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goto telescope bad for a beginner ?

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#26 Eric63

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

I try to get the best of both worlds with my SW AZ4. The smooth az mount is perfect for hunting (which I love), and if I get frustrated or don't feel like spending too much time, I use the setting circles on the mount and my Ipod App. Works great all the time, even in light pollution.

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#27 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

I say go for it. With a GoTo Dob you get the best of both worlds. You can learn to manually star hop, and when the kiddies gather round you can punch some buttons and give them a tour.

FWIW, I'm looking for a nice DOB to go with my 2080 SCT.

#28 NeilMac

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

I have the XT8i and have never used the intele part of the scope yet, dont miss it since haven't used it and Im limited to whats bright at the time. Once I actually have clear skies and can line up the scope then I'l get to use it.
Whats bright are worthy of looking at is always posted here so one does not realy need to have some electronic gadget to show you whats what, I could have saved $200 and got some EP's
:)

#29 Maverick199

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

If you even start thinking the goTo will be bad for a beginner, then you are already resigned to the fact it will be bad for star hopping.

I started star hopping due to extremely bad light pollution at my place before I went goTo. During that time, with help from my kids, when we discovered galaxies or nebula, the feeling was great. Same can't be said about goTo's. But if you are inclined to learn, then even goTo can be useful.

#30 csrlice12

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

A 10XTG for $465? If its in good shape--go for it. Yes, its heavier, and takes longer to set up, and needs power, and is a little stiff if you "go manual"....but you're getting GoTo and tracking with a 10" Dob!!!!!! The XTg does weigh quite a bit more then the XTi....but the views in that 10" are fantastic. That's actually a great price as long as it's in good shape...

#31 jgraham

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

This is a learning process and there is no right way or wrong way. This can be just another tool in your toolbox, and a fun one at that. Having one will not prevent you from exploring other observing methods and it will help you find things easily.

Enjoy.

#32 frito

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

If the scope is in good condition its a steal at that price. as Jon said last page one thing to consider is this scope has electroncis and moving parts and if they break you will probably have a hard time getting replacements from Orion because you did not buy it from them. with Orion's normal and even push to dobs this isn't a huge factor because you don't need to get any parts from them generally speaking, they are just basic dobs. if this goto dob's tracking system breaks you're going to have to do some modifications to get it moving smoothly like a manual dob should on its own but its not impossible to convert it in the event that does happen.

on the point about goto and newbies. well its to each his own in this regard. i personally am very glad i went the manual dob route because its forced me to learn the night sky and with the help for sky safari for my mapping needs on my tablet i've found that while a goto or push to setup would be neat to have i don't have any real desire for it. if you fix up the bearings on manual dobs and get wide field high mag eyepieces even tracking planets manually becomes an easy task.

now you said you have had an alt az refractor for awhile now. as long as your confident that you can do the alignment procedure and you know its what you want then go get it. for brand new folks i never want to recommend EQ mounted scopes goto or not. at least with a goto dob you don't have to mess with setting up a tripod and mount and then polar aligning it. just last night we had a new guy out at a dark site with us. pretty much everyone but myself and this guy were out there doing imaging. he was lost and in the dark trying to setup his Sirius EQ-G mount and refactor for like a long time. Ed one of our main guys in the club who does imaging a lot had to spend a bunch of time basically setting it up for him. even once he was down to the star alignments he had trouble because he had no idea where the stars named in the controller were in the sky. meanwhile i brought not one but two dobs out a 12" Lightbridge and my XT10 i setup and was observing in 15 min and packed up in the same amount of time. meanwhile he took hours to setup and still longer than me to tear down.

i see this fairly often with new people who buy nice goto scopes and every time i just think to myself if i had to go through that kind of setup every time i wanted to get some observing in i think i would be more reluctant to actually do it and what is often said that is the absolute truth buy what you know you will get out and use the most often.

#33 CJK

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

FWIW, I was able to polar align my daughter's Sirius EQ-G mount the last two nights in about 10 minutes. (I've never had a GEM mount, and I've not had a telescope at all for more than 35 years.) And this was in a much less than optimal location (front porch of my house, with limited views in most directions and significant LP).

The keys for me were reading the manual quite thoroughly and practicing with the controller in the bright, warm living room and having Sky Safari running on my iPad so I could figure out where the named stars the hand controller was suggesting were located. It also helped to do the alignment just after sunset, when basically only the brightest stars were visible -- it made it easier to pick them out.

-- Chris

#34 frito

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:31 PM

FWIW, I was able to polar align my daughter's Sirius EQ-G mount the last two nights in about 10 minutes. (I've never had a GEM mount, and I've not had a telescope at all for more than 35 years.) And this was in a much less than optimal location (front porch of my house, with limited views in most directions and significant LP).

The keys for me were reading the manual quite thoroughly and practicing with the controller in the bright, warm living room and having Sky Safari running on my iPad so I could figure out where the named stars the hand controller was suggesting were located. It also helped to do the alignment just after sunset, when basically only the brightest stars were visible -- it made it easier to pick them out.

-- Chris


i have no doubt that with use and practice you get good at it. setup still takes anywhere from 3-6 times longer than a manual dob. the hardest part of setting up a manual dob is carrying it :) the goto dob would be easier than a goto EQ mount no doubt about it but one still has to go through the star alignments. just making sure the OP know what he will have to do to use this scope.

my point is however that you have to setup most goto scopes. some folks struggle with this more than others. i know personally even though i have never setup a goto scope ever before i'm pretty sure i can get it done with relative ease once i figure out how to assemble the mount but i'm seasoned enough that i can pick out bright guide stars and find polaris without even needing a map or sky safari to help me.

#35 CJK

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

i have no doubt that with use and practice you get good at it.



I probably should have made it clear that those were the first two times I've ever aligned a scope. Not bragging, just don't want the OP to think it's impossible for a newbie, because I am DEFINITELY a newbie! :grin:

setup still takes anywhere from 3-6 times longer than a manual dob. the hardest part of setting up a manual dob is carrying it the goto dob would be easier than a goto EQ mount no doubt about it but one still has to go through the star alignments. just making sure the OP know what he will have to do to use this scope.


I can't imagine anything being easier to set up (other than carrying it, as you say) than a manual Dob! And I completely agree that it's probably the best type of mount for someone who (a) doesn't want to spend a lot on a mount and/or (B) wants to get out and start observing with a minimum of fuss.

That said, I was prepared to deal with a little more fuss and time in setting up my daughter's scope because I wanted the pluses I could only get with a computerized GEM.

-- Chris

#36 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Over years, I have literal bought 100s of telescopes. I have gotten some amazing deals, I have gotten stung a few times and I have avoided some misrespresented scopes. Buying used telescopes takes experience. This is what I see:

This is a $1300 telescope that should essentially new. For someone to offer it for $465 is very suspicious. In my mind, if it were in good operating condition, it should bring around $1000. The fact that some one is willing to offer it to you for $465 suggest to me that there is something wrong with that cannot be repaired.

Certainly a working 10 inch goto Dob for under $500 would be a great deal but I wouldn't touch this scope unless I could see it in person and test it. It just seems too good to be true. If you were to buy the scope and it did not work, you would be stuck.

You get the scope in the boxes... It doesn't work when you try it out and the seller either disappears or claims that it did work...

Jon

#37 panhard

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

If you even start thinking the goTo will be bad for a beginner, then you are already resigned to the fact it will be bad for star hopping.

I started star hopping due to extremely bad light pollution at my place before I went goTo. During that time, with help from my kids, when we discovered galaxies or nebula, the feeling was great. Same can't be said about goTo's. But if you are inclined to learn, then even goTo can be useful.

+1

#38 Napersky

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

I had a Goto Meade ETX80. I couldn't get it to align and find the right object. I was at a Dark Sky party and even inputed my new location zip code..no luck.

Someone with experience thought I should change the batteries perhaps they were low on juice.

I tried to change the batteries when I got home and couldn't remove the internal plastic battery holder. It broke inside the scope cavity.

so Goto is now NOGO.

:(

#39 Napersky

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:22 PM

One of our best observers at the Chicago Astronomical Society cut his teeth on the Meade LX90 8" GoTo. He loved it and still uses it although he often uses a classic C8 and 10 inch Dob. He teaches classes on Whats in the Night Sky.

#40 sg6

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

No poblems with goto get whatever and take a look. If it bothers you then just use the handset to drive the scope and line things up through the finder.

Goto's tend to be a bit more sociable, they track so someone else can take a look and it is still there.

I tend to look upon it that the ones on Hawaii, in Chile, on the canary's etc are all goto's, so why not me.

The idea that you will not learn is crazy. You will still need some idea of what to ask it to goto and finding that out will give you an idea of where it is. The scope will hopefully confirm it. Mine managed to confirm a couple of times that I didn't know what I was doing. :lol:

Worst thing about a goto is that you need power for it. Them damn handsets and motors don't do too well without electricity. :foreheadslap:

Oh yes, practise the alignment a couple of times. read the instructions and have all the data required. I have seen/read of some horrendous errors in this area. :question:

#41 wky46

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

Worst thing about a goto is that you need power for it. Them damn handsets and motors don't do too well without electricity. :foreheadslap:

I don't have GOTO but without power to run the corrector and EP dew strips my telescope is as 'useless as teets on a boar hog' :FarmerRon:

#42 TexasRed

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

I start most sessions by aligning my GoTo and then just pushing the scope to a few familiar, favorite targets myself and letting the auto-tracking take over. I've never had a standard Dob, so I never realized mine was stiff or moved poorly. After reading Jon's comments and thinking about them, I suppose he's right about it not being as smooth as it could be, but that's never bothered me.

As the evening progresses and I start searching for new targets, I can use the GoTo for help, if I don't find one right away. Then I take another look at the surrounding area and make a mental note of how to find that target again if/when the GoTo breaks down. I'm still learning where things are, but I'm spending less time lost and frustrated.

Finally, the automatic tracking lets me spend all the time I want trying out different combinations of eyepieces and filters looking for the best view without losing the target and repeating the search. I love the "g" series scopes.

#43 butsam

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:29 AM

I wouldn't have the quality of scope that I do if it didn't have GoTo. This was a huge plus -- I could get more aperture without getting lost in the light-polluted skies (since FOV goes down when magnification goes up...which generally means FOV goes down with larger aperture, for the same EP), and the young kids won't get bored as easily. So, we saved up and jumped straight to 8".

There is still some minimal "star hopping" (others will kill me for using that term, I guess "star discernment" is more like it). For example, last night, I told the scope to go to Uranus. there were 3 star-like objects in the FOV, all roughly the same magnitude. One of them looked bluish, but I am blue-green color blind and therefore don't trust my gauge of blueness. The lowest-zoom eyepiece was in, of course, for the initial centering. It wasn't entirely obvious to me which one was Uranus at that low power, so I did need to consult the charts and figure out which one it was before centering it, and moving to higher power.

I'm not saying that is exactly the same, obviously -- star hopping is certainly a great skill to have -- but for someone with a 7-year-old kid out there in the light-polluted suburban skies, that is about what they have patience for, and once we moved to higher power, she got to see the disc-like extent of the planet and the definite blueness as a reward.

#44 dpwoos

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:43 AM

I can appreciate your situation and choice, even though it is not what I chose and what worked for my kids. Over and over I suggest to folks that they join their local astro club, where they can observe with others using goto, pushto, tracking, and totally manual and so discover for themselves what works for them. I think that many clubs have loaner scopes (ours has several), so folks can give observing a shot without having to spend anything at all! Really, what could be better?

#45 butsam

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:59 AM

Yes, that is the best advice, and how I ultimately settled on saving up for my scope -- by trying out several, and talking to people who had more experience than me about the pros versus cons of a wide variety of scopes. :) You are spot on -- that is the best advice!

#46 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:19 AM

I can appreciate your situation and choice, even though it is not what I chose and what worked for my kids. Over and over I suggest to folks that they join their local astro club, where they can observe with others using goto, pushto, tracking, and totally manual and so discover for themselves what works for them. I think that many clubs have loaner scopes (ours has several), so folks can give observing a shot without having to spend anything at all! Really, what could be better?


Dennis, I agree that getting some first hand experience is best and a good club can provide resources that and experiences that are truly of great value.

My concern with this thread is that it has two separate issues, the viability of GOTO for the beginner, it certainly is a viable option, and the viability of this particular XT-10 gg. As someone said in the reflector thread, if there was nothing wrong with this scope, the seller wouldn't have to ship it, people would be beating down the door at this price.

Jon

#47 BigC

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:51 AM

Sometimes no one in a seller's area is interested in an item and it goes begging;I have seen this in radios and cars too.

Sometimes the seller is "motivated" for quick sale due to family pressures or even spousal resentment.I have bought several very nice dobs from "motivated" sellers VERY reasonably and without haggling down the advertised price.

Checking any item out before purchasing is a good idea especially if there is no warranty or return offered.

#48 Achernar

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

GOTO telescopes are not "bad" for beginners any more than an outright manual telescope would be. You still need to learn your way around the sky, GOTO or not. You will also have to of course learn how to operate it, as well as troubleshoot when its pointing accuracy is off the mark. So yes, if you are asking if buying that telescope is a good move or not, I would say yes for that price if it's in good working order. Light pollution is getting worse, a lot worse because of LED lighting, population growth and more lighting being used outdoors at night. Therefore beginners need all the help they can get.

Taras

#49 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

Sometimes no one in a seller's area is interested in an item and it goes begging;I have seen this in radios and cars too.

Sometimes the seller is "motivated" for quick sale due to family pressures or even spousal resentment.I have bought several very nice dobs from "motivated" sellers VERY reasonably and without haggling down the advertised price.

Checking any item out before purchasing is a good idea especially if there is no warranty or return offered.


If one could inspect this scope, that would be a different situation. If one could buy parts to fix the scope, that would be a different situation.

The very low price plus the fact that seller apparently responded to a want ad with an offer to ship the scope is a red flag to this old bargain hunter.

Jon

#50 csrlice12

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

FWIW, I was able to polar align my daughter's Sirius EQ-G mount the last two nights in about 10 minutes. (I've never had a GEM mount, and I've not had a telescope at all for more than 35 years.) And this was in a much less than optimal location (front porch of my house, with limited views in most directions and significant LP).

The keys for me were reading the manual quite thoroughly and practicing with the controller in the bright, warm living room and having Sky Safari running on my iPad so I could figure out where the named stars the hand controller was suggesting were located. It also helped to do the alignment just after sunset, when basically only the brightest stars were visible -- it made it easier to pick them out.

-- Chris


Same here, first night with my 102XLT on the CG4. Couldn't polar alighn (haven't installed the polar scope yet), so North aligned using a compass and made sure it was level. Put on the scope, (marked already so I know it's balanced), loosen the clutches, and used Jupiter to fine-tune the finder scope (gotta replace that), and I was viewing from start to finish in about 15 minutes. Never used an EQ mount before in my life, but once I had Jupiter in the scope, all I had to turn was the RA knob to keep it in focus, so I must have been doing something right (yea, surprized me too)....but totally agree, taking the time to read the manual, asking questions here, and other research, sure helped to make it a LOT easier.






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