How do I find my star in the night sky using a telescope?
Find your star with a telescope
“And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night...”

 

- The Little Prince

 

Finally you have your own star in the night sky. Now you want to find it with the help of a telescope? It’s easy, but there are a few points to keep in mind. In the following, we explain what could influence the search for your star and how you can finally find it with a telescope.

Movements in the starry sky

When observing the starry sky, you can realize movements in the course of a night and also from night to night or in the course of a year. One of the reasons for this is the rotation of the earth around its own axis, a movement like a gyroscope. All stars rise in the east and sink again in the west.

Rapid movements are expressed partly by artificial satellites, which are illuminated by sunlight at dusk, but also naturally in the form of shooting stars. The glow of a shooting star is caused by the burning meteors as small dust particles in the atmosphere.

In addition, the moon moves against the background of the fixed stars, which means that it can temporarily cover different stars or planets. The so-called self-movements of the stars are very small. Stars rotate around the center of the Milky Way, but since they are several light-years away from Earth, this minimal movement was not discovered for a long time. Based on this, the term “fixed star” was created.

Special feature: Bipolar currents

A bipolar current of a star describes the loss of material in two opposite directions. This special phenomenon leads to the fact that a single star can be perceived as several stars.

In search

A great experience is the discovery of your own star in the night sky. As an amateur astronomer, this is not always easy, so here are a few aspects to help you find your star.

The Telescope

How does a telescope actually work? Telescopes collect and bundle the electromagnetic radiation of very distant objects, making them visible to us. There are different types of telescopes: gamma telescopes, X-ray telescopes, optical telescopes, infrared telescopes, and radio telescopes.

Use of the Telescope

Before you test your telescope in the dark, you should familiarize yourself with the individual components and applications in daylight so that you can easily align and focus the telescope later. In particular, the different magnifications should be tried out in order to be able to change the settings at night.

On the side of the large telescope, you will usually find a small search telescope, also known as a viewfinder. The view through the main telescope shows you a very large section of the sky. The viewfinder, on the other hand, makes it possible to discover and focus on small stars or constellations. If this section is positioned in the middle of the crosshairs of the viewfinder, you can observe it in the upper part of the field of vision by the main telescope.

This is best done in daylight by focusing on an object about 20-30 meters away. You can slowly change the direction of the search using the screws until the object you have selected can be seen perfectly through the telescope.

As far as the image is concerned, you will notice in daylight that your chosen object, e.g. a house or a tree, is upside down. This happens with all astronomical telescopes, as the orientation of the field of view is irrelevant when observing the sky. Additional optical components would not only increase the cost of the telescope but would also worsen the image quality.

There are two possibilities for the positioning and alignment of the telescope: the equatorial mount, where the axes move along the celestial coordinates, and the azimuthal mount, where the axes move vertically and horizontally to the horizon.

When observing, it is extremely important that you constantly adjust the acuity of the image. This means using the focus to play with the focus setting. Both eyes should be left open, but you can also cover the unused eye with your hand or an eye patch.

To find your own star, you can use the Starfinder software to find the coordinates of the star for a specific time. In this way, the search with the telescope is limited to a smaller area.

Have fun on your telescopic voyage of discovery in the night sky!

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