Getting back into astronomy, I thought I'd want a goto mount and a large aperture, but this thread sold me on the OneSky. Learning the night sky has been a real pleasure, one that I think I would have missed with a goto. I wanted to share my current setup to recap many of the great suggestions I’ve learned in this thread.
First, I made the obligatory light shield (mine is heavy artist paper, which has held up fine, but will eventually get replaced by Kydex). I used Chapstick to make the focus smooth, and added a 1 1/2" flexible coupler/compression fitting to fine tune the turn resistance. An extended arm (long screw with plastic tubing) really helps with fine focusing (as Lazaroff recently explained); I can get very close to focus on any given eyepiece by position alone, and it's much easier to find and set in the dark.
I added a green Pitny laser to the red-dot shoe with a small adapter (20mm to 11mm). Once aligned, it’s never strayed and has had no problem in 20 degree weather. Flicking on for a 1/4 second, I can get very close to any target. I appreciate the warnings about aircraft (and star parties), but for me, it’s so much better than the red-dot finder.
Some small gray plastic caps (used on the exposed ends of metal shelving) added to the longer set screws on the primary mirror keep them from denting the tabletop mount, or catching in the carry case.
What really makes it travel worthy, is a Stellarvue M1V mount (thanks will_s!), on a Manfrotto 190 Go tripod.
I thought this combination might be a compromise of stability for weight, but I’ve been really pleased with how solid it is, and how easy to use even without slow motion controls. Best of all, the scope, and mount fit easily in a Vivitar VIV-RGC-12 case (h/t to The Opportune Astronomer).
A 6” compass mounted on a plastic lid and cut to fit the Manfrotto mount head, along with a digital inclinometer for alt settings, make this close to a goto setup. I put it on close to north using the small white tape, then align to Polaris and set the ring.
I modified the Stellarvue with a compression ring for a little added security. It allowed me to make an azimuth pointer (that folds) and friction screw to counteract any tendency of wind to turn the scope. I also added a bubble level and small red light to easily check the Az setting.
The Stellarvue/Manfrotto combination is very flexible, allowing standing and sitting viewing with full Alt movement. A Helix travel chair also fits in the case.
I can have the whole thing setup and ready for viewing in less than five minutes. It’s hard to imagine more scope for the space than the OneSky. Thanks again for everyone's great ideas and inspiration!