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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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broca
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/26/10

Loc: Ocala, FL
GoTo vs Setting Circles
      #4546431 - 04/26/11 08:54 PM

Is using a computer goto system really "worth" it. I'm just thinking with some practice one can locate DSO for photography with efficiency, especially if the mount is on a permanent pier. Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?

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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4546508 - 04/26/11 09:40 PM

You mention DSO photography. Most of what I do along those lines wouldn't work without goto. PolarAlignMax requires it. Any effective autofocus routine requires it. Changing targets without running out to the observatory requires it. Plate-solve-and- slew operations to complete a series of shots from a prior evening or to recover from a meridian flip require it. It's certainly "worth it" to me.

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Eddgie
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4546517 - 04/26/11 09:43 PM

If you have a good mount and it is permanantly aligned, and you have decent circles or Digital Setting Circles, and you have eliminated cone error in your mount, there really isn't any benefit Go To for IMAGEING.

For general observing, Go-To scopes do allow a better range of sweeping speeds, and have lots of catalogs and tours built into the handset, but if you know the coordinates of where you want to go, you can usually push to a lot faster than you can Go-To.


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Frank Boreas
member


Reged: 11/02/10

Loc: Northern Wisconsin
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4546530 - 04/26/11 09:46 PM

I guess it depends on your personality. I would compare it to doing mathematical equations.

Goto = scientific calculator

Digital setting circles = regular calculator

Analog setting circles = slide rule (does anyone remember the slide rule?)

Starhopping = pencil and paper

I'm a pencil and paper type of guy, but I'm old fashioned, passe, and outdated.

Regards,
Frank


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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4546991 - 04/27/11 02:20 AM

Quote:

Is using a computer goto system really "worth" it. I'm just thinking with some practice one can locate DSO for photography with efficiency, especially if the mount is on a permanent pier. Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?




Enjoy that popcorn, Steve

Regards,

skybsd


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Eddgie
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4547265 - 04/27/11 08:49 AM

Ah, yes, if you are REMOTE imaging, then it is mandatory.

Amateurs imaged for many decades without it though. If the mount is on a permanant pier as the OP said, and the operator is present in the observatory (not remote imaging), then Go-To isn't at all indespensible.

Clearly in your particular case it is mandatory though, and you bring up an excellent point in that respect.

Go-To makes it POSSIBLE to remotely image, which is a concept that the OP may not have considered.

Of course with the popcorn box, it occurs to me the OP really just wants to generate a discussion, so I think I'll go now.


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broca
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/26/10

Loc: Ocala, FL
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Eddgie]
      #4547293 - 04/27/11 09:13 AM

Thanks for the replies. Yes I am generating discussion BUT I am also mount shopping. I've been watching the Gemini II in Yahoo groups and started to wonder "how neccissary is goto"? Gemini II has a ways to go in development and is expensive. The G11 is a tried and true mount that I could use the rest of my imaging life. I'm sorry I added the popcorn icon, my bad.

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4547313 - 04/27/11 09:28 AM

I was a setting circle guy for many years. Mind I was not very active in observing the past several years.

Manual setting circles work fine. Heck star hopping works too.
Neither are anywhere near as convenient as GOTO though.

Neither are as expensive either or as potentially problem prone with software glitches and computer tomfoolery.

And I suppose "REAL" astrophotographers "don't need no steenkin' GOTO," nor "no steenkin' autoguiding" either.

GOTO is progress . . . get on board or be left behind.

I am having a blast with my G-11 Gemini II GOTO even in its present state of "immature" software.

But views through my C-11 are the same as ever . . . GOTO or no GOTO.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Eddgie]
      #4547320 - 04/27/11 09:33 AM

Setting circles are close to useless for practical purposes. Going from seeing something on a star map to the setting circles means finding objects in the field of view, which has to be large enough to encompass the object, even with setting circle pointing error on the order of a degree.

This is why no one talks about practicing setting circle alignment and interpolating coordinates off of maps to manually find objects; we do star hopping, where you go from clearly visible references to find objects.

GOTO is a capability multiplier. Going to a new object across the sky is a 30 second slew, and then you are there without breaking your photography setup. Without GOTO, you are looking at photographing 1 DSO in an evening, and a lot if your time will have been burned off getting aligned and finding it. With GOTO, you may be able to get good data for half a dozen. It has been pointed out the advent of GOTO was where the astronomy community stopped talking about how to find objects and started talking about how to get better images of them.

-Rich


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telescopemullet
professor emeritus
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Reged: 11/16/09

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4548156 - 04/27/11 05:12 PM

Interms of looking at objects ASAP without hassle, I love the GOTO ability of my CPC. Also great for the piggybacking camera viewing I enjoy. At the same time, I am re-learning the sky using the setting circles on my new Optic-Craft and love it too. Sure, last night I could not find a darned thing but last night was about trying to rough tune my setting circles, and I stumbled upon a bunch 0f cool double starts I never would have bothered with in the process. This is the way I found stuff back in the 70s with my C8 and I had no problem back then, and I knew the night sky alot better too by having to learn it.

I like both.


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4549395 - 04/28/11 11:04 AM

Steve,
I'll jump in with both feet! I started with a 3" Western Auto cardboard alt/az, no slo-mo, no steenkin cables. Couldn't find the house next door. I dumped that for a DS114. I graduated to a Vixen GP with slo-mo cables added mt-1 motor so I could track. I then went to an LXD55 with Autostar, nice to be able to goto. Upgraded that to a G11, lost goto, installed Digital Setting Circles & a Sky Commander-4; tracked better, carried more, but slower getting where I wanted to be. I had increased observing time with Goto. I've looked at a bunch of them, I'm going Gemini2, it "should" be in sometime in May. The Firmware might even be done by then too.
IMO Goto takes longer to setup correctly (polar/drift alignment is critical) but makes observing/imaging faster. Setting circles are faster (PA not as critical) to setup but slower to locate and not as accurate. For a quick evening out in the boonies Setting Circles, longer than an evening or Imaging, then GoTo.

StarT


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Startraffic]
      #4549642 - 04/28/11 01:02 PM

Everyone loves the convenience of go-to until it quits working. When go-to mounts fail and owners try to get them fixed, they often learn that the manufacturers really don't share their concerns, can't or won't repair them, and no longer even stock parts for them. Chalk it up to planned obsolesence. The various general and brand or model-specific fora on CN are full of posts relating to the electronic or mechanical failures of go-to mounts. Read 'em and weep.

Setting circles aren't for everybody, because the use of them requires just a bit of thought and effort. They're unfailingly reliable, though, and accurate enough -- assuming they're well-made -- to quickly put objects in the eyepiece. That's good enough for me.


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: ColoHank]
      #4549673 - 04/28/11 01:15 PM

As far as after sales support I wouldn't say that is accurate and fair for all GOTO capable mount manufacurers.

As to the original post I say why not give it a try? The worth it part only needs to be worth it to you, and to a point depending on how you intend to image and what to do it with, no reason I can think that it wouldn't work?


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #4549811 - 04/28/11 02:20 PM

Quote:

As far as after sales support I wouldn't say that is accurate and fair for all GOTO capable mount manufacurers.






I wouldn't say that either, and I didn't.

What I did say is that it's often the case that manufacturers don't back-up their products. Again, read the laments in CN of those who have experienced problems with their go-to mounts and have been unable to have them resolved satisfactorily. In many instances, that's why they post here; they've reached an impasse with the manufacturer, and they're looking elsewhere for help, advice and/or spare parts.


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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05

Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Frank Boreas]
      #4550161 - 04/28/11 05:47 PM

Quote:

Starhopping = pencil and paper





Now you're talking my speed...I still use a 40 year old Norton's Star Atlas (I bought extra copies for emergency) + the Burnham's Guides for my observatory's 8" D&G refractor.The only electric anything I use is the eq drive...and I'd use one of the antique weight driven ones given the chance and skill


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Trev
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/18/05

Loc: Fort McMurray, AB
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: bluestar]
      #4550660 - 04/28/11 10:38 PM

I'm strictly a visual observer but use both systems and enjoy using either one.

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WarrenS
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/04/08

Loc: Orange County New York
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: Trev]
      #4550714 - 04/28/11 11:16 PM

Everyone is different. I was in and way more often out of astronomy for 40 years or so. Star hopping was laborious and setting circles got me somewhat close to my intended target. Since attaching my digital camera to my scope and purchasing a goto mount three years ago I'm pretty addicted to astronomy like never before. I personally would never use a non goto mount agin.

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AhBok
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/02/10

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: broca]
      #4550774 - 04/28/11 11:55 PM

For a several decades, I used EQ setting circles to find most objects. I'm glad for the experience and the setting circles helped me learn the sky. I'm not terribly good at star hopping except for perhaps the 100 or so more common and brighter objects. I use DSCs on my Discmounts DM-4 and really love them. I have homemade alt az circles on my dob and with my Palm Pilot can find pretty much anything within its range.

Goto is nice, especially for imaging, but for visual I prefer simpler setups.

AhBok


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AhBok
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/02/10

Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: ColoHank]
      #4550794 - 04/29/11 12:07 AM

Quote:

What I did say is that it's often the case that manufacturers don't back-up their products.




Yes, indeed. In 1999, I bought the beautiful Ultima 2000. Two years later it was obsolete and parts were scarce. In 2001, I got the Nexstar 11 GPS and a couple of years later, ditto. Still, I didn't learn my lesson and got a CGE mount which is now discontinued. No more goto mounts for me from the in-stock-off-the-shelf guys. I'd probably trust a Losmandy and would definitely go for a Tak, Bisque or A-P mount, but no more M or C (or Synta/clones) goto mounts for me unless I buy one expecting it to only last a few years before being discontinued and obsolete. I hope others experiences are better, but I've given up and prefer simpler/modular gear.

AhBok


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broca
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/26/10

Loc: Ocala, FL
Re: GoTo vs Setting Circles new [Re: AhBok]
      #4551209 - 04/29/11 09:08 AM

Thanks to all for you replies. I have been looking at the Losmandy G-11 and would feel confident in that purchase given the MOUNTS track record, but I still want to see how the Gemini II turns out. I am hopeful that it will be a winner. But if it is not, there will always be the setting circles, hence my OP.
Thanks again the CN community is a wealth of knowledge.


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