that wasn't always necessary.  For example, aligning on Alkaid allowed me to find the Whirlpool Galaxy, followed by the Sunflower Galaxy, followed by M94, without realignment.  That's almost a 13 degree separation between the alignment star and the final target.

Astrohopper is designed for DSO targets, it does not appear to have a searchable database of star names or double star names.  More testing is required to explore its potential but my first impressions are very favourable.  It makes locating DSOs with a DOB very easy and greatly reduces the frustration of trying to star hop to locations far from bright stars.

Many thanks for the heads up Darren.

Mike

Skywatcher 120 mm ED on a CG5 mount.
Orion UK 300mm Dobsonian
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6 months 4 weeks ago - 6 months 4 weeks ago #111934 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Astrohopper
Hi Mike, 

Great to hear from you and very many thanks for your detailed post. Also, apologies for not replying sooner - we were away for the past few days.

I was delighted to read that Astrohopper worked for you. I am now super keen to try it out if and when I upgrade my phone as the sensors in my existing one aren't great.

In terms of holding the phone in place, I read that phone cases/covers are an excellent way to hold it in place, but people warn against using a magnet to attach the case to the tube as it can cause issues with the phone sensors. Instead those velcro things that can hold pictures up on a wall are meant to do the job. That being said, it sounds like your solution worked nicely!

Interesting you mentioned about inclinometer as I picked-up a digital one in Lidl last week. I plan to print out one of the setting circles templates that can be found on Cloudy Nights to use in conjunction with it to locate objects.

When I get the Dob kitted out, I'll be sure to post some photos.

Until then, clear skies and thanks again for the update!

Darren. 
 
Last edit: 6 months 4 weeks ago by Until_then-Goodnight!.

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