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Dennis_S253
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: Setting circles new [Re: gene 4181]
      #6489952 - 04/26/14 02:03 PM

I used setting circles on my B&L 4" SCT for years. I thought it was great. I was really good at it. I don't know if it really helped me to learn the night sky though. I would set the scope up and get Polaris zeroed in. Check a couple stars to see if everything was good and start looking by using the setting circles. I could find M13 or 92 and never know I was in Hercules. I found what I was looking for though. I also don't have a bunch of time as I get up at 5:30 everyday to be at work by 7:00. So I get to look on Friday and Saturday if the weather is nice. Learning the night sky is nice to do. I'm not sure if it as important as it was 2000 years ago though. Use whatever makes you happy. It is nice to look at Leo and say Wow, There's some nice Galaxy's not to far from that star right there. It's also nice when your talking to someone that is a Leo "born" and they have never seen the constellation. They have no idea how big it is. Again, if your looking that's great. Do whatever makes you happy.

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Abhat
sage
*****

Reged: 12/14/13

Loc: Middletown, MD
Re: Setting circles new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #6490064 - 04/26/14 02:50 PM

I personally found setting circles quite confusing. I had to have a light shining on the circle as well as on the Altimeter. Then I had to have my laptop with me see current alt-az reading. Laptop screwed my night vision. Then if you are still not in 1 deg accuracy I could still not find the object unless you had a wide field scope. I never used setting circles for more than a day.

Then I added a Telard to the 9X50 RACI. That was a magical synergy. Learnt the constellations, bought a few books and learned star hopping and no problems so far. In fact exploring the sky is so much fun.

I would still love to get the computerized Go-to system someday mainly for tracking and finding extremely faint objects that are not visible through 9X50. With tracking you don't have to keep nudging the scope every few seconds.


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SkipW
sage


Reged: 02/03/11

Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6490950 - 04/26/14 10:52 PM

Quote:

... 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



A large scope on an alt-az mount isn't a "gizmo"?


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: kevinrr]
      #6491309 - 04/27/14 06:19 AM

Quote:

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.




I was a beginner not so very long ago -- I can remember it quite well. Go To scopes were available, but not very practical for me due to cost and size. Digital setting circles weren't widely available, and would have had many of the same problems. So I found my way around the sky by star-hopping simply because it seemed like the easiest and most obvious way to do so.

I do not remember it as being hard at all -- I was finding tons of stuff right off the bat.

Exactly why this wasn't the case for you is an interesting question. Perhaps you approached it wrong, without the appropriate tools and techniques. Perhaps light pollution is more of a problem for you -- though I do live very near the center of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in North America, deep inside the white zone. Perhaps your visual memory, spatial sense, and map-reading skills aren't as good.

Quote:

So with that said, what's with the "disapproval" you older guys have for computerized or manual coordinate locating systems?




Interesting question. I think there are a bunch of motivations, some laudable some much less so. More on this below.

Quote:

It seems to me as though you guys should be happy more people are engaging in the hobby *by any means*




I couldn't agree more!

Quote:

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?




I don't think that is an accurate analogy. In fact, you can't build a house well without a measuring tape and square. These tools have been used since prehistory. If I didn't have them, my first step would be to make them -- which wouldn't be particularly difficult.

Would an ancient Egyptian pyramid builder feel resentful that we now can buy superb squares and measuring tapes at our local stores? Maybe a little, but mostly he would just consider these to be the same tools that he was using, but better.

Likewise, Go To is just an improved version of setting circles -- which, by the way, have been in widespread use for well over a century. Anybody who praises setting circles and denigrates Go To is highly inconsistent. All that Go To does is take the drudge work out of setting circles; you're still approaching the sky in the same way.

However, people who use either setting circles or Go To are approaching the sky in a totally different way from people who star-hop. It's a matter of working from the inside out rather than the outside in. Not only the process but the end result is profoundly different.

If you find a galaxy in the Virgo Cluster by star-hopping, you know deep down in your gut that it is inside a massive aggregation of galaxies lying in the same part of the sky. And a little bit of reflection will make it clear that it's no accident that this is far from the plane of the Milky Way.

If you find two Virgo galaxies by looking up the coordinates of their NGC numbers, each one is a specialty item -- an island universe. You could view dozens of galaxies that way before it vaguely dawns on you that they might be related.

This is even more true in the Milky Way, where nebulae and star clusters form a continuum to the star-hopper.

So part of the reason that star-hoppers complain about setting-circle users is a sense that you're missing out something truly valuable and wonderful -- the big picture. And worse, you have no idea what you're missing.

I feel exactly the same about the younger generation of drivers who have never known any way to get anywhere except using GPS. Their worlds are tiny -- just the little bubble around their cars that's shown on the GPS screen. They don't have any idea how things fit together in two dimensions -- don't even quite realize that there are two dimensions.

Quote:

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.




That's great! I wish you well.

Quote:

You're also overlooking the fact that as a user operates the goto/push-to system, they will eventually learn the sky anyway.




I wish it were so, but that is quite obviously not the case. Some Go To users do indeed learn the sky and end up at the same place as star-hoppers, but by a different route. But for many, the sky remains forever a disjointed collection of island universes.

What about the less worthy complaints of star-hoppers about Go To and setting circles? Well, there's obviously at least a little element of "sour grapes." I had to work hard when I was a kid, he isn't working hard -- grr, grr, there must be something wrong.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Setting circles new [Re: kevinrr]
      #6491503 - 04/27/14 10:02 AM

Quote:

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.




+1 An excellent post!

I started the lengthy "Degree Circle" thread in Equipment as a novice in using a telescope. David of the "Halo" said that thread encouraged him to market his product. I don't think it matters how a person views the night skies; whatever "system" they are using, if it gives them the satisfaction of finding targets, and allows them to enjoy our spectacular night sky; then there is no right or wrong way to observe. These added observing aids simply makes it easier, especially for newcomers to start observing; but don't kid yourselves, they work equally as well for seasoned observers. We all should remember our first view thru our telescope, and how intimidating it was to find something in the night sky!


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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Setting circles new [Re: gene 4181]
      #6491578 - 04/27/14 10:52 AM

to all the previous respondents, i learned the old fashioned method with a twist of sorts. there is a book called the messier marathon by harv pennington. it helped me find stuff by scaling the approximate location using a telrad. its a easy way of finding things. i don't even use a optical finder. if you would like an explanation of it, how it works send me a private message with your phone number, i'll explain it. i will call.

Edited by gene 4181 (04/27/14 11:26 AM)


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Setting circles new [Re: kevinrr]
      #6491735 - 04/27/14 12:32 PM

Quote:

...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).






Allow me to offer my views on why old-hands like myself look rather disapprovingly at the approach so many newcomers have with their unwillingness to bother thoroughly learning the sky first.

Lacking a firm knowledge of the constellations leaves the would-be observer largely impotent to carry out his nightís observing plans should some aspect of his circles/push-to/GoTo approach decide to malfunction (or he never bothers to learn how to use them properly in the first place). How many times Iíve seen that situation played out at star parties has been far more than most here might imagine.

Then, too, Iíve countless times set up side-by-side with folks having these wonderful GoTo or similar scopes and found myself having been gainfully observing objects for thirty, or more, minutes before my companions have managed to set up their fancy scopes well enough to get them operating properly. Coming from a region of the U.S. where clear skies are increasingly at a premium and often lasting only a portion of the night anyway, to say the least that leaves me and others long in the tooth very unimpressed with todayís crop of hobbyists and their gear.

Have todayís would-be amateur astronomers truly become so tech driven and in need of instant gratification when trying out their newest hobby pursuit they feel any extra personal effort to accomplish it might slow them down in gaining the end result, Or is it simply regarded by most as just too much effort? I simply don't understand this new mentallity, one that seems to apply to all sorts of hobbies these days. If one thinks that the new approach is so advantageous, take the time to peruse some of my previous recent posts regarding just how much more the "just average" amateur astronomer knew and was capable of a generation ago. Then see how many hobby friends, or club members, are at that same level of sophistication as observers today. I regard the outcome of such comparisons as generally rather depressing myself.

P.S. Learning the sky well does not require spending years at it as a hobbyist. It took me just about one year to learn the sky to a level allowing me to find virtually anything I desired using star-hopping and simple hand-traced paper charts. Most of my colleagues, too. It's called having a real interest in the subject and that's what has kept us in it for decades.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (04/27/14 05:46 PM)


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Abhat
sage
*****

Reged: 12/14/13

Loc: Middletown, MD
Re: Setting circles new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6491812 - 04/27/14 01:25 PM

This is exactly what happened to me last week. While looking at M53 and then Mars, I came across a Galaxy minefield in Virgo. It was quite an experience to see so many Galaxies tightly packed. I had seen Leo's triplet a few times but this was one step above.

Same experience with Sagittarius. Messier galore. No matter where you slew your scope you are met with awe when you see those clusters and nebulae all in one constellation.

I am not sure if that had happened if I was using the go-to.


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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Setting circles new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6492399 - 04/27/14 06:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

...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).






Allow me to offer my views on why old-hands like myself look rather disapprovingly at the approach so many newcomers have with their unwillingness to bother thoroughly learning the sky first.

Lacking a firm knowledge of the constellations leaves the would-be observer largely impotent to carry out his nightís observing plans should some aspect of his circles/push-to/GoTo approach decide to malfunction (or he never bothers to learn how to use them properly in the first place). How many times Iíve seen that situation played out at star parties has been far more than most here might imagine.

Then, too, Iíve countless times set up side-by-side with folks having these wonderful GoTo or similar scopes and found myself having been gainfully observing objects for thirty, or more, minutes before my companions have managed to set up their fancy scopes well enough to get them operating properly. Coming from a region of the U.S. where clear skies are increasingly at a premium and often lasting only a portion of the night anyway, to say the least that leaves me and others long in the tooth very unimpressed with todayís crop of hobbyists and their gear.

Have todayís would-be amateur astronomers truly become so tech driven and in need of instant gratification when trying out their newest hobby pursuit they feel any extra personal effort to accomplish it might slow them down in gaining the end result, Or is it simply regarded by most as just too much effort? I simply don't understand this new mentallity, one that seems to apply to all sorts of hobbies these days. If one thinks that the new approach is so advantageous, take the time to peruse some of my previous recent posts regarding just how much more the "just average" amateur astronomer knew and was capable of a generation ago. Then see how many hobby friends, or club members, are at that same level of sophistication as observers today. I regard the outcome of such comparisons as generally rather depressing myself.

P.S. Learning the sky well does not require spending years at it as a hobbyist. It took me just about one year to learn the sky to a level allowing me to find virtually anything I desired using star-hopping and simple hand-traced paper charts. Most of my colleagues, too. It's called having a real interest in the subject and that's what has kept us in it for decades.

BrooksObs


brooks obs. everything has changed. its never going to be the way it was. what makes you think they don't have a real interest in it?

Edited by gene 4181 (04/27/14 07:48 PM)


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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Setting circles new [Re: gene 4181]
      #6492659 - 04/27/14 08:50 PM

Oh boy.. This is almost as bad as the religion vs science, I mean, cosmos thread. Juuuust kidding. Sorta.

I'm a starhopping fan..it's a major part of the fun for me, not a waste of time at all. I suppose if somebody with limited time sees that as a waste of time, well, they have different priorities. I see it as such an integral aspect of the hobby, I see people without that ability as not fully enjoying all there is to the hobby. Some may disagree, but if you don't know how, you just don't know how much truth there is to that since you haven't experienced it.

There's definitely a large percentage of hobbyists who have no clue how to read charts.. I've noticed this in the short time that I've been at this: In any given astronomy event or star party I've been to, I'm in the minority of folks who can find things on their own. Even Most of the big dobs have setting circles I've seen. Reading charts, that's what really makes you learn the sky fast, traversing it.. Looking at almost all the objects along the way to your destination... Its so effective that I just start remembering where things are and constellation shapes without even trying, it's kind of neat if all I did was goto I'd have to force myself to remember where things are as an academic exercise.. As opposed to a starhopper just getting familiar with the neighborhood as I slowly move through it. It surely would be more time consuming and perhaps less fun that way if I had to make myself look at and memorize constellation shapes and relationships... The large percentage of goto users who don't know the sky well speaks for itself.

In fact I've been wondering...

I often see people learning to starhop talk about learning how to starhop to a particular object... And then they'll talk about starhopping to another Object...each hop with different specific directions... I sometimes wonder if this approach comes from goto user mentality. To starhop what's needed is map reading skills, as has been said.. Lots of people appear hung up on specific directions for specific objects.. If you learn to read star charts, you can find ANYTHING with confidence, even if it's not visible from your scope or location, you can be sure you are looking at the right location. Goto can't even guarantee that it seems like a handicapped way to approach the skill. Learning to look at a map and correlate that to what you see in the sky or through the scope.l that's the place to start (IMO, it's worked very well, relatively quickly for me).

If you're busy and only want to look, then yes! It's still great you're doing that! But there is much more fun and satisfaction to be had exploring ! It's unfortunate the culture as a whole seems to be moving more and more to shorter and shorter attention spans.. One things for sure about starhopping though, it might take a while to get the hang of, but once you learn it you can find objects pretty easily and speedily.

And yes, There's no reason to give people a hard time because they don't have time to learn to starhop. I really can't agree that there are good reasons for not learning to do so however,.. If I could get any one of my family outside via a goto system I would ENSURE we had a goto system within days. Alas, it's not to be as I have had a few goto mounts... No luck.


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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Setting circles new [Re: lamplight]
      #6492696 - 04/27/14 09:15 PM

not to imply people who don't starhop have short attention spans! Many many people report lack of time as a reason for relying on goto, Was just wondering if it's a factor for some.

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rowdy388
sage


Reged: 04/09/13

Loc: Saratoga County, NY
Re: Setting circles new [Re: lamplight]
      #6493020 - 04/27/14 11:59 PM

I've learned the constellations and star hopped since my first 60mm refractor 40 yrs ago and still do today but with nicer equipment. I think hoppers are more attuned to the cosmos. We are not just interested in specific eye candy Messiers but we want to know the layout of the heavens. Knowing the constellations is part of my personal connection to the overall beauty of the night sky.

When I see the milky way in midsummer on a clear night I am blown away. I do not grab my telescopes. (while they are cooling anyway) I look up at the Northern Cross, the Summer Triangle, the great rift, and then pick out all the constellations and get as much joy from that as at the eyepiece later. Something about the rapport I feel knowing the heavens that makes the more intimate closeups later that much special. Just the way I approach the hobby.

Probably a lot of people can't relate to what I tried to describe. In most people's light polluted skies the majority these days just see a washed out version of the sky and learning the sky may not be practical. Sad to see many will never feel that connection.
Regards, Dave Y


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6493244 - 04/28/14 05:31 AM

Quote:

Allow me to offer my views on why old-hands like myself look rather disapprovingly at the approach so many newcomers have with their unwillingness to bother thoroughly learning the sky first.

Lacking a firm knowledge of the constellations leaves the would-be observer largely impotent to carry out his nightís observing plans should some aspect of his circles/push-to/GoTo approach decide to malfunction . . .

Then, too, Iíve countless times set up side-by-side with folks having these wonderful GoTo or similar scopes and found myself having been gainfully observing objects for thirty, or more, minutes before my companions have managed to set up their fancy scopes well enough to get them operating properly . . .




It seems to me that both of those are criticisms of specific models of Go To scopes rather than of Go To scopes in general. What you're really saying is that Go To scopes don't work as they're supposed to, not that there's anything inherently wrong with Go To itself.

For what it's worth, the technology has improved dramatically in the last decade. Go To scopes are much easier to set up and use now than they used to be. I suspect that if you were to attend a modern star party, you would rarely see those problems.

Consider automobiles as an analogy. Back when autos were first invented, they were balky and unreliable. Drivers could be left stranded when, as you put it, "some aspect of the motorized approach decides to malfunction." And in cold weather, cranking the car could be very time-consuming and sometimes ineffective; a pedestrian might be halfway along to his destination before the driver ever got the car started.

But all those problems have been overcome. Cars now start with the flip of a key, and people expect them to function flawlessly for hundreds of hours on end -- which they do.

Are you really sure that what you stated is the true basis of your objection? Would you withdraw the objection if Go To scopes could be reliable aligned in seconds by first-time users, and if Go To could be expected to operate flawlessly for hundreds of hours, as cars do?


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combatdad
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/28/12

Loc: Culpeper, VA
Re: Setting circles new [Re: rowdy388]
      #6493315 - 04/28/14 07:33 AM

Quote:

I've learned the constellations and star hopped since my first 60mm refractor 40 yrs ago and still do today but with nicer equipment. I think hoppers are more attuned to the cosmos. We are not just interested in specific eye candy Messiers but we want to know the layout of the heavens. Knowing the constellations is part of my personal connection to the overall beauty of the night sky.

When I see the milky way in midsummer on a clear night I am blown away. I do not grab my telescopes. (while they are cooling anyway) I look up at the Northern Cross, the Summer Triangle, the great rift, and then pick out all the constellations and get as much joy from that as at the eyepiece later. Something about the rapport I feel knowing the heavens that makes the more intimate closeups later that much special. Just the way I approach the hobby.

Probably a lot of people can't relate to what I tried to describe. In most people's light polluted skies the majority these days just see a washed out version of the sky and learning the sky may not be practical. Sad to see many will never feel that connection.
Regards, Dave Y




+1 Dave. Been observing for some 57 years since age 9, pretty much all with alt-az mounts. A week ago had an opportunity to get out to a dark sky site and spent most of the time just "counting stars". It's a great reminder sometimes just how much beauty you can see with the naked eye.

Dave


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Setting circles new [Re: combatdad]
      #6493710 - 04/28/14 11:56 AM

"brooks obs. everything has changed. its never going to be the way it was. what makes you think they don't have a real interest in it?" - gene4181

"Are you really sure that what you stated is the true basis of your objections? Would you withdraw the objection if Go To scopes could be reliable aligned in seconds by first-time users, and if Go To could be expected to operate flawlessly for hundreds of hours, as cars do?" - Tony


Let me respond to these questions in turn and excuse me if I am perhaps just a bit blunt in doing so.

Yes, I totally agree that things have changed. However, from what I see they certainly have not changed for the better. Hobbyists today seem largely just a group of weekend dabblers hopelessly lost without equipment that will do most everything for them. For anyone perusing these threads the listing below most of the signatures reveals today's obsession with gear, not any reflection of the observer's own abilities.

And that's where the change in the hobby is the most obvious. While we've always had a segment of hobbyists who were simply casual observers (nothing wrong with that overall) pursuing astronomy simply as light entertainment, today this and repetitious astrophotography seem to be virtually the entire direction of the hobby. The truly knowledgeable enthusiasts who are not simply gawking at objects their scopes locate unassisted for them number but a fraction of what once was. The count of U.S. participants in the hobby's traditional organizations dedicated to some form of observing in a worthwhile manner is dwindling. Some of these once popular organizations have already met their demise. Yet, in contrast, the number of more traditional amateur astronomers and the popularity of that approach seems to be growing steadily throughout the remainder of the world! America is becoming the hobby's backwater except for gear.

So in my view while instrumentation has unquestionably taken great strides forward over the past two decades, the abilities of those employing it has mainly moved us in quite the opposite direction. From all that I have read and seen, I have to regard the hobby today more than anything else as most resembling what it was between the 20th century's two great wars and only a pale shadow of where it stood as a far more sophisticated pursuit just two, or three, decades ago.


Tony questions whether I am sure about my misgivings concerning GoTo technology? You bet I am! I do get around to various astronomical functions and am very much aware what this technology has done to hobbyists. These days I see more than just a few folks around me in the dark at these gatherings unable to even properly ID their GoTo alignment stars! I cringe when I hear someone nearby asking, "Where's Vega?" Others fail to get their mounts reasonably level, or properly aligned with north if Polaris should happen to be obscured and curse when their scopes can not center on the right field if it's well either side of the meridian.

However, if we can get GoTo scopes that will indeed be totally autonomous and will surmount such difficulties today's observers encounter, won't that be great? Certainly, we are on our way to these. In fact, some high-end examples are here right now. But does that solve all the problems, or will it just reduce the so-called "observer" even further, to nothing more than a clueless drone lacking any knowledge of the heavens? Will we then still have the right to be considered an amateur astronomer? What would be the difference between us and any ordinary man off the street, beyond owning a telescope? Is our hobby really about being nothing but a mere "witness"? This future prospect doesn't exactly excite me, Tony.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (04/28/14 12:00 PM)


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howard929
Member
*****

Reged: 01/02/11

Loc: Low End of High Ground
Re: Setting circles new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6494067 - 04/28/14 03:02 PM

Quote:



SNIP

But does that solve all the problems, or will it just reduce the so-called "observer" even further, to nothing more than a clueless drone lacking any knowledge of the heavens? Will we then still have the right to be considered an amateur astronomer? What would be the difference between us and any ordinary man off the street, beyond owning a telescope? Is our hobby really about being nothing but a mere "witness"? This future prospect doesn't exactly excite me, Tony.

BrooksObs




Staying current with this thread I was wondering about something. But now I see where you're coming from.

Climb down from your high horse, the ladder you used to get yourself that great distance above us is still there. It's right where you left it.


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stargazer424
sage


Reged: 10/03/05

Loc: Central NJ
Re: Setting circles new [Re: howard929]
      #6494073 - 04/28/14 03:05 PM

I do! I made my own after reading the Degree Circles thread.



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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: Setting circles new [Re: stargazer424]
      #6494238 - 04/28/14 04:28 PM

Ok... Chiming in here. I started as a GOTO guy because I am in a red/white LP zone and to star hop was very very difficult for the amount of time I had to observe. Now I am very much wanting to transition to star hopping. There is something very appealing in the simplicity and elegance of a Telrad, finder, and EP. Perhaps I am being overly naive and a romantic but the quote "A tall ship and a star to steer her by" from John Masefield's poem "Sea Fever" sums it up quite nicely.

My next scope will be one that has no GOTO and will be setup so I can go to a dark(er) site for hopping. It will be Alt/Az which is also a departure for me. And leads to my question. Is the only simple way to translate the RA Dec values I find in The Pocket Star Atlas via Stellarium or other computer based option or is there something else? My goal is to use PSA and the combination of Telrad and finder as much as possible and would like to do it without having to use a calculator or other device with a chip in it or having to pencil out the Celestial Trig equations. As I said stupid question but I can't wrap my little bean head around the transition from EQ to Alt/Az and don't have the option to use a EQ mount since said scope will be a big Dob... Thank you for the help.


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lpn678
super member


Reged: 02/02/14

Loc: Western NY
Re: Setting circles new [Re: dr.who]
      #6494263 - 04/28/14 04:46 PM

I'm going to make my own setting circles, that way I can measure the positions of objects and begin to make my own charts!



Just kidding.

I decided to forgo setting circles at the beginning predominantly to minimize my upfront costs. I may end up making my own at some point, but star hopping isn't that hard with my RACI finder and a decent chart. It takes a little bit of time still, but its nice to find an object all by yourself. I typically use my binoculars to try to find new objects, then follow the same star hopping path with my finder. I'll get a telrad soon to make finding my initial guide star that much easier.


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rowdy388
sage


Reged: 04/09/13

Loc: Saratoga County, NY
Re: Setting circles new [Re: dr.who]
      #6494370 - 04/28/14 05:44 PM

Quote:

Ok... Chiming in here. I started as a GOTO guy because I am in a red/white LP zone and to star hop was very very difficult for the amount of time I had to observe. Now I am very much wanting to transition to star hopping. There is something very appealing in the simplicity and elegance of a Telrad, finder, and EP. Perhaps I am being overly naive and a romantic but the quote "A tall ship and a star to steer her by" from John Masefield's poem "Sea Fever" sums it up quite nicely.

My next scope will be one that has no GOTO and will be setup so I can go to a dark(er) site for hopping. It will be Alt/Az which is also a departure for me. And leads to my question. Is the only simple way to translate the RA Dec values I find in The Pocket Star Atlas via Stellarium or other computer based option or is there something else? My goal is to use PSA and the combination of Telrad and finder as much as possible and would like to do it without having to use a calculator or other device with a chip in it or having to pencil out the Celestial Trig equations. As I said stupid question but I can't wrap my little bean head around the transition from EQ to Alt/Az and don't have the option to use a EQ mount since said scope will be a big Dob... Thank you for the help.



You can forget ALT/AZ when star hopping. Don't need to use it. The darker your sky the easier to hop. A pocket sky atlas, red flashlight, a Telrad, RACI finder, and a wide field eyepiece are good tools to use.

The "tricks" or shortcuts to star-hopping is to learn and use several different techniques. Actual hopping from a bright known star to your target actually takes the longest time. Most often we can visually triangulate the target and find it in seconds.

Don't have much time to observe? Star-hopping takes practice but you can see a lot of stuff in a short period of time once you get the hang of it. Finding new targets in an unfamiliar part of a constellation takes more time but the beauty there is you often find cool new stuff on your way to the target.
Regards, Dave Y


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