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Equatorial Mounts - Manual?

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#26 Charlie Hein

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 05:15 PM

does the SVP have a polar alignment scope?

-drl


It's an option, not stock.

#27 dpastern

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 05:26 PM

Well, good luck Dan.

Dave

#28 Scott99

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:08 AM

talk about one eyed facts. True, it takes a few minutes to align and setup a GOTO mount, but once it's done, you're generally going to be a LOT quicker at finding things than with a manual setup.

Do some of you guys simply eschew automated functionality simply because you're backwards and old fashioned I wonder?

Having GOTO is especially nice with fainter, hard to see objects. And if the OP wants to get into astro imaging later on down the track, GOTO is a boon as well.

Bashing something just because you want to be anachronistic isn't wise imho.

Dave



me too! My equatorial mount is always in "manual" mode.

By the time others are done aligning their GOTO mounts I"ve already viewed several DSOs.


Hmmm, bashing? Just trying to respond to the poster's question - perhaps the feeble dependence on technology makes people a little defensive?

GOTO to me is like asking a guy leaving on a 2 week hunting trip why he can't just go down to Safeway instead? They have nice steaks, all packaged and ready to go?

Another friend of mine has compared GOTO to being like sex without any foreplay!

Bottom line - I can use my Mach1 to point to any object I want, or I can use my alt-az mount and little Sky & Tel atlas to find them in seconds. GOTO folk can only do one of those things; I can see how you wouldn't be able to understand.

I've seen friends who are veteran observers fuss with goto setup as I bag ten H400 objects, it happens all the time. and it doesn't stop when setup is complete.

I can site along the edge of my refractor tube within a 1 degree accuracy, and my 35mm Panoptic has a 2.7 degree FOV. Often I can have an object in my ep while the GOTO mount next to me is still slewing.

Recently I read a column by a guy in Astronomy magazine who said he can point his dob at any of the 50 brightest planetaries instantly, by memory. I don't think he needs GOTO either.

#29 dpastern

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:25 PM

So, you're implying that GOTO is a waste of time by your post it seems. I mean, why use GOTO when you can do it manually, so much quicker (please note sarcasm in my tone). Sorry, but you ain't everyone. You're one person. If non GOTO floats your boat, fine, but to carry on and act like manual mounts are the ONLY way to go, which is what it seems many in this thread have done, is ridiculous. It's a tool, use it. That's my motto. Eschewing modern technology just to make a point of "look at me, I'm good" is rather egotistical imho, aka as a pi$$ing contest in Aussie land. I won't say what most Aussies think of those types of people.

Dave

#30 dan533

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 10:30 PM

drl

C Hein is correct in that it is an option which I did not realize at the time. So no polar alignment scope.

Your post makes it sound real simple, which I appreciate. I will give it a try next time I am out and post my results.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

#31 deSitter

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:07 AM

So, you're implying that GOTO is a waste of time by your post it seems. I mean, why use GOTO when you can do it manually, so much quicker (please note sarcasm in my tone). Sorry, but you ain't everyone. You're one person. If non GOTO floats your boat, fine, but to carry on and act like manual mounts are the ONLY way to go, which is what it seems many in this thread have done, is ridiculous. It's a tool, use it. That's my motto. Eschewing modern technology just to make a point of "look at me, I'm good" is rather egotistical imho, aka as a pi$$ing contest in Aussie land. I won't say what most Aussies think of those types of people.

Dave


The sky has a different expression to us - it means less to understand its ins and outs to the gear-head and the simple photographer. It's not something you just look at, but come to know, like a lake or a mountain that you visit a lot. You might understand some day if you keep at it long enough. And that's what this American thinks, cobber.

-drl

#32 Antenox

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:42 AM

I could go on and on...and on. Deliberately not taking advantage of technology that makes life easier as a user is just silly and being old fashioned.

GOTO mounts have made it a lot easier for people to get into astronomy, and that is a *good* thing. I guarantee you that if we all reverted back to your old fasioned way of thinking, the number of people getting into astronomy, and astro imaging, would be tiny by current numbers.

This isn't intended as a personal attack Luigi, I'm trying to use some solid examples of ordinary technology that we mostly take for granted, and use, instead of doing things the "old" way.

All of the examples you just gave are worthless and irrelevant because none of the "outdated" options you sarcastically deride (except possibly the cooking one) actually teaches a useful fundamental skill. Using a turntable doesn't teach you to listen to music any better, driving a horse and cart doesn't teach you how to get to a destination any faster, boiling bathwater over an open fire doesn't get you any cleaner, and using non-voicemail home phones doesn't let you communicate any better. On the other hand, learning how to use a manual equatorial mount with no GoTo WILL make you a better astronomer, even if (when?) you eventually step up to GoTo.

I was actually in the exact same position as dan533 a week ago. I faced a choice between a good (but expensive) GoTo altaz-mounted scope or a much cheaper but equally good (in terms of optics) manual equatorial scope for my first scope, and I don't regret one bit choosing the latter. Not only did I save a buttload of money (which I wouldn't mind losing if I didn't like the hobby, and which I could use to upgrade my scope, which I did), but within the first hour of taking it out for the first time, I began to understand just how easy an equatorial scope is to use and find things with, and just how little GoTo really adds for someone who is into astronomy for more than just good views.

Technology exists to supplement fundamental skills, not replace them, and stellar navigation is a fundamental astronomy skill, one which a person is less likely to learn if given a GoTo scope. GoTo is good to whet people's appetites for astronomy when it's their first time looking through a scope (e.g. if you have casual friends who have no interest in astronomy, but who do enjoy the views), and it's good for more advanced astronomy (like astrophotography) or for occasions when you just want to look up at something and not bother with the numbers, but for someone who is looking to get into astronomy as a long-term hobby, I think learning manual navigation of the skies (whether equatorial or altaz) is still an essential first step now as it was 500 years ago.

As dan533 said, would you first teach a child how to perform basic arithmetic manually or on a calculator?

#33 will w

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:56 PM

MY,MY, folks aint we having fun here ? 8 ball says different stroks fer different folks. ifen you dont like one gets the other. lookin is whats counts.

#34 AV in CMH

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:22 PM

Could DSC, Digital Setting Circles, for this mount be a compromise?

#35 oceanabby

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:32 AM

Am I right in the understanding that a typical goto mount can *only* be used with power? For example, can mounts like the SkyView Pro EQ with goto, LXD75, a Skywatcher EQ with goto, or the Vixen GP2 with Starbook still have a clutch thrown and manual slow motion knobs used for an observing session without power?

From a cursory examination of photos of these mounts, it looks like once goto has been added, the slow motion knobs and clutches come off, but I can't really tell.

#36 hudson_yak

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:23 PM

You can release the axis locks and point the OTA by hand. You won't get any slow-mo controls or tracking. Typically the motion when pushing is not as stiction-free as a mount meant to be pushed without slow-mo controls (eg. Losmandy or several alt-az mounts) so using these types this way is not particularly rewarding.

Mike

#37 dmilone

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:48 PM

Hi
I hope I’m not too late to respond here.
I also own a SVP mount. I tend to do more star-hopping with it. Its setting circles are a little confusing and not the most accurate, but not impossible. An EQ mount can feel a bit strange at first, but you’ll get used to it.
After you’re all set up and aligned with the N. star, you must calibrate the setting circles. I hope you manage to get a polar alignment scope. That helps a lot.
The RA circle has 2 sets of numbers. You want to use the lower set of numbers, towards the back of the mount since you are observing from the Northern hemisphere. Each line between the numbers represents 10 min. For the DEC circle, each line is 2 deg of arc.
Find a bright star, preferably as close to the celestial equator as possible, and point the telescope at it. Altair for example is a good one at this time of year. Center it as best as you can in the eyepiece. Use something like a 10mm or even 5mm eyepiece. Now turn the RA circle to the RA coordinate of Altair. Turn the DEC circle to the DEC coordinate of Altair. Be careful not to confuse positive with negative DEC. This can be tricky. Switch to a wider eyepiece, maybe a 25mm. Now you can release the lock knobs and move the telescope to the coordinates of the object you wish to view. Look in the eyepiece to see if it’s there. Center it. Switch to whatever eyepiece you prefer, and enjoy.
Make sure the coordinates on the circles still match the object you’re viewing, adjust if necessary, before moving to your next target.
I hope that helps you a little.
David

#38 dan533

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 06:28 AM

Thanks David for your input. I hope to get out tonight and try these suggestions out. I will update all on my progress.

#39 dmilone

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:11 PM

If you're still having trouble, seek out your local astronomy club. Take your scope / mount with you to one of their events. There should be someone there who will be able to help you one on one. (I know that I need to do the same thing for myself.)

#40 Charlie Hein

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:11 AM

MY,MY, folks aint we having fun here ? 8 ball says different stroks fer different folks. ifen you dont like one gets the other. lookin is whats counts.


Caveat: If the shoe fits here, wear it.

IMO the real issue here isn't so much the difference in opinion as much as how it's being discussed. Here are a few examples of incendiary turns of phrase actually used in this thread:

...silly and being old fashioned.

...you're backwards and old fashioned...

...feeble dependence on technology...


These are not the only examples and may not even be the worst examples of what I'm talking about - but they are sufficient to make the point. IMO, these types of discussions are most likely to turn sour when folks start berating the other person's opinion - and they almost always get sideways when folks start personalizing it. The reason is simple - it's disrespectful, and folks naturally get angry and defensive when they are not treated with respect.

I've let it go so far because it hasn't overtly boiled over yet but please let's tone it down, okay?

#41 will w

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:53 PM

WOW, maybe i shouldnt have said anything at all. maybe what i said was taken the wrong way. since i got in the quote part. clr skys

#42 Charlie Hein

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:47 PM

No, will - you just prompted me to say something because you noticed it and commented on it. You've done nothing wrong.

#43 dmilone

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:38 PM

Hi Charlie

#44 will w

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:15 PM

OK CHARLIE, clr skys to you will w

#45 dan533

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:41 PM

Ok everyone, I made it out tonight before the clouds made it in. I aligned with Polaris and swung to the south (Vega was buried in clouds) and found a bright star to align with and set the RA and Dec. After this I tried to hit Casseopeia. If I didn't have a 90, I would have been peering through the legs of the tripod. So I failed in getting this set correctly.

In aligning on Polaris without a polar scope, I tried my best to center it within the scope mounting hole. By this Thursday, that hole will be holding a polar scope. I know this will help in getting closer to the objects, but if I am resting my cheek against the tripod I am in deeper trouble than I thought.

I may have swapped the upper and lower numbers of RA when I set up the southern star, and switched back again going back north. The other question is how do I determine what is postive or negative on Dec?

Maybe I need to resign myself to star hopping and be done with it til I get a goto system, or scrap the mount and get an altaz. Either way the frustration point has been found.

#46 Charlie Hein

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:05 PM

Hi Charlie


Hi David! Sorry for the short reply, gotta load up and meet they guys out at Harold Campbell...

#47 Charlie Hein

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:06 PM

Ok everyone, I made it out tonight before the clouds made it in. I aligned with Polaris and swung to the south (Vega was buried in clouds) and found a bright star to align with and set the RA and Dec. After this I tried to hit Casseopeia. If I didn't have a 90, I would have been peering through the legs of the tripod. So I failed in getting this set correctly.

In aligning on Polaris without a polar scope, I tried my best to center it within the scope mounting hole. By this Thursday, that hole will be holding a polar scope. I know this will help in getting closer to the objects, but if I am resting my cheek against the tripod I am in deeper trouble than I thought.

I may have swapped the upper and lower numbers of RA when I set up the southern star, and switched back again going back north. The other question is how do I determine what is postive or negative on Dec?

Maybe I need to resign myself to star hopping and be done with it til I get a goto system, or scrap the mount and get an altaz. Either way the frustration point has been found.



Sorry to hear it Dan...

#48 guyroch

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:24 PM

Oh, my God man, rejoice in your mistake. You have blundered into an intelligent, excellent set up.


I agree! What an awesome first telescope!

Not only can you track (meaning your mount can compensate for the earth rotation) but is also comes with Periodic Error Correction (PEC). With PEC you can train your mount to fix any periodic error your mount's worm gear have - inherent to all worm gear. BUT you only need PEC if you want to jump into astrophotography, otherwise completely ignore this feature.

With tracking alone, after a reasonable polar alignment of your mount, you will enjoy looking at different objects for extended period of time without having it move out of view because of the earth rotation.

Finding object, like nebulas, galaxies, etc might be a challenge however given that you don't have a goto system. A good star atlas will help. BUT FIRST, I would recommend that you buy yourself a good pair of binoculars and simply learn your way around the night sky. Learning and identifying the constellations is a must without a goto system. Believe me, learn your way around the sky first… and be patient.

I find that backyard astronomy is much like golfing in that you are in competition with yourself. Always trying to outdo yourself from your previous observing session.

Oh... and by the way... there is no cure for the astronomy disease, you are hooked for life... as we all are... but it's an awesome disease to have.

#49 dmilone

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 08:10 PM

Dan,
Sorry to hear of your bad luck. I’m still learning and get discouraged too sometimes. Everybody’s case is different. Maybe in your case the GOTO upgrade would be the way to go, if you can afford it. There are, after all, many different paths to knowledge. You do what works for you. If you decide on that, you will also need to get a 12v power supply. “Digital Setting Circles” might also be another option. In the mean time you can still look at Jupiter, you’ll have some decent views of the moon by the end of next week, and there are quite a few things that aren’t too hard to find by star-hopping. Star-hopping can actually be enjoyable.

David

#50 dpastern

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 03:35 AM

No, will - you just prompted me to say something because you noticed it and commented on it. You've done nothing wrong.


Anyways, I have no further need of this forum, I've had my right of reply and can now bid you good riddance.

Dave






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