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#1 orion61

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:25 PM

I'm an oldtimer when it comes to Astronomy, My first scope had 2 types of eyepieces, those with small fields of view and those with smaller fields.
There were no such things as computers available except for that one between my ears.
Star Hopping was it, the "in" thing, Star charts were a luxury.
Still my old RV6 gave (and still gives)me untold pleasure.
When Go-To first came out I thought "what a lazy way of Astronomy"
I have to admit it is the best thing to happen to bring young people into the hobby since Christmas time.
I still wish the scope and mount mfgrs made the mounts so they could have the clutches loose and slew about without
having to re align.
My wonderfull old C8 with the JMI computer can do this because the encoders are attached to the RA and Dec Axis, not the motors.
It is good to see activity in younger folks.
It is also nice watching the regestered member count going up :). So keep using those computers and try to learn a bit of the Sky by heart....
You have converted an Old Fogey.

#2 DavidC

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:05 PM

Yes, I used to second the go-to as being the lazy version of astronomy until I needed one that's go-to equipped to find something you spend too much time looking for. Then I see where it is in his telrad, and then go back to my telrad and now I can find it. I've had to do that plenty of times, plus that helps me get 100 + objects in our messier marathon. After all, its all about looking at an object in an ep.
David

#3 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:08 PM

I find "push to" scopes to kind of be the best of both worlds. I have it on my 10 inch dob and on my sky view pro mount which has tracking.

In my heavily light polluted skies it can be very hard to star hop. Some objects are harder than others. That doesn't mean that objects are not worth looking at as some people would say. I find the blue snowball to be super cool in my skies as well as other planetary nebulas. But they are pretty hard to find for me at least. I did purchase some telrad charts to help with finding.

I think they can help people learn the skies in some ways...especially depending on how you use it. It can give you a lot of information about the objects which can be further researched.

Also if you find something cool you can write down the coorindates and look it up elsewhere. So there are a lot of possible uses for it.

For me I'd like the learn the sky a bit more. I don't have a lot of time to give toward it with young kids. One thing I find hard is the difference between my light polluted skies and dark skies. There are just so many stars in dark skies. You can pretty much point at anything bright and find cool stuff (without even needing to know what it is). That being said it's been a few years since I've been in really dark skies.

What's the best way to learn the skies? I find books tend to put me to sleep...even if I am somewhat interested. I think videos would really help if there are any that simulate personal instruction. I hope to go to some astronomy club events some time, but it's hard to get away to do that.

#4 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:32 PM

After all, its all about looking at an object in an ep.


I know some people actually like the hunt as much as looking at the objects. I find the hunt to be frustrating and boring. But maybe that's related to me not knowing the sky all that well. However, I love observing just about all objects. So I totally agree about the actual observing part. While I would like to learn the sky so I don't have to rely on electronics, I like the observing part the most.

People enjoy the hobby different and there is nothing wrong with that.

I will say that if you want to maximize objects observed, electronics are pretty good (especially a push to which I feel is faster than go to). I noticed when I was with some fairly experienced observers, I observed 30 or so objects to their 10. They had to hop a bit, and some objects can take a bit to find, even in dark skies.

Still, I'd like to learn the sky so I don't have to rely on it. At least enough to find most objects. I think I'm actually OK on most bright objects. But I know very little constillations. Then again, I can't see most constellations so I would need to learn them on the computer.

#5 geekgroupie

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:34 PM

Yes, I used to second the go-to as being the lazy version of astronomy until I needed one that's go-to equipped to find something you spend too much time looking for. Then I see where it is in his telrad, and then go back to my telrad and now I can find it. I've had to do that plenty of times, plus that helps me get 100 + objects in our messier marathon. After all, its all about looking at an object in an ep.
David


As a noobie to this hobby... IMO, it so much more than looking thru an eyepiece. I need to know my equipment and learning that alignment process was a b***h. Learning stellarium was also fun at first (not). Learning the sky and what is of interest to look for = an ongoing learning process made easier by David Fuller.

Way more than looking thru an EP... otherwise I wouldn't study up all week just to be armed and ready for weekend.

I always like stuff way over my head... and indeed, this hobby has unlimited potential both financially and intellectually
just saying

#6 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:13 PM

And then, you could just toss a towel on the ground, lay down and look up yonder. Some of the best stargazing I've ever done was at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern Calif. We'd camp there for motorcycle track days. Nice and dark, the sky is a joy there. No idea what I was looking at. All I knew was I liked it.

I fell in love with a gal from Ukraine when we were stargazing there. Then I remembered I'd been married twice before. I still love that crazy gorgeous former-Soviet scary-smart lady but I'm still single. I thank the Big Bang daily. :lol:

Sorry for the over-sharing moment. :flower:

#7 jerwin

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:27 AM

For me the tracking is what makes my goto worth it. Especially when your'e sharing your views. But the goto lets me identify what I can see from my light polluted back yard. If I can see it in my 11" goto, I can probably see it in my 10" dob. But if I can't find it in the goto, I don't want to waste the time searching with the dob. I'd rather spend the time looking at "nothing" than looking for something and finding nothing.

And under dark sites, I feel like my time is so limited. I only get 1 or 2 dark sky nights a month if the clouds hold off. I'm still new enough that I want to see as much as I can and not "waste" the night searching for a smudge. I think once I complete my list of favorites that CAN be seen from my 2 different locations, I can start spending the time learning how to find them without assistance.

My plan anyways.

Jim

#8 jrbarnett

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:05 AM

There's nothing wrong with a horse and buggy. It will get you there, eventually. And horses can have lovely personalities. But efficiency has its own charms. GOTO is especially handy in a crowded field, but even for general cruising it makes observing the mainstay of the session rather than finding stuff. There's a reason progress progresses. :winky:

- Jim

#9 OneGear

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:36 AM

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#10 beanerds

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:36 AM

Ha ha , good points , one and all .
I used to be a lot like the people that thought GOTO was a lazy astromoners way to go , but since I have used my IEQ45 for a year or 2 now I LOVE IT ! , more time viewing instead of searching , but thats not to say I dont enjoy looking for objects in my 127mm f/8 Istar achro mounted on its TV Gibralter from Mag 7 dark skies here in the NT of Australia , great fun that !!
Old dog taught a new trick ,, GOTO .
Brian.

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:59 AM

However, I love observing just about all objects. So I totally agree about the actual observing part. While I would like to learn the sky so I don't have to rely on electronics, I like the observing part the most.



A few thoughts/experiences:

- Starhopping is observing, it is observing the sky on a different scale, a larger scale. Discovering objects without a chart, without a list, that is also observing.

- When I am out under the night sky, I am not in a rush to go from one object to the next, I take my time, enjoy the moments as they happen, I see the sky as a continuum, one I only partly understand, one I only partially know. Star fields in the eyepiece, by themselves, they make the night worthwhile. It's like trout fishing, the stream, the rushing water, the quiet of the forest, these are the things that matter, not how many fish are caught.

- Truly being observant, being fully aware with full attention, that requires the entire mind and body. It's not a rush and a hurry, it's a calm slowness. I work as a scientist, I watch truly brilliant scientists work. They do not rush about but take their time, awareness, Eureka moments, they happen as the result of patience.

- When my wife and I travel about the southwest, around the US, we take it slow, we take the back roads and see what those on the Superhighways between one tourist spot to the next miss. We hit the famous tourist spots but invariably, the memories and joys are found in the hinterlands, uncharted but discovered.

I know that many find starhopping frustrating, I have no problem if someone wants to find their way around the sky with a GOTO telescope, this is a hobby, everyone should enjoy it they way that works for them.

GOTO scope or even Intelliscope/Setting circles, I just do not enjoy the experience, I have a couple of GOTO mounts, I find the experience unsatisfying, I not only want to carefully observe an object, but I also want to know exactly where it is and how I can find it. When I first started out, I was finding objects with manual setting circles. One night, I realized, I really had no idea where in the sky the scope was pointing.

We each have our own way of enjoying this hobby. If GOTO enhances the experience, GOFOR it. As you grow from a beginner to a more experienced amateur, the most important discoveries are what it is you love to do and how you like to do it...

With that knowledge, choosing equipment is relatively easy. For a starhopper, an assortment of relatively fast telescopes covering a range of sizes is helpful. Finding one's way around the sky with a 8 inch SCT with a 2000mm focal length and a 0.8 degree maximum field of view is a challenge. With a 4 inch F/6 refractor that is capable of a 4 plus degree field of view, it's a whole lot easier.

- I do consider myself fortunate, I have the time to take it slow and easy, I live in place where about half the nights are clear and within an hour's drive, the skies are dark and clear maybe 250 nights a year. I figure I get in some observing at least 150 nights a year.

So, again, there is no reason to feel guilty about using GOTO or DSCs to find your way around the night sky, if that is what you enjoy, that's great. But, it's not for everyone and there are other effective ways to find your way.

Jon





#12 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:23 AM

Jon,
That is great way to put experiences into words. I really like the way you describe the experience. I find the hunt of the object as much fun as finally seeing it. Unfortunately I get about 200 cloudy nights a year. Sounds like you have some very pleasant viewing most of the year.

There is something to be said about taking the back roads whether in the car or finding celestial Gems. I am always trying to teach my young girls patience and taking their time. I have a quote on my desk by Henry David Thoreau that reads "Nothing can be more useful to a man than determination not to be hurried"


Ken

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

The symphony sounds the same whether you arrive at the concert hall on foot, by car, on horeseback or by any other means. Last I looked it's called "observing" which means looking AT, not FOR. I understand Jon's affinity and that of others for the hunt. However there is a reason the Hubble is go to. It's the most efficient and effective way to find and track things.

#14 ensign

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:51 AM

For me it's a matter of "both and" instead of "either or".

I get a great deal of enjoyment out of travelling to a dark site and finding things using nothing more than a star chart and a manual setup.

I also enjoy observing with a Mallincam using a GOTO mount that also tracks.

Each has its place and it's all good.

:cool:

#15 droid

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:01 AM

I dont know ....Im on the fence as far as goto goes, while I will admit to being tempted, Im also fairly old school.
I have several scopes none goto.I also get a huge satisfaction in studying charts planning, and then carrying out the search, and with some luck finding the object(s) I had targetted. Is it slow ,yep, but its also emensly satisfieing.
As for goto....as long as the user makes an effort to learn where the scope is pointing and what consteallation its pointing at, and doesnt rely so heavily on the goto thats he learns nothing, then great.
A few years ago ,2001 IIRC, I was set up at the black forest star party when I man , I dont remember his name now, set up to my left with a Celestron 8 inch sct, on a massive mount with goto drives.I had an old uglier than the south side of a mule 8 inch dob.
He explained to me his set up, and we chatted for several hours, as darkness approached we both went to our scopes.
After roughly an hour and as real darkness set in, he loudly proclaimed he was done , his goto wouldnt go to, so I suggested loosening the clutches and using like a dob.
He couldnt, he had relyed on his goto so heavily, he had no idea where to point a scope or anything.
We , spent the rest of the night together surveying sagittarius, scorpio, etc.....he told me he was going to build as dob asap, lol.

just a precautionary tale, lol

Just a note: I think most of us know goto vs non goto is a hot topic in astronomy, it is my hope this thread can continue with out any problems.

#16 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:09 AM

I can certainly see many advantages of GOTO and I don't discount folks time into using them and I don't think anyone is less of an observer either. I enjoy viewing through the GOTO's at my club's site all the time.

However, for me there is something almost romantic about finding an object with just a chart and Telrad. Maybe its a silly point of view! I also have tried sketching instead of taking a picture its just the way I like to do things. I guess it my own stubborn way of trying.

I know I have missed several objects just because I'm not a good enough star hopper and I'm OK with that. When starting out I looked like a fool trying to find something only to have an experienced member come over and get it right away.

I know if I had the money I would no doubt build an observatory and put in a large GOTO SCT with a Mallincam to see things I could never see with my manual processes.

Ken

#17 droid

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:18 AM

Ken; Ive had the same experience trying to locate something, and not finding it.
Then some one else walks over, and using my scope finds it.
I simply ask them to explain to me , in laymens terms lol, how they did that.
M81 and 82 were my bug a boo, now I find them easily.
The viel is my current road block, waiting for some one to come teach me...where are they :roflmao:

#18 newtoskies

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:20 AM

I'm too new at this so I guess my opinion isn't much here in this thread. But, I think go-to's have it's place in the hobby. I found myself looking at some used go-to scopes and may get one later on down the road simply because of the LP here. This used with a dob or my refractor will be a good set up.
The searching for an object without go-to can be frustrating at times but man the thrill you get when you do find that faint fuzzy makes it all worth it I think.

Beginners should start with a dob or a refractor and learn the skies first, then maybe later a go-to.

#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:34 AM

The symphony sounds the same whether you arrive at the concert hall on foot, by car, on horeseback or by any other means. Last I looked it's called "observing" which means looking AT, not FOR. I understand Jon's affinity and that of others for the hunt. However there is a reason the Hubble is go to. It's the most efficient and effective way to find and track things.


Honestly, I don't really think you do understand. When I am out under the night sky, I am looking at the night sky, I am observing the night sky in the fullest sense of the word. Certainly Herschel and Messier were great observers, yet a good part of their time was spent looking at the night sky, carefully searching for something they had never seen before.

I will say this: The way I experience the symphony, the way I hear it, it does depend on how I got there because my chosen method of transport has a direct effect on me. But the bigger picture is that there is sound, music all around us, I can observe and be sensitive to those sounds whether one is riding a bicycle to the symphony or sitting in the seat in the auditorium.

There is no need to justify the use of GOTO, the Hubble would be impossible without it.

But I think it is important to realize that there are other paradigms, other ways to look at the world, at the night sky. The experience of using a GOTO scope to navigate the night sky and concentrate on a particular small regions is fundamentally different from considering the night sky as a continuum that is all of interest, all worthy of observation.

Jon Isaacs

#20 Achernar

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:37 AM

I once thought the same way about GOTO and digital setting circles, until light pollution really began to make finding anything very hard for me. Now I use DSC's on my larger telescopes to make the most of the limited opportunities I get to observe due to weather and work considerations. I still observe the way I always have, I take a few minutes at least to actually LOOK at something, if not much longer to sketch it. GOTO and DSC's merely make finding objects in less than ideal skies a lot easier and they also help your be sure of which object you are looking at in densely populated regions of the sky.

Taras

#21 geekgroupie

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:38 AM

And then, you could just toss a towel on the ground, lay down and look up yonder. Some of the best stargazing I've ever done was at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern Calif. We'd camp there for motorcycle track days. Nice and dark, the sky is a joy there. No idea what I was looking at. All I knew was I liked it.

I fell in love with a gal from Ukraine when we were stargazing there. Then I remembered I'd been married twice before. I still love that crazy gorgeous former-Soviet scary-smart lady but I'm still single. I thank the Big Bang daily. :lol:

Sorry for the over-sharing moment. :flower:


Yes..

#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:46 AM

Ken; Ive had the same experience trying to locate something, and not finding it.
Then some one else walks over, and using my scope finds it.
I simply ask them to explain to me , in laymens terms lol, how they did that.
M81 and 82 were my bug a boo, now I find them easily.
The viel is my current road block, waiting for some one to come teach me...where are they :roflmao:


The Veil is relatively straightforward, the western part is centered on 52 Cygni which can be found by following gamma to epsilon Cygni and then moving onto to 52. With an O-III filter, a low power, wide field eyepiece and reasonably dark skies, it should just pop into view. Then for the eastern Veil, it's about 2.5 degrees east. There are interesting pieces between the two as well.

When conditions have been ideal, I have seen the Veil from my urban red/white zone backyard. It's easier with my 10 inch dob but I did see it with my 4 inch F/5.4 refractor, an O-III filter is a must from less than dark skies.

Jon

#23 hfjacinto

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:59 AM

Both my mounts are goto and there are many times, I do over 20 objects in one night. You also can't image without goto (as you can't look through the eyepiece). So for my scopes its goto.

But last night as an example I put out a beach chair and just sat down with a 15X50 Canon IS binoculars. I started off at M44 went to M67, then M42, the the Auriga clusters (M36, M37, M38) went back to M42 and then before packing up the double clusters, the owl cluster and back to M42 and Orions belt.

I don't need goto, but I like to look at various objects and I also like cruising the sky.

This is a hobby, there is no reason for disliking or liking goto. If you use it great, if you don't great. Do what you like, but don't criticize what others do.

#24 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:02 AM

The obstacle is the path! After trying something several times and then that final Eureka moment of finally viewing it!
I watch a woman in our club who is a very skilled star hopper with 30 years under her belt. I marvel at the way she tours the sky pointing out where things are. While I stand in awe dumbfounded by her prowess.
I imagine watching Jon is the same way. I can only hope to hone my skills for 25 more years to get to a point where some experienced folks are.

I've had many a magical evening with some gentle prodding that I was close to keep looking your in the right area go back to your chart and look a little closer. The I call over I think I have something! Yep you got it!

Ken

#25 jerwin

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:10 AM

[shakes head]

GoTo is useless when there is a building in the way, or you can't see said star because of a stray cloud. If you bought a telescope to "see stars" thinking that some computerized thing is going remedy your ignorance of the heavens requires a particular kind of naïve.

I read so many times on here and other sites how important GoTo is for folks under city lights, but only on this forum do I notice the lack of complaints regarding GoTo. Makes a man wonder where the paychecks are coming from.

GoTo is utterly useless for me. I live in the heart of the city and anyone who thinks GoTo would be ideal for my situation possesses a special class of stupidity that has no polite name.

I starhop because that is the only way I can navigate the heavens. I can't see all of any constellation but I can see some of the stars naked eye. With binoculars I can see most of them and can then navigate to objects and stars I could never see naked-eye from my window. W T F help is GoTo when I have a literal window for observing? There is a ceiling between me and GoTo's favorite star, stop asking me to center it.

Just seems like malicious ignorance to tell folks that GoTo will solve all their problems without addressing the issue - most people don't know Mirach from Polaris and couldn't see both from the same location anyway if they are street-level in their backyard.

A horse and buggy will get you there, but a guy who pretends his GoTo never makes him work the whole night trying to get it aligned is a damn liar.

IMHO, GoTo in the city is a waste of money. Learning to recognize the bright stars one can see and identify the visible planets and their relationship to constellations trumps GoTo when you don't have 360 degrees of unobstructed horizon.

If you have 360 degrees of unobstructed horizon and use GoTo rather than learn the stars, I just shake my head. It's like telling people you are a marathon runner but ride in a wheelchair while you pay some guy to push you 26 miles. And excuse it because "you haven't trained, but they have people who will push you. What's the difference?"


I think your opinion is way off base. I set my CPC up with any 2 stars at the beginning of the night and don't touch it again the rest of the night. I'm not a liar and anyone that thinks I am is a damn fool. I don't need 360 degrees of the sky to do the alignment, I'm not an idiot, I'm not special, I'm not any of the other things you might think I am. If you can't see Polaris and went with an EQ goto mount, that's not the mounts fault. There's an expression that I'll tweak for astronomy\family friendly purposes. Opinions are like Uranus. Everyone's got one and some are louder than others. You can view however you want to view, no one cares, but I'm not going to let you sit there and mock how I view the night sky. This is all about the love of the night sky, and anyway you want to view it is ok with me, why isn’t it ok for you?

Jim






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