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#51 BrooksObs

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:25 PM

 

I simply cannot fathom how one can feel that a RACI makes sense for most of today's amateurs.


I'm sorry to hear that. Give it another try; it's not so difficult to understand. All the information you need has been stated in this thread by me and others.

However, I do agree that marketing telescopes with only a RACI, and no auxiliary device such as a red-dot finder, is doing beginners a serious disservice. I know a handful of people who can use RACIs intuitively with no additional finder, but such people are few and far between.

The finder problem under discussion is compounded these days by the rush of folks to acquire "portable" Hobbit-sized telescopes: RFT-type Dobs of f/4.5 and f/5.0 of less than 12" aperture on low mounts. These in themselves virtually necessitate uncomfortably stooping, or out-right sitting.


Sitting? Horrors! Who has ever heard of such a thing?

People have been using small, rich-field telescopes, and sitting while observing, for hundreds of years. William Herschel specially built such a telescope for his sister, and she used it to become one of the greatest deep-sky observers and comet hunters of all time.

This practice has led ... to the proliferation of erroneous opinions among the host of general stargazers.


John, you really should re-read Chapter VI of Through the Looking Glass. I am irresistibly reminded of it every time you use the words "correct," "erroneous," and "serious."

Has it ever occurred to you that you might not have a monopoly on the truth? That there are different ways of accomplishing the same goal, and many different but equally worthy goals? That practices can change? That the present isn't worse than the past in each and every case?

There's glory for you!

 

 

 

 

Tony, it is amusing to read your remarks on the seated position while observing as being nothing new and in fact a time-honored approach. Particularly off based in this regard is your using of Caroline Herschel as being seated during her comet hunting and systematic search for nebulae. Yes, she did comet and nebulae hunting sitting down, but what obviously escapes you limited observer knowledge is the fact that Caroline wasn't simply out there randomly stargazing, shifting her scope from one location to another in the sky like you and others do. She was conducting a methodical and systematic search program for new objects a small piece of sky at a time. In that function it can indeed be optimal to have the observer in a fixed and seated position for the duration. However, this approach does not transfer its value to general stargazing unless one is likewise studying only a very small and specific area in the sky for an extended time. Otherwise this approach becomes mostly a hindrance to the observer's capabilities and efficiency, whether he acknowledges it or not. As far back as I go in this hobby I never recall seeing hobbyists seated while observing, expect perhaps when using small refractors without star diagonals, until just the past 10-15 years as "new toys" became more important than actual observing. 

 

I also have to chuckle at hearing you and others repeatedly insisting that there are no best ways, or approaches, to doing various things in our hobby. This is a concept I so often see espoused by weekend hobbyists who think their own fumbling around is surely the best approach, simply because they don't know any better. The fact is that those of long tenure in the hobby have found by endless trial and error that there most certainly are far better ways than others to approach various observing situations. Group knowledge is built upon the experiences of those who have come before, not by the newcomers re-inventing the wheel with each new generation. Nothing is done by serious visual observers today that wasn't discovered and pioneered by others much earlier in our hobby's history and the superficial approach to the hobby that I've seen develop over the past decade, or so, is neither an innovative and certainly not a better way to practice it. It is merely a reflection of the dumbing down process our hobby has been experiencing since the late 1990's. 

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 05 August 2014 - 06:26 PM.


#52 howard929

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:51 PM

If I'm reading you right, I'm (for instance) using the wrong type finder not so much because it's the wrong finder but because it's on a hobbit sized telescope (8" dob). Since it's what I have and fully intend to keep BTW, I'm fine with that assessment. .



#53 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:01 PM

 

 

However, this approach does not transfer its value to general stargazing unless one is likewise studying only a very small and specific area in the sky for an extended time. Otherwise this approach becomes mostly a hindrance to the observer's capabilities and efficiency, whether he acknowledges it or not. As far back as I go in this hobby I never recall seeing hobbyists seated while observing, expect perhaps when using small refractors without star diagonals, until just the past 10-15 years as "new toys" became more important than actual observing. 

 


I honestly think you simply are out of touch with the times, have you ever actually spent a night with a Starbound or Catsperch chair? Modern telescopes with modern observing chairs do not require one to stand.  Unlike yesteryear, today's 12.5 inch Newtonian on an equatorial tracking mount  does not require a ladder or even standing, it can easily be a "sit down scope all night long" and one can not only inspect with great care small parts of the sky but also observe and move about the sky as needed.   Planetary observation and sketching, often one observes a single object for long periods of time, perfect for sitting.  However, scanning the Milky Way with a low power, widefield eyepiece can be done in comfort, Modern chairs are easily adjusted, easily moved... And the advantage of having a steady, well supported upper body, a head that does not waver, it cannot be over rated.. 

 

Jon Isaacs



#54 JoLo

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:59 AM

Mr Obs, your level of arrogance and disregard for us weekend hobbyists who fumble around because we don't know any better is truly the amusing part of this thread.  I, and apparently everyone on this thread save you, are happy with our dumbed down approach.

 

Sincerely,

 

Blissfully Ignorant Amateur


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#55 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:02 AM

 

 

I simply cannot fathom how one can feel that a RACI makes sense for most of today's amateurs.


I'm sorry to hear that. Give it another try; it's not so difficult to understand. All the information you need has been stated in this thread by me and others.

However, I do agree that marketing telescopes with only a RACI, and no auxiliary device such as a red-dot finder, is doing beginners a serious disservice. I know a handful of people who can use RACIs intuitively with no additional finder, but such people are few and far between.

The finder problem under discussion is compounded these days by the rush of folks to acquire "portable" Hobbit-sized telescopes: RFT-type Dobs of f/4.5 and f/5.0 of less than 12" aperture on low mounts. These in themselves virtually necessitate uncomfortably stooping, or out-right sitting.


Sitting? Horrors! Who has ever heard of such a thing?

People have been using small, rich-field telescopes, and sitting while observing, for hundreds of years. William Herschel specially built such a telescope for his sister, and she used it to become one of the greatest deep-sky observers and comet hunters of all time.

This practice has led ... to the proliferation of erroneous opinions among the host of general stargazers.


John, you really should re-read Chapter VI of Through the Looking Glass. I am irresistibly reminded of it every time you use the words "correct," "erroneous," and "serious."

Has it ever occurred to you that you might not have a monopoly on the truth? That there are different ways of accomplishing the same goal, and many different but equally worthy goals? That practices can change? That the present isn't worse than the past in each and every case?

There's glory for you!

 

 

 

 

Tony, it is amusing to read your remarks on the seated position while observing as being nothing new and in fact a time-honored approach. Particularly off based in this regard is your using of Caroline Herschel as being seated during her comet hunting and systematic search for nebulae. Yes, she did comet and nebulae hunting sitting down, but what obviously escapes you limited observer knowledge is the fact that Caroline wasn't simply out there randomly stargazing, shifting her scope from one location to another in the sky like you and others do. She was conducting a methodical and systematic search program for new objects a small piece of sky at a time. In that function it can indeed be optimal to have the observer in a fixed and seated position for the duration. However, this approach does not transfer its value to general stargazing unless one is likewise studying only a very small and specific area in the sky for an extended time. Otherwise this approach becomes mostly a hindrance to the observer's capabilities and efficiency, whether he acknowledges it or not. As far back as I go in this hobby I never recall seeing hobbyists seated while observing, expect perhaps when using small refractors without star diagonals, until just the past 10-15 years as "new toys" became more important than actual observing. 

 

I also have to chuckle at hearing you and others repeatedly insisting that there are no best ways, or approaches, to doing various things in our hobby. This is a concept I so often see espoused by weekend hobbyists who think their own fumbling around is surely the best approach, simply because they don't know any better. The fact is that those of long tenure in the hobby have found by endless trial and error that there most certainly are far better ways than others to approach various observing situations. Group knowledge is built upon the experiences of those who have come before, not by the newcomers re-inventing the wheel with each new generation. Nothing is done by serious visual observers today that wasn't discovered and pioneered by others much earlier in our hobby's history and the superficial approach to the hobby that I've seen develop over the past decade, or so, is neither an innovative and certainly not a better way to practice it. It is merely a reflection of the dumbing down process our hobby has been experiencing since the late 1990's. 

 

BrooksObs

 

 

There are several reasons why I know for a fact that there is no "best" way to approach a given situation. One is because I have observed with many of today's most respected observers, and their techniques in fact vary hugely. Mind you, anybody who's been around for a while knows how to use pretty much every technique out there, but different people definitely have different preferences.

 

The other reason is that I use quite a wide variety of techniques myself. Take the matter of sitting versus standing. My three main scopes are a 70-mm refractor, a 7-inch Dob, and a 12.5-inch Dob. With the 12.5-inch Dob I always observe standing unless my target happens to be very low in the sky. With the 7-inch Dob I always observe sitting, because it's designed and built for use with a standard chair. With the 70-mm refractor I do both. For shorter sessions I usually use it standing, for longer sessions I prefer sitting.

 

Is one better than the other? Absolutely not  -- not for me, anyway. Unlike some people here, I have no trouble holding my head still while standing, so the views are identical either way. Sitting is more restful, so in some sense it's more efficient -- I take a lot more breaks when using the 12.5-inch. On the other hand, those breaks aren't wasted time; I get to rest my eyes and my spirit while lying on my back and looking at the sky.

 

Standing is marginally more convenient, but it really takes just a few seconds to move a chair. I would argue that if that's a significant fraction of all the time you spend on an object, you're rushing too fast.

 

It is a matter of record that most amateur astronomers -- including ones who have been doing this for decades -- prefer sitting. But there's a significant minority who strongly prefer standing.

 

The reason that hobbyists of the past tended not to sit is that they were stuck with clumsy, oversized telescopes that didn't allow sitting. Now that more compact scopes are available, that reason has up and vanished.

 

With respect to finders, my preference is for a unit-power finder combined with a right-angle finderscope. But I'm perfectly happy to use whatever is available; I can find things just fine with a straight-through finderscope. Or with a unit-power finder alone, assuming that my scope has an adequately wide maximum field of view.

 

In fact, I replaced the straight-through finderscope on my 4-inch refractor with a red-dot finder, and I have no regrets at all about doing so.


Edited by Tony Flanders, 06 August 2014 - 10:04 AM.


#56 howard929

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:06 AM

This is sort of like someone mentioning that most newbs are all washed up with their approach with sighting and sitting while observing without ever mentioning just what type of telescope the "expert" is using as well as how and where his finder is located on that telescope. Oops. One other thing. Some of us are tall and some of us aren't too tall so maybe a one size fits all approach like someone mentions doesn't actually apply. Obviously.. 



#57 cadfour

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:53 PM

I know this isn't on topic...it appears the OP has gotten his answer(s) way back, but after reading this I cant help but feel that there are 2 classes of people on this forum. BrooksObs and the rest of us with our silly hobbit telescope gizmos.

 

of course that's just my erroneous opinion.


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#58 jethro

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:03 PM

I'll second, third, and fourth that...



#59 Dennis_S253

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:53 PM

I find with my 12" Dob I prefer using my Denver Chair. Although, When looking straight up some times I do and sometimes I don't use the chair. As far as the finder, I have a Telrad and a RACI. That is what I prefer to use. I have neck and back problems so anything I can do to relieve stress to either is what I try to do. I can pick my chair up one hand with no problem, adjust the height and be viewing comfortable.

#60 Kevdog

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:25 PM

I know this isn't on topic...it appears the OP has gotten his answer(s) way back, but after reading this I cant help but feel that there are 2 classes of people on this forum. BrooksObs and the rest of us with our silly hobbit telescope gizmos.

 

of course that's just my erroneous opinion.

 

 

BrooksObs is very knowledgeable on many things, but his opinions are always polarized, you either agree with him or you are wrong.

 

I for one would hate it if my 18" dob had a straight through finder.  I use my telrad to get me to my starting location (or sometimes to the object directly).  Then I'm up in the viewing position and with my RACI can switch back and forth between it and the eyepiece view by only moving about 6 inches.  If it was a straight through, then I'd be craning around to look through the finder, sometimes while up on a small stool.  Not comfy or safe!

 

The straight through finder on my C11 is a PITA.   I might replace it with a red dot actually.



#61 cadfour

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:43 PM

 

I know this isn't on topic...it appears the OP has gotten his answer(s) way back, but after reading this I cant help but feel that there are 2 classes of people on this forum. BrooksObs and the rest of us with our silly hobbit telescope gizmos.

 

of course that's just my erroneous opinion.

 

 

BrooksObs is very knowledgeable on many things, but his opinions are always polarized, you either agree with him or you are wrong.

 

I for one would hate it if my 18" dob had a straight through finder.  I use my telrad to get me to my starting location (or sometimes to the object directly).  Then I'm up in the viewing position and with my RACI can switch back and forth between it and the eyepiece view by only moving about 6 inches.  If it was a straight through, then I'd be craning around to look through the finder, sometimes while up on a small stool.  Not comfy or safe!

 

The straight through finder on my C11 is a PITA.   I might replace it with a red dot actually.

 

I respect his opinion that there may be a saturation of finders and other equipment that may be considered overkill, but to also say that casual and weekend observers aren't qualified to respond to the original poster is an insult. It is possible we have experienced the same situation and resolved it either on our own, or by getting help from someone here. He may be very knowledgeable on many things, but he is only a drop in the bucket in that respect and I will gladly get my knowledge from the many other respectable expert sources located within this forum. 


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#62 lamplight

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 07:52 PM

I'm relatively new , learned and appreciate the various techniques of finding objects by reading charts. But I kind of skipped over a lot of this thread as I read people describing my demographic (newbie) completely inaccurately. I have noticed there are not a big percentage of people at star parties (or my club)  who can even starhop. And I'm the newbie! 

 

  a RACI IS intuitive for reading star charts and looking at the sky...for me a straight through finder with reversed image while using a correct image star chart slows me down a bit.. At least in terms of 5° fields of view and that could have a bunch of my target objects in it. I have tried it.. I still own my Stellarvue 10x60 which is a pretty cool little scope/lens itself. 

 

Lots of people describe starhopping via their method as the way to do it.  It actually breaks down into some segments but some people pick and choose pros and cons of  one segment of their various methods to augment their argument. Just to be clear, what I mean is that Getting your first initial star for a hop is one subset/segment of the process. Sighting with the two eye method using a straight through finder definitely works good at getting that initial star, but not so much for reading charts in reverse, for me. So like a lot of people I got a Telrad for pointing my scope at that initial starting place. Some people hop with this too but then you end up swapping eyepieces a lot, not my preference  (that's a totally separate topic I'll just leave alone).

 

Actually this difficulty with getting the initial star in the field of view of the finder only became an issue for me when I moved from my first scope (8" sct") to dobs and refractors.. Different scopes have unique challenges when pointing the scope... With my sct I sighted down the tube,  no problem. Intuition, it works. I came here asking questions on that topic when I went to different scope types and got the Telrad suggestions from people like Jon,  and others. 

 

what I've recently been doing is forgoing the Telrad.. I sight down the small tube of my raci, or the scope itself.. It's one less thing to have on the scope and I like things simple and not needing as much counterweight for the dobs.  

 

with my 16" dob the raci is well placed up high,  and easy to get behind, I just evolved this technique when I didn't have the Telrad handy. Quickly realized I didn't need it (Telrad) 

 

with my 10" I sight down the top strut of my dobstuff design scope for my initial star to be in the finder. Super easy. 

 

recently I  just picked up a 12" dob and had a little bit of trouble at first.. What I realized makes it easier to site down the tube of the finder is to look at the rings of the finder mount. To ensure my eye is directly behind the finder for accurate pointing I just move my head until the rings come together appropriately,  ensuring I'm right behind it for more accurate pointing, minimizing the parallax error. With minimal practice it's easy to get my first guide star in view of the finder. 

 

with my refractor I can use the same technique but I usually use my tripod without the legs extended for stability and to minimize settle time, which can create some LOW seating sometimes... I've been meaning to put one of my telrads or a Rigel finder on the front of the scope for the occasional neck saving benefits when finding my initial star. 

 

ive lately also been hunting fainter objects, these are sometimes/often out of reach of my scope/skies/eyes. I enjoy the hop. It's lately been fun to challenge myself on what I can see with various apertures. There was a comment about magnified finders being useless if you can't even see them in the finder.  Not my experience at all. The finder gets me within a degree or so  of my target. THats much more efficient in my mind. Much less starhopping with my upside down reversed eyepiece view. Starhopping without a magnified finder means starting at step 1) pointing the scope to a nearby naked eye starting point, sweeping to figure out where you are,  then going directly to starhopping. I think this method will require a lot more sweeping around to find out where you are actually looking. I guess with a wide field eyepiece it would be less time consuming, but then you have to change eyepieces more often, which I don't like to do as it also takes extra time. To each his own, but there's definitely a few of us newbies out there who are learning to find things manually, even quite efficiently at that.  And there's more than new way to skin a cat. (I probably don't want to know where hat expression came from). Myself and more experienced starhoppers still recommend telrads for pointing to compliment a magnified finder. It's a lot easier than explaining my weird methods. 

 

I only recently discovered how sky safari can present the same view as my eyepiece , (upside down and reversed for my dobs). That's a pretty handy thing to have when starhopping to objects you likely won't even see. Or barely. I still feel a slight tinge  of guilt that I'm cheating when I use this feature on occasion... But it honestly doesn't make sense. I could find objects without any finder as well. What's the point? I can get closer to an Object quicker with the use of a magnified finder and im still learning the sky as I go. And I don't have to change eyepieces as often. Those are my reasons for liking my methods.  I try to keep this in mind when I think of "goto only " users.. If they can spend more time looking at something than they ordinarily would, great for them. I don't agree that it's the best way to enjoy the hobby, but then maybe the hobby is different for me than it is for them. We're both having a good time, even if I will still be having a good time during a power outage ;) ;)


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#63 frenchblatter

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 12:27 AM

I'm new, brand new. I've only looked through our new CPC800 once and that was last night when the moon was like a searchlight and we could hardly see the stars.

 

I have a temporary back problem. I can't stand for more than a few seconds. I have to sit. I sat last night and even found the stretching required to look through the finder was a strain.

 

I will continue to sit even when my back is better. I only have the telescopic finder that came with the telescope and because we are surrounded by trees I haven't been able to align it properly yet, I'll have to take the kit out to one of the fields to do that but as I mustn't lift anything it's a bit difficult.

 

I did use the right angle 2" with a 2 x magnifier and a 40 mm lens. Views of the moon, given its brightness were good.

 

I'll keep at it and will get proficient over time. And I will find the best and most comfortable method that suits me.

 

Thanks you


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#64 rowdy388

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 04:30 PM

I enjoy star hopping and my philosophy is the more finders used the easier it becomes.  I use a Telrad  first which often is the only tool needed.  Then I have my 8X50 RACI finder plus an ST80 with 2" focuser piggybacked.  I can enjoy a low power wide angle view  with the short-tube before viewing in the main scope.  Often a target not visible in the RACI will show itself in the ST80. 

 

I firmly believe no method is better or worse than another.  Whatever works for your style of observing.  If you keep at it long enough (I have been observing since the 60's and still have my first 60mm refractor) you will settle into a system that fits your style.

 

Dave Y



#65 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:08 PM

 

I know this isn't on topic...it appears the OP has gotten his answer(s) way back, but after reading this I cant help but feel that there are 2 classes of people on this forum. BrooksObs and the rest of us with our silly hobbit telescope gizmos.

 

of course that's just my erroneous opinion.

 

 

BrooksObs is very knowledgeable on many things, but his opinions are always polarized, you either agree with him or you are wrong.

 

I for one would hate it if my 18" dob had a straight through finder.  I use my telrad to get me to my starting location (or sometimes to the object directly).  Then I'm up in the viewing position and with my RACI can switch back and forth between it and the eyepiece view by only moving about 6 inches.  If it was a straight through, then I'd be craning around to look through the finder, sometimes while up on a small stool.  Not comfy or safe!

 

The straight through finder on my C11 is a PITA.   I might replace it with a red dot actually.

 

 

To each his/her own. With my Dobs, I prefer a straight through finder magnifying finder and a Telrad. The Telrad and the magnifying finder are lined up together so I can work them as a pair.  They are positioned so I can lean over and look through either one as needed without too much difficulty.  Most of the time, I can position the scope with the Telrad alone and I then move directly to the main eyepiece.  With my smaller scopes, no stool is needed, with my big scope, it takes a ladder.

 

Jon



#66 Fuzzyguy

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:44 PM

I use a laser and a straight through finder on my C8. I don't live near any commercial airports and I don't think the beam reaches to the 25,000+ feet the airliners fly over me, but I still have enough patience to let any that are in the area pass before I turn on the laser. That said, it's only on for a few seconds as I manually slew the scope to my starting star, then I turn it off. I like using the laser because I don't need to bend over at all to find the star, then if I need to I'll hop closer with the finder, but that is also very quick keeping my time on my knees or neck stretched to a minimum. If I'm within 2 or 3 degrees of my object, I'll usually just hop through the eyepiece especially if it's difficult to position my head to look through the finder.

 

I imagine it would be easier to use a RACI, but I'm a cheap skate and as long as I can use what I already have, I'm good with it.

 

With my 80 ED and it's 3+ degree FoV, I just hop through the eyepiece. I don't even have a magnifying finder on it. If I find i need a larger FoV, I'll probably buy a 2" EP.

 

To the OP, the moon makes a great target to align you finder to.



#67 jfaust75

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:52 PM



 

To the OP, the moon makes a great target to align you finder to.

 

 

 

an even better one is polaris since it moves very little throughout the evening. you can take your time and get it right.    the moon is good but it does move quite fast








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