A question about GO-TO mounts
Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:43 AM
Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:28 PM
Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:26 PM
Sure I *could* walk or ride a horse from San Francisco to New York City, but why would I do so if I could save time and increase comfort by driving or flying? I also buy my eggs at the supermarket rather than raise my own chickens and I light my house with electric lights rather than tallow candles.
I think GOTO represents progress. You spend more time observing and less time hunting when using GOTO. This is especially so if you are a suburban astronomer whose hops may be big ones due to inability to see dimmer stars in a finder.
GOTO mounts are incredibly easy to set up and use once you've done it a time or two. I can typically set up, level, balance and align within 10 to 12 minutes. So long as all you want is to have your target in the FOV of a medium power eyepiece, leveling isn't uber critical. I find the bubble level on most mounts is sufficient for this degree of accuracy. Likewise, for visual observing I think polar scopes are not needed. Centering Polaris in the polar bore hole (or even in the empty tube rings) is good enough to deliver the level of accuracy described above.
I see perhaps 50% more targets in a given period of time when I use GOTO rather than star hop. More if the targets are faint, challenging or part of congested areas. When GOTO was new, it was expensive. That was a reason to not bother with it. Now that decent GOTO mounts are affordable, I think you do yourself a disservice by not using the technology.
How many star hopping purists use only their naked eyes? Ramsden or Hyugenian eyepieces? Long focus achromats exclusively? Apologizing for using GOTO is like apologizing for wearing Levis rather than bear skins in my book.
Posted 27 February 2009 - 12:21 AM
.... I think GOTO represents progress. You spend more time observing and less time hunting when using GOTO. This is especially so if you are a suburban astronomer whose hops may be big ones due to inability to see dimmer stars in a finder......
I couldn't agree more. Remounting my old C8 on a GOTO mount has revitalized the hobby for me.
No matter how you get there, looking up at those shiny sparkely things is what it is all about.
Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:28 PM
You dont HAVE to do anything. You can power off disenguage the clutches and star hop to your hearts content - but it'd be a huge waste of money, and you may tire of playing the part of motors and electricity and clutches.
But if you want to use a goto mount as a goto mount you'll have to put up with some form of alignment - but heck you had to do that with clock drives too... I think Meade and Celestron can't make many more types of align available... solar system, one star, two star, yada yada... or make them much easier... it's a cakewalk and the simplest can be done in a few minutes. It's not like it's really difficult to do. I've never had a night viewing ruined by needing an alignment.
If you go the GPS route - depending on just how far that front yard to back yard trip is... it'll compensate and give you exactness in time/space that is crazy. And you never have to worry about time / space as long as those satellites are up.
On a sepirate tack - I think with goto you'll get more familiar with the heavens much faster, especially as your sky and telescope will greatly limit what you can actually see~ and you'll probably want to see those things you can over and over... of course this familiarity will breed contempt for smaller apeture and lp'd skies... and those marketers ad's that show they veil larger than a bread loaf in 8" inexpensive SCT's... etc...
I know there's a certain astronomer macho or cache' attached to star hopping that I do not share or care for, as one that's been there and done that, I appreciate "goto" as I do many modern things like the web, computers, af 35mm cameras, maps, clocks, watches, recorded music... teleporters, mag-lev's, planoformers and chronoplasts, etc. etc..
[EDIT - and yes, park=hybernate in the Celestron world and you'll ned to keep power attached though not turned on in the mounts I've used...]
Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:02 PM
Thanks, couldnt agree more.