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