Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 67

ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
place to start is the Preferences menu
found in the menu at the left of the
screen. Clicking it opens a new window
allowing you to customize some
settings. First, scroll to the bottom and
activate Tool Tips - the program's windows
include numerous icons, many of
which are difficult to identify without
activating this important feature providing
additional information when you
hover your cursor over a button or other
icon. It's curious that this feature isn't
set to be on by default.
As with other planetarium-type software,
it's important to set the geographic
coordinates of your observing site. That's
done by selecting User > Location in the
dropdown menu and specifying your
observing site by either entering latitude
and longitude or zooming in and centering
the map on your location. While
this is explained in the instructions, it
doesn't appear until the last page. While
you're in the User section, you can also
add your equipment you'll be observing
with to better customize your maps.
Planning a Hopping Tour
Once you've input your information, it's
time to compose a star-hop. Star-Hop
Maker offers two types: " Prepared StarHops "
and " Blind Star-Hops. " I found
the terminology confusing but came
to understand a Prepared Star-Hop is
one created by searching the program's
database and selecting objects, while
you create a Blind Star-Hop by choosing
targets directly from the star chart.
I began by making a Prepared StarHop.
You access the Star-Hop Maker's
search engine by clicking Explore Database
on the left command bar in the
Events / Components tab. The Database
Search window opens with the program's
star and deep-sky catalogs. Users can add
anything from the NGC and IC catalogs
as well as the Messier and Herschel lists.
In addition, it includes extensive double
star and variable star listings. You can
even make a tour of specific types of
stars by spectral class, or double stars
within a specified separation range.
The Search Criteria section in the
left tab of the Database Search window
sets the object catalog, object type,
constellation(s), and magnitude range
to search. Clicking Find Stars & DSOs
at the bottom of the tab returns a list
of objects. As a test, I had the program
search for Messier globular star clusters
in Scorpius. On my computer, the
search took about 15 seconds to find
two clusters. Searches that produced a
larger number of objects took about the
same time, suggesting that my computer's
processing speed was the limiting
factor. In addition to the list, objects are
displayed as either icons or images (if
there is an Internet connection) at the
bottom of the window.
With the list on-screen, select StarHop
> Create Prepared Star-Hop in
the main window's toolbar. This opens
the Prepared Star-Hop window, where
I dragged my two globular clusters
from the search list into the Prepared
Star-Hop window. The two objects then
appear circled on the star chart. Since
this is creating a star-hop tour, I need to
assign a bright star as the starting point.
This is done by highlighting an object
in the prepared list, so I went back to
the Database Search page and clicked
the Single Stars button and searched the
constellation for bright stars. I dragged
my choice into the Prepared Star-Hop
Creator window. The last step is to highlight
the star listing and click the Set As
First Step button. Finally, click Save. The
sky map immediately circles the starting
point and destinations, and adds a bold
line connecting each stop in the same
order I chose them.
A Blind Star-Hop dispenses with the
database search engine. After choosing
Create Blind Star-Hop from the command
bar at left, select a star for the
starting point from the list that appears
in the window. To add objects, use
the Neighbors function in the Update
section of the window, and be sure to
increase the vertical slider value to its
right, which lists objects within 15° of
the chosen starting point. You can add
anything that appears in the listing at
the right side of the window to the hop.
sk yand tele scope .o r g * JANUARY 2022 67
https://skyandtelescope.org/

Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 5
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA1
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