Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 68

S&T Test Report
You can display objects in your star-hop
as icons, or, with an internet connection,
download Digitized Sky Survey images of the
chosen targets.
Even easier is to select objects on the
main screen by pressing the ALT key
and dragging a box around a target with
your mouse. A small window then opens
where you click Select All, and then you
hold the Ctrl key and your left mouse
button to drag the contents of the small
selection into the Creator window.
When it's observing time, choose
Star-Hop > Run Star-Hop in the dropdown
menu to retrieve your tour. The
Star-Hop Runner window opens where
you search for your custom hops by
season and constellation. The main
screen then displays each of your tour's
stops in a numbered circle with a bold
line leading from object to object. Clicking
a photo in the window centers that
target on the chart (and sends a paired
Go To telescope to it). You can also add
more destinations to the star-hop from
the main screen the same way you add
targets in a blind star-hop. All that's left
to do is to activate night mode in the
Preferences menu and use the chart to
hop from deep-sky wonder to deep-sky
wonder out at the telescope. Upload your
tour lists to your Android smartphone
running the free app Star-Hop Maker
Companion via Google Drive to access
additional information and photos of
your targets on your smart device.
Additional Features
This is just a sampling of the many
features Star-Hop Maker offers. It can
apprise you of nightly events like when
major objects rise and set and also
includes a section to record your observations.
Another interesting feature in
the program is the Event Visualization
tool found at Astronomy Tools > Event
Visualization. This tool lets you visualize
when your star-hop targets are best
positioned for observing in the evening
and is especially helpful when creating
extensive tours.
In the course of learning to operate
the software, I had to do a considerable
amount of figuring out. In addition to
telescope control, some other important
68 JANUARY 2022 * SKY & TELESCOPE
pEach stop on your star-hop appears circled and numbered on the main star chart, with a bold
line connecting each step labeled with the precise distance between each field.
things aren't discussed in the documentation.
For example, minimizing
the Runner window to get it out of the
way of the star chart doesn't use typical
Windows controls. It took a while
before I noticed two small down arrows
in the window that did the job.
There are a few program improvements
and additions I'd like to see.
Some type of visual feedback after a
button is pressed would be helpful.
When choosing Apply in a window, I
wasn't always sure my selection had
registered. And some of the names of
commands and the windows they open
are titled inconsistently. Finally, the
program doesn't provide a method of
printing the actual chart - File > Print
Star-Hops only prints out the targets as
a list, rather than the sky map tour you
spent so much time creating. And while
it includes a night mode, I'd still like to
be able to print star-hops for use in the
field without a computer.
Despite these quibbles, Star-Hop
Maker is quite impressive. Plotting
star-hops is something that no other
astronomy software has done before that
I'm aware of. If this sounds interesting,
begin planning an itinerary of your own
with Star-Hop Maker and spend an evening
touring the deep and starry sky.
¢ Contributing Editor ROD MOLLISE still
enjoys star-hopping from target to target
in his backyard in Mobile, Alabama.

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
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA1
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