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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5983112 - 07/21/13 02:29 PM

e.g. it's basically idiot-proof. Jon- try one out. It's really easy, and it never has the pitfall of going after stars blocked by trees or other obstructions.

-Rich


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5983149 - 07/21/13 02:45 PM

Quote:

e.g. it's basically idiot-proof. Jon- try one out. It's really easy, and it never has the pitfall of going after stars blocked by trees or other obstructions.

-Rich




Rich:

Gosh, I am not sure I could actually point the scope at three different stars, I would probably point it at the same star three times. I mean, I would have to look through the finder or something like that, right?

Actually, for me, this is all academic, a GOTO mount is like a motor on a bicycle, it ruins all the fun...

It is interesting to see the work around's that Celestron has come up with. Slewing about the sky with a hand controller is kind of lame but doable and it seems like this any three star thing would ease the pain.

Jon


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5983189 - 07/21/13 03:20 PM

Quote:

e.g. it's basically idiot-proof. Jon- try one out. It's really easy, and it never has the pitfall of going after stars blocked by trees or other obstructions.

-Rich




Yep, it doesn't go after blocked stars, since with SkyAlign, you use the HC to point at the three stars of your choice. Most of the folks I know with recent Celestron mounts prefer auto-two-star, but I tested SkyAlign when it came out and found it produced alignments every bit as good as the old north and level routine...

Edited by rmollise (07/21/13 03:25 PM)


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5983390 - 07/21/13 06:06 PM

In haven't been using the auto two star mode except in equatorial mode.

I kept two old hand controllers thinking I'd really miss level north, but it basically turned out not to matter.

Jon, my comment was the knowledge requirement is really low.

-Rich


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5983436 - 07/21/13 06:35 PM

Do you have to let the star drift into center when aligning, or does it track when in alt/az mode? Is it hard to time it to be "perfect" at really long FL if tracking is off?

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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Stew57]
      #5983462 - 07/21/13 06:51 PM

Celestron alt-az mounts don't track until the alignment is done. It has nothing to do with the alignment method, as a matter of fact.

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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5983519 - 07/21/13 07:29 PM

It would be nice if Celestron could use a terrestrial position as a starting position for alignment, after all, everyone else does, but is it worth $5M?

There's a lot of variations on the theme, for example iOptron uses a stating position of South and vertical but it's just the same.

Chris


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: cn register 5]
      #5983552 - 07/21/13 07:51 PM

Gday Chris

Quote:

There's a lot of variations on the theme, for example iOptron uses a stating position of South and vertical but it's just the same.




I have always found the "level / north" description to have been odd
( or it was designed to make it simple for users. )
In AltAz, Level and North really means Alt = Az = 0,
and is simply a dead reckoning start position for the first slew,
( which also works for both hemispheres using the same instructions ).
Ie in theory, you could even set your scope to do a "zero star" align,
and it would just reset the align datums to represent that start point.
You get the same result, ie the scope assumes a perfect mechanical
setup of its axles and just tracks.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5983602 - 07/21/13 08:29 PM

The old polar alignment scope with a three star alignment process works for me . After all , a slight bit of human interaction helps keep at least a few brain cells active .

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5983623 - 07/21/13 08:48 PM

Only problem is it doesnt work in altaz :-)
( which is the patent under discussion )

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5983631 - 07/21/13 08:51 PM

I have always liked the LNT on my ETX-125PE. On my LXD75s and non-LNT ETXs and DS-2000s I use the park function. I haven't done a full alignment in years. However, the absolute best GoTo that I own is my Atlas EQ-G with EQMOD. I recently started using SkyWire and I am hoping that it works as well. (I use EQMOD remotely and SkyWire locally.)

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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5983923 - 07/22/13 12:42 AM

Andrew, Celestron never referred to a North & Level routine. They developed a user- friendly Alt-AZ alignment procedure for the NexStar GPS scopes (emphasis on GPS) that did use north and level to locate az=0 and alt=0. GPS Align worked as follows:

Plunk the scope down anywhere
Power up
The scope automatically started to slew both axis to determine level and magnetic north via internal sensors
Whilst doing this, it was finding its lat-long and time from the GPS
With these factors known, it would automatically slew to an alignment star of its choosing

At this point there are two variables to be refined, magnetic deviation, the difference between magnetic and true north and whether the scope base is level. So the slew to the first star is a first approximation.

When the scope thought it was pointed at the alignment star, it needed human input. It asked the user to center the brightest star in the finder fov and press align. Then center the star in the scope and press align again.

The scope then slews to another alignment star of its choosing and asks the user to repeat the above. Probably takes 2 minutes overall.

Youre now good to go.

If your session is lengthy you can replace either of the 2 alignment stars when youve centered another one.

Anyway, there are always six ways to skin a cat. Im not aware of Meade using the procedure either before or after the lawsuit, which would be ironic. Someone should correct me if Im wrong.


Quote:

Gday Chris

Quote:

There's a lot of variations on the theme, for example iOptron uses a stating position of South and vertical but it's just the same.




I have always found the "level / north" description to have been odd
( or it was designed to make it simple for users. )
In AltAz, Level and North really means Alt = Az = 0,
and is simply a dead reckoning start position for the first slew,
( which also works for both hemispheres using the same instructions ).
Ie in theory, you could even set your scope to do a "zero star" align,
and it would just reset the align datums to represent that start point.
You get the same result, ie the scope assumes a perfect mechanical
setup of its axles and just tracks.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia




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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
*****

Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5983929 - 07/22/13 12:54 AM

Quote:

Im not aware of Meade using the procedure either before or after the lawsuit, which would be ironic. Someone should correct me if Im wrong.




The procedure you describe is a slightly simplified version (Meade checks level at three different azimuths) of the system used by Meade for the LX200/LX400(RCX)/LX600 models and for some enhanced LX90 versions. It includes the proprietary first alignment star slew but so did all Nexstar alt/ mounts, including the first in the series - the venerable Nexstar 5. It was that slew that had to be eliminated to cease infringement.


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5984013 - 07/22/13 03:39 AM

Gday Edd

Quote:

Andrew, Celestron never referred to a North & Level routine.




I dont fully understand the Meade patent on this,
as when i read that it was based on using a known point
as a dead reckoning start point,
i thought,
How can you patent that?
I always thought the Auto detection part was what they patented.

Quote:

Im not aware of Meade using the procedure




The procedure you list is exactly how Meades 2 star aligns work.
Ie scope "assumes" it started its alignment in a known start point
and creates a basic alignment model to suit that point and time.
Dead reckon slew to the first star and track,
user centres it ( this becomes datum 1 )
more refined slew to second star and track
user centres it ( this becomes datum 2 )
create a proper base error matrix to use for gotos and tracking
by comparing actual to theory for the datum 1 to datum 2 slew ONLY.
done.

Where it varies is what is human controlled and what isnt.
a) Meades full auto align finds north and level for you.
( It also has a calibration routine to allow you to do a localised
adjustment for the magnetic and level sensors if you want. )
It then auto selects the first star and slews
User centres star
It then auto selects second star and slews
User centres
Calcs matrix.
b) Easy align drops the full level dance portion
c) Manual 2 star, You do all setup and star selection manually.

As you note, lots of ways to skin the cat,
but basically, all the Meades use the same final mechanisms
"under the hood ".

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5984268 - 07/22/13 10:38 AM

The Celesctron version had a switch to tell it when the OTA was orthogonal to the arms starting from tube down, which, thinking on it, is a configuration the Meade scopes can't do. It didn't actually care about level; it was level if you leveled your tripod. The fork would then look for north and use the GPS position to make what was, at best, an approximate guess where the first star would be. You still had to figure out what it was attempting to point at to get it to the right object. It would then do a second one with fair accuracy.

So, all the LNT lawsuit bought was an initial vague star shot. In the big scheme of things, there were other, better ways to do this. If anything, I feel like the LNT lawsuit locked Meade into a mediocre alignment routine since they'd now invested $15 million and their future in it. It wasn't like there weren't good alternatives, or technology wasn't about to make that really redundant. A Pyrrhic victory if there ever was one.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5985045 - 07/22/13 08:05 PM

OK, so no new news from MITC I've been able to find today. Any way to figure out what they are up to?

-Rich


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5985061 - 07/22/13 08:18 PM

Gday Rich

Quote:

If anything, I feel like the LNT lawsuit locked Meade into a mediocre alignment routine




Not really, they just appear to have patented a means for inexperienced users to get a better shot at the first align star.
After that is centred, any form of alignment can be used
ie one star, two star or for gems 3 star.
and within each align type there can be different versions.
I suspect they no longer have anyone who knows how it works
( or could update it cost effectively )
and hence cant improve upon the basics :-)

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5985072 - 07/22/13 08:33 PM


Meade filed an 8-K today repeating their recommendation to shareholders to not sell their shares to MITC. They also repeated the $3.65/share price. So Meade think the MITC offer is still out there.

Meade will file a 14/9 that contains more detail and also cover better the Sunny offer, probably tomorrow.


Quote:

OK, so no new news from MITC I've been able to find today. Any way to figure out what they are up to?

-Rich




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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EddWen]
      #5985277 - 07/22/13 10:58 PM

Thanks, Edd.

This is all very peculiar in the way it works.

OzAndrew: G'Day. I can't argue with you. I suspect a lot of the guts of the systems from years ago became a "Gift from the gods" and no one really knows how to make them go, themselves. The add-on accessories in particular have acted a lot like that was going on.

-Rich


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Gil V
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/09/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5985307 - 07/22/13 11:23 PM

I've been following this thread for a couple of weeks now, and I'd like to say a couple of things.

First, since when does a telescope company have to be more than just about glass and metal? All this talk about multiple methods of aligning alt-az platforms via one star, two stars, etc. The people (us) who buy this type of equipment are all pretty well versed in celestial navigation, and would appreciate top-notch optics and mechanical performance above all else. If you want to add some servos and encoders, fine, but that is not what I am looking for. Those can be added later if required. The customer base that wants to spend $3000 on a scope but can't locate Polaris is not likely to have a desire to find NGC-XXXX.

Give me a lightweight 10" SCT that is diffraction limited. I'll find the California nebula on my own, thank you very much.

And as far as buying Meade? Forget it. We'd be better off pooling our resources and starting our own firm. We can call it Neade Telescopes.

Edited by Gil V (07/22/13 11:25 PM)


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