Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:42 PM
Here is my first light report: after a couple weeks of record breaking rain here in Northern Colorado, we are starting to dry out and last night, 9/20, I had clear skies with a waning Gibbous, 99%, but that was obscured, for the most part, by trees. But my reaction: FANTASTIC !! I just plunked down my 8SE in the driveway, no leveling (though it is pretty level) and started the initial procedure, then the centering procedure, turned it off as instructed, and did the initial procedure again, which is really no procedure at all. Turn it on and follow the simple instructions on the hand control. I did not copy down all the information displayed by the readout but found it interesting to watch the display as it moved through acquiring image, solving, etc. and providing a readout of the results. I also did not time it but it could not have been more than the 3 minutes reported by others for it to do its thing. Alignment successful ! Let's get to stargazing !! The first test: Arcturus, since I, a true amateur, don't know many star names, especially when in a red/ orange zone with a full moon out. The only things I could see were very bright stars, yet the SS reported solving 100 stars per capture.
Back to the test. Arcturus. Bang on !! OK, I am cautiously starting to feel good. Popped around to several double stars, though most could not be resolved in my Celestron 40mm eyepiece or my Orion 20mm centeriing eyepiece, which I had used for the centering procedure. So we tried M2. Bang on. M15. Bang on. Let's try the Ring Nebula. Badda bing, badda boom. There it is. I had not seen that in a long time. We tried some other DSOs but realized we couldn't see them as the moon was rising and, of course, my scope was dewing up pretty bad (remember all that rain !!). So we called it a night pretty early. But if I can do this repeatedly, it is some of the best astro money I've ever spent.
As I said, I am an eternal amateur. I have wanted to view things like the Ring and show it to family and friends, and at outreach events, for a long, long time. I get frustrated with too much fussing and fighting to get where I want to be. Others like the search process, the pouring over star charts, the star hopping. I simply want to see the darned things. I certainly do not begrudge the dedicated. Admiration is much more descriptive. You guys ROCK. But at my age, with grandchildren growing up, I want to be able to show them the stars. I want to be able to go to the astronomy club events and feel like more than dead weight at the end of Dobsonian row. I think this Starsense accessory might get me there and I'm happy to spend the money on the device if it gets me to that goal. Just my $.02.
Oh and my brother hooked his netbook into the mix and that worked well too. No issues. Go to with the netbook, go to with the hand control. Seemed to work just fine. I think this is just astonishing technology. A small device that mounts on my OTA so easily, with a hand control that guides me through a quick and easy setup and gives these results: priceless !
Sorry to hear others' experiences are not as positive, but I am a happy camper/ backyard astronomer.
Hope this is helpful to some. ;-)