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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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js1976
member


Reged: 12/27/12

Loc: Madison, MS
Setting circles
      #6479966 - 04/21/14 08:59 PM

How many of you use setting circles to navigate with a dob? Appears to be an affordable way for a beginner to navigate vs a push or go to. All you do is level the base and line up with Polaris correct?

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js1976
member


Reged: 12/27/12

Loc: Madison, MS
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6479976 - 04/21/14 09:05 PM

Looking at an Apertura 10...would you go with the pre installed circles or the halo?

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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6480068 - 04/21/14 09:54 PM

Quote:

Looking at an Apertura 10...would you go with the pre installed circles or the halo?




Also get the levelling feet and you would want to buy a digital inclinometer.

Or you can do the circles on your own and not get the halo.

This Degree circle thread should keep you busy for a couple of hours.

Eric


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js1976
member


Reged: 12/27/12

Loc: Madison, MS
Re: Setting circles new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #6480105 - 04/21/14 10:11 PM

If you get the halo it comes with leveling feet, and thanks for the link. I'm sure it will keep me busy!

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js1976
member


Reged: 12/27/12

Loc: Madison, MS
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6480119 - 04/21/14 10:20 PM

Ok, I was thumbing through that thread and I'm confused! Do you set your scope based on Polaris or magnetic north?

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cbwerner
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Reged: 08/27/05

Loc: Maidens, VA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6480157 - 04/21/14 10:36 PM

True north, which Polaris almost is. You should be able to get a chart to show Polaris' offset from North (angle and direction based on when you look), and there are offsets for true north when using a compass, based on your location. Visually, you just need to get close though unless you are relying on DSCs for fainter or harder to find objects.

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rlmxracer
sage
*****

Reged: 11/09/11

Loc: Motocross Mecca (Riverside) , ...
Re: Setting circles new [Re: cbwerner]
      #6480288 - 04/22/14 12:03 AM

I've had great luck with just leveling the mount and using the digital inclinometer alone. I get the current altitude from sky safari then move the scope in azimuth to the general area. Using this method works very well for me and has actually taught me to star hope fairly well.

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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: rlmxracer]
      #6480395 - 04/22/14 01:18 AM

They're selling the Halo with an inclinometer included now. I'm thinking about getting one.

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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Setting circles new [Re: kfiscus]
      #6481878 - 04/22/14 07:15 PM

You can find ANYTHING the expensive Computerixed Go-To scopes with 140,000 objects can with DSS!
Plus your scope is not "locked" in position and you can
Star Hop anywhere with it without losing alignment!
Downfall is that it is Push too, but you burn 5 calories every object you "push to" ha ha... Do you think you could hit
500 objects a night??


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6481924 - 04/22/14 07:44 PM

Quote:

Ok, I was thumbing through that thread and I'm confused! Do you set your scope based on Polaris or magnetic north?




You set the base down with its compass pointing to magnetic north. Then you find Polaris and center it in the eyepiece. The magnetic pointer will be "off" from the Zero-degree position by the amount of magnetic declination in your area (plus or minus any minor error due to compass inaccuracy, magnetic interference, user sloppiness in setup, etc). Then you simply slide the pointer back to zero to "calibrate" it to Polaris, which will eliminate the magnetic declination and any of those errors mentioned, from the azimuth readings. If you can't see Polaris, you can use any visible star or planet, and just calibrate (slide) the pointer to that star/planet's azimuth (although a star near the north or south celestial pole will make calibration easier and more accurate because it will move more slowly through the field of view).


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kevinrr
member


Reged: 10/13/10

Loc: Morristown, TN
Re: Setting circles new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #6489149 - 04/26/14 03:03 AM

When I put the setting circle and altitude gauge on my 12" dob it transformed my viewing experience. Using a dob without a coordinate location system is like trying to drive a car without ever pressing the gas....you can do it but you will be sorely disappointed with the results and you will never figure out the potential of the equipment.

My last night out a couple nights ago I located about 15 messier objects in a couple hours with ease.


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kevinrr
member


Reged: 10/13/10

Loc: Morristown, TN
Re: Setting circles new [Re: kevinrr]
      #6489150 - 04/26/14 03:04 AM

Go and search for the "big dob mod" thread. I found many of the ideas for my mods there, and they made a world of difference. Mine is now battery powered and fully lighted.

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: kevinrr]
      #6489222 - 04/26/14 05:41 AM

Quote:

Using a dob without a coordinate location system is like trying to drive a car without ever pressing the gas....you can do it but you will be sorely disappointed with the results and you will never figure out the potential of the equipment.




Wow, that certainly hasn't been my experience!

Quote:

My last night out a couple nights ago I located about 15 messier objects in a couple hours with ease.




Right. And having learned the Messiers by star-hopping, I can locate 15 of them in 15 minutes simply by pointing my Dob to the right place in the sky.


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Setting circles new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6489405 - 04/26/14 09:13 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Using a dob without a coordinate location system is like trying to drive a car without ever pressing the gas....you can do it but you will be sorely disappointed with the results and you will never figure out the potential of the equipment.




Wow, that certainly hasn't been my experience!

Quote:

My last night out a couple nights ago I located about 15 messier objects in a couple hours with ease.




Right. And having learned the Messiers by star-hopping, I can locate 15 of them in 15 minutes simply by pointing my Dob to the right place in the sky.




I have to most definitely agree with Tony's response in this matter. Only those who never bothered to take the time to properly learn the constellations at the outset of the observing careers are so critically handicapped as to have to depend on gizmos to find their way around the sky. I regard it as the modern bane of the hobby, as it honestly places one at a great disadvantage in his observing efforts. I've used large alt-az scopes for over 40 years now unassisted by circles, or other outside methods for locating objects and I find that I can usually work at a pace 2x to 3x faster in locating objects than do the amateur astronomers relying on tech gizmos for locating objects. Nothing replaces an excellent knowledge of the constellations star patterns as the most valuable of observing tools.

BrooksObs


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howard929
Member
*****

Reged: 01/02/11

Loc: Low End of High Ground
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6489420 - 04/26/14 09:21 AM

Quote:

Ok, I was thumbing through that thread and I'm confused! Do you set your scope based on Polaris or magnetic north?




I sort of cheat this a bit and just use magnetic north. There always seems to be something I can find naked eye and with real time information from Stellarium, zero in and tweak the pointer. On long sessions over 3 hours, things tend to slide away from those initial settings due to inaccuracy of a level base. It's pretty much a slam dunk for say Saturn to be still in the finder but may not be in a higher power eyepiece. With 10 degrees off each side of zero, small re-tweaks brings things back to where they should be.


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6489700 - 04/26/14 11:46 AM

Quote:

Only those who never bothered to take the time to properly learn the constellations at the outset of the observing careers are so critically handicapped as to have to depend on gizmos to find their way around the sky.




Well ... I can and do find my way around the sky without any mechanical or electronic aid both under dark skies and from my local city park. But I must say that when I'm star-hopping to (say) Uranus and Neptune, deep in the notoriously faint Great Sea, it can be fairly time-consuming.

So although I don't agree with those who say that finding aids are essential in heavily light-polluted surroundings, I certainly sympathize with them.

Dark skies are a totally different matter -- in that environment star-hopping is a piece of cake.

But that assumes that you have good visual skills with maps. It's something that I do -- either because I was born that way or from constant practice with terrestrial maps throughout my childhood. People who can't make sense of a conventional road map are likely to have at least equal problems with star maps.

Remember also that even at an otherwise pristine site, the full Moon washes out most of the reference stars.

Quote:

I regard it as the modern bane of the hobby, as it honestly places one at a great disadvantage in his observing efforts.




I know lots of experienced observers who are very good at star-hopping but still prefer to use Go To when available.

As for beginners, they seem to fall into two classes. Many (probably most) use Go To or setting circles as a way to avoid learning the sky -- just as many people who drive around using GPS units have no idea where they are in the broader scheme of things. As long as the GPS gets them to their destination, they're content not to know that they drove within a block of the most famous monument in their city.

But other beginners use these as aids to learning the sky. If you're inclined to learn the sky anyway, having Go To or setting circles to help you along and confirm your understanding can be very helpful.


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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Setting circles new [Re: js1976]
      #6489744 - 04/26/14 12:15 PM

Quote:

How many of you use setting circles to navigate with a dob? Appears to be an affordable way for a beginner to navigate vs a push or go to. All you do is level the base and line up with Polaris correct?


if it keeps you out there doin it go for it. i don't use them. i learned the old fashioned way, the old way. was it easy, no. but i persevered and learned it. i only use a telrad and red flashlight with a sky chart. but everyone to their own. you do what works for you. and yes, it would be an affordable way to find things versus push to or go-to. if you had a sky&telescope pocket atlas, i could talk to you on the phone for 20 minutes and you wouldn't need any of that other stuff either. sometimes an explanation is that's needed. feel free to send a private message, i'll explain it to ya.

Edited by gene 4181 (04/26/14 12:24 PM)


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rlmxracer
sage
*****

Reged: 11/09/11

Loc: Motocross Mecca (Riverside) , ...
Re: Setting circles new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6489749 - 04/26/14 12:18 PM

Bane of the hobby? Really? First off in order to use any goto or setting circles you need to at least learn the bright stars. This ends up being a stepping stone to learning the constilations. I started with a goto scope to keep my young son interested by always having a object in the fov. Now I've used digital assistance on our dob and in doing so have learned the sky pretty well. Star hopping is a skill that takes a while to learn. I've been at it almost 3years and am just starting to get confident in finding objects manually. I see goto and setting circles as aids to learning the sky and as a benefit help keep a rookies interest.

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kevinrr
member


Reged: 10/13/10

Loc: Morristown, TN
Re: Setting circles new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6489781 - 04/26/14 12:36 PM

I know that a lot of the old heads favor "learning the sky" intimately and using star charts and star hopping as a means to find what it is you're looking for. Of course, knowledge of the sky comes with time and experience, and these people are to be commended for their time spent in the hobby to get to a point where it is feasible for them to do it that way.

We are, however, in the "beginner" section of the forum, and by definition those who post here looking for guidance will lack that experience and ability. That should not be reflective of their intelligence or level of motivation to "learn the hobby", only of their current level of inexperience, right?

So with that said, what's with the "disapproval" you older guys have for computerized or manual coordinate locating systems? It seems to me as though you guys should be happy more people are engaging in the hobby *by any means*, rather than insisting that everyone do it the way you think it should be done (or thinking that they are not "doing it right" otherwise).

If you told me that your grandfather could build a house without using a measuring tape or square and have it come out level and square, does that mean that everyone should have to do it that way? Does that mean that those who ask about or use a measuring tape and square are being lazy or doing it wrong? The measuring tape is just a tool to help the average person achieve faster and more reliable results, right? How is that different from using setting circles or a goto scope? Whatever means are used to get the desired results should be perfectly acceptable.

You say you are able to star hop and locate DSO's and other specific objects quickly and easily. That's great for you. I found a good amount of difficulty in trying to star hop to faint objects (for me, "faint" being defined as anything mag8 or higher since I live in an orange zone and there are numerous street lights within 100 yards of my home). Sometimes I could get there and sometimes I couldn't even though I knew I was in the right area. Maybe you would think of it as laziness or frown on it, but I probably would have abandoned the hobby after a year or 2 if I had to rely solely on constellation maps and star hopping as a means to locate faint objects in the sky. It just didn't hold my interest and I felt like I was wasting time in a futile effort. I might spend a half hour or more trying to locate a single object. So after a couple of hours I would get bored and pack it in, having seen very little of what I set out to see.

The setting circle method has allowed a significant increase in my ability to locate objects and enjoy the hobby. It literally opened my eyes and probably increased my interest in the hobby tenfold. I expect that my experience as a beginner is similar to that of other beginners, thus my advice.

I do not think it is feasible to expect the majority of beginners to have your abilities, and if you expect them to take the time to learn them (which could require years of experience) they might become lost to the hobby. Let's face it...most young and middle aged people who might try to join the hobby today do not have a ton of spare time, so anything to help increase efficiency is going to be hugely beneficial. As for me personally, I do well to get 2-3 hours per week at the scope, so I'd like for that to count for as much as possible rather than holding myself to others' standards unnecessarily.

You're also overlooking the fact that as a user operates the goto/push-to system, they will eventually learn the sky anyway, but they will not become frustrated or bored in the meantime. This seems like a win-win for the hobby, so I don't understand the resistance.

Edited by kevinrr (04/26/14 12:43 PM)


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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Setting circles new [Re: rlmxracer]
      #6489842 - 04/26/14 01:10 PM

in all fairness, tony flanders didn't say bane to the hobby, it was brooks obs. i say if it keeps you out there doing it, at the eyepiece go for it. there's no right or wrong to this. your response is a great example of this, if a inclinometer and a setting circle on the base does it for you, that's great. if a cell phone and an app does it for you, god bless you. need a laptop to find it, no problem. what ever floats your boat. at least your out there at night doin it.

Edited by gene 4181 (04/26/14 01:49 PM)


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