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Finally Arrived and I am still impressed

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#1 turk123

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

My Super Polaris just arrived and I had a chance to set it up. I just love this mount. I recently hypertuned one for my brother in Texas and just feel in love with it again, so I bought one. They are built like a tank, once cleaned and the bearings polished and re-greased they are as smooth as silk. I bought one with an RA motor for tracking (that's all you need) and they will just run and run very accurately.

Getting the old china varnish out of them is the key. It will get the spa treatment and polishing and finish with super lube.

This one has a very nice set of setting circles. I believe I am finally going to learn how to use them. It actually might be easier than the computerized mounts? Any thoughts on where I start?

Turk

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#2 Dave M

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:17 PM

Nice! mount, Turk :waytogo:

#3 dgreyson

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:41 PM

Turk, the easiest way to describe it is to look at some of the many many setting circle how-to videos on you-tube. don't be put off by unduly negative views of the accuracy of small setting circles, use what you have. Nice set up.

#4 Grava T

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:29 AM

Tom, looking good. I hope you enjoy the mount as much as I did. I'm using a Great Polaris mount now and it is very similar but I sure do miss the wooden legs.

#5 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

Can't wait to hear how you progress with those setting circles. My club has a big scope in a dome, but has surrendered any fantasies of computerizing the mount to the trouble we had preserving the computers in the extreme cold. I'd been advocating for turning it old style, with just an RA drive and setting circles, even though I've never used setting circles! It just seems like such a simple, fool-proof mechanism, and can't be hard to use. Eager to hear a real-life case of the learning curve, and will begin playing with them on my mounts, too. Good luck!

#6 ColoHank

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Setting circles are what every major observatory in the world and every amateur except star-hoppers used until mounts were computerized. They're easy to use, and they're bombproof. On a bad day, it might take five minutes to learn how to use them.

#7 turk123

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:29 PM

I've watched a few videos and have come to the conclusion that the larger the circles, the more accurate they are. Small setting circles get you to 1 or 2 degrees of the target. 8" or larger work quite well. My Losmandy has quite large setting circles and probably has a good shot of getting you there. Computerized Gemini 2 for the Losmandy on a good day may not have that accuracy : (

#8 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

Setting circles are what every major observatory in the world and every amateur except star-hoppers used until mounts were computerized. They're easy to use, and they're bombproof. On a bad day, it might take five minutes to learn how to use them.


Our club has one member who can magically point a scope at anything, only occasionally referring to charts to refresh his memory. Watching him had me so in awe that I decided to be a manual guy, and not rely on computerized mounts. I want to be able to find things on my own, like him! To me, that's truly knowing the skies.

Anyway, our human Go-To's unusual skill traps him in the dome during star parties, because no one else can work the scope fast enough to wow the crowds. With setting circles, we could relieve him. Anyone could look up coordinates in SkySafari or similar software, or even a paper atlas (!), and push the tube to the object. This is a 16" Newt on an enormous German equatorial mount on a permanent pier, so there is plenty of room for tweaking large setting circles for extreme accuracy.

At home, I don't have a chunky uber-mount like the one shown in this thread, but I'm sure I could learn to use the setting circles on my C8, or even the 60mm Jason.

#9 kauzuak

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

The vixen SP manual has a nice example for m57 (or insert fav trgt here). I tried it one night for grins and was amazed at how accurate it was. The vernier scale on the SP is a really nice feature that didn't make it (properly) into the clones.

#10 Dan /schechter

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

Star hopping is a great way to learn the sky and is very satisfying when you find the object you are looking for. However, one needs to be able to see the stars for that method to work. The skies in Long Beach, California have become so light polluted, I had to get a GO TO mount to find the double stars I like to view. That said, it sure is a blast when you are set up in a dark sky.

My 2c's,
Dan

#11 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:38 PM

I just Googled the mount in this thread, and see I missed the point. This is a top-notch, fully manual mount, with big setting circles, but no Go-To. Astro-Physics used to bundle these with their scopes. Double congratulations! Great buy.

Would setting circles and star hopping ever be used together, or would the circles reliably pop the object into a low-power eyepiece every time?

#12 Larrythebrewer

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:12 PM

Would setting circles and star hopping ever be used together, or would the circles reliably pop the object into a low-power eyepiece every time?


Yes & no, with larger accurate setting circles you'll reliably pop the object into view, with smaller circles you'll get close but you'll need to star hop. Larger setting circles usually have more & finer "tick" marks for hours, minutes, degrees, seconds, which of course is going to improve your accuracy. That' been my experience

Larry

#13 bremms

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:12 PM

Joe, I've used both star hopping and circles together. I don't get time or can't see the the pole star from my back yard, so I get the scope close and star hop.

#14 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

Joe, I've used both star hopping and circles together. I don't get time or can't see the the pole star from my back yard, so I get the scope close and star hop.


If the clouds ever part, that's what I want to learn to do! I feel like I understand it, that it's simple in principle, but I expect there will be some surprises in the learning curve nonetheless. I like the idea of combining the mechanical with the cerebral-visual. Neat skill.

#15 ColoHank

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

The RA setting circle on my scope is six inches in diameter and is graduated in four-minute increments. If I carefully center Polaris (ditto for the other star I use to synch the RA circle with sidereal time) in the field of view when I polar align using a higher power eyepiece (a 12mm, for example), I can pretty consistently dial-in and locate targets using a 24mm eyepiece at a magnification of 54X. Even though Polaris is offset from the north celestial pole by about 3/4 degrees, and even though my scope yields a relatively narrow field of view, that's generally all the accuracy I need to find objects for casual observing. If I weren't so lazy and used any of the more refined alignment protocols to compensate for Polaris's offset, the setting circles would hit the bullseye every time.

#16 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

Looking deeper on line, I see that mounts like this have become, to be fair, a chunk of change out of one's pocket, yet not so costly as they used to be. I could have something like this.

I see Go-To as a cultural shift more than anything else. Sure, if one can Push-To, then one could motorize to create Go-To, something the engineers would enjoy creating and the marketing departments would love selling. But, 200 years from now (or, tonight, if one drops one's mount in the dark while assembling one's scope), which mount will still be working? A mechanical AP mount may be good as new; a Go-To, long gone.

Go-To is, of course, also the antidote to light pollution, finding otherwise hidden objects. Fair enough. But, gotta wonder: If one knew the magnetic declination for one's observing site, could a mechanical mount like this be aligned with a level and a magnetic compass, to a precision allowing use of setting circles?

#17 ColoHank

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

But, gotta wonder: If one knew the magnetic declination for one's observing site, could a mechanical mount like this be aligned with a level and a magnetic compass, to a precision allowing use of setting circles?



I've aligned several times relying only on a compass, most recently last year for two daytime public outreach events at Colorado National Monument: the Venus transit and the annular eclipse. I obviously didn't need it to locate the sun or synch the RA circle with sidereal time, but I wanted to get close enough to proper polar alignment to ensure accurate tracking for the duration, and it worked very well. Incidentally, a ranger took head counts at the events and reported that our club attracted 400 visitors for the transit and another 265 for the eclipse.

#18 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:00 PM

I have to learn to align by compass! I'm told it is possible to see the brighter planets during the day, if one knows where to look. Turk, with your fancy new mount, you'll rock at this!






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