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Refractor vs SCT

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#201 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 10:14 PM

 

 

I've discovered that electricity and astronomy can mix.  I use electricity in my red lights, Telrad, illuminated RACI finder, tablet with Sky Safari Pro, goto/tracking mount, dew controller, primary fan on Newts.  No problem.  Without electricity, I might as well never go to a dark site.  What's one more gizmo on the juice?

 

I think you answered the question.  As you already stated...without the electricity crutch, you will not observe at dark sites!  So that's what one more gizmo on the juice does.  And after some time more it becomes a domino effect, the tracking mount won't work and you will be saying no use in observing tonight! 

 

Of course I don't use GPS either as I prefer to use memorized maps, deduced reckoning, and my gut.  Try to fall back on electronics in the field only when everything else fails.  But that's just me...I figure as long as the brain is still working that I should us it as not sure how long it will stay that way  :lol:

 

 

I meant that literally.  Without electricity, I might as well never go to a dark site because even the simplest level of amateur astronomy needs electricity.  Unless, of course, you memorize the location of every object you plan on observing!  Not so hard if you never observe any new objects.  But I like to observe about 20 new objects every trip to my dark site.  That gets a little difficult without some kind of memory aid.

 

Even if you use printed star charts, you're going to need electricity.  After all, there is electricity in those little batteries in the red light flashlights. Well, sometimes at home for grab-n-go observing I just take out a scope and have at it without light, without star charts, nothing but my scope, my memory and the sky. No problem if you're only going to look at the Moon, bright planets and a few double stars.  Even so, I probably know the location of a couple hundred DSO.  But repeating even that relatively large repertoire can get boring!

 

Now if I'm going to the trouble of driving an hour to a dark site, I want to look at more than just the same old same old.  And that means at least taking star charts and a source of light to read them by.  A step up from that is a tablet with SkySafari Pro, a more sophisticated star chart for star hopping.  Next is the NexStar, and then the NexStar with BlueTooth control from SSP on the tablet. 

 

However, no matter what telescope I take to the dark site, if I stay more than an hour - and I like to stay at least five hours! -  I need protection from dewing.  And that means a supply of electricity. If you plan on doing more than a quick lookie-loo, you need the juice!  There's no way around it. 

 

Let's face it - Electricity is the amateur astronomer's best friend!

 

On the other hand, I've never had a GPS and don't plan on getting one.  Up until very recently, I've never had a goto mount.  And although I have a few GEMs that can track, I have grown to dislike GEMs enough to never use them anymore for tracking.  Anybody want to buy a GEM? Now a nice alt-az with tracking, that's different. 

 

 

:grin:

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 09 October 2014 - 10:22 PM.


#202 Sarkikos

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 08:34 AM

 

I wonder if there is a CAT out there that uses a spring wound clock motor. 

 

 

Here you go ... https://www.google.c...Cw&ved=0CFIQsAQ

 

Mike



#203 WesC

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 06:39 PM

 

So... you've got some internal GPS dead-reckoning organ that the rest of us don't have? I use an app... keeps my brain free for more useful tasks. ;)

 

Didn't you see the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded last week to scientists who proved humans have internal GPS?

 

 

 

Haha! Actually I did see that... I'm still not sure which "humans" they're talking about. Most people I know in LA can't find their own house without a GPS or a map! Now, don't get me wrong, I have a very good sense of direction and I can figure out NSEW easily enough. But I can't tell you my exact longitude and latitude without a GPS unit... and I doubt anyone else can either. ;)



#204 Asbytec

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 07:39 PM

I've always wondered how dew heaters figure in to the whole cooling process. :hmm:  Wouldn't trying to keep the corrector plate just above ambient cause it to radiate thermals both internally and externally (possibly creating a type of boundry layer)?  

 

I suspect so, as would a blow dryer. It may be important to keep dew on the lens at bay, but the largest heat source, IMO, is the primary and it's supporting structure. You gotta cool that.



#205 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 08:09 PM

 

 

I've discovered that electricity and astronomy can mix.  I use electricity in my red lights, Telrad, illuminated RACI finder, tablet with Sky Safari Pro, goto/tracking mount, dew controller, primary fan on Newts.  No problem.  Without electricity, I might as well never go to a dark site.  What's one more gizmo on the juice?

 

I think you answered the question.  As you already stated...without the electricity crutch, you will not observe at dark sites!  So that's what one more gizmo on the juice does.  And after some time more it becomes a domino effect, the tracking mount won't work and you will be saying no use in observing tonight! 

 

Of course I don't use GPS either as I prefer to use memorized maps, deduced reckoning, and my gut.  Try to fall back on electronics in the field only when everything else fails.  But that's just me...I figure as long as the brain is still working that I should us it as not sure how long it will stay that way  :lol:

 

 

 

Bill:

 

I appreciate the fact that you prefer to observe with as few gizmos as possible. I enjoy the simplicity of manual mounts and simple telescopes but I prefer using electronic star charts.. something I have been doing since the days of the Palm Pilots and Planetarium for the Palm.. That's just me.  And I often listen to the radio while observing. 

 

As far as nit picking about the need for electricity..  we need to take it to the extremes, Cloudy Nights style.. Forget whether you need a light for your charts, a fan for your mirror, a GPS (what happened to Polaris ?).. motors for your drives.. One can easily do without such unnecessary accoutrements    Your brain, your muscles, your nerves, without electricity, they wouldn't work.  Face it, there is no way around it, you need electricity.    :lol:

 

And too

 

Jon



#206 BillP

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 11:50 PM

OK...no "added" electricity then!  :cool:

 

I generally plan what I want to do indoors.  When I'm outside it's then from memory.  And if I need music, then I sing to myself (silently of course) :lol:

 

Hmmmm...I need electricity?  Not sure.  I think the electricity is just a byproduct of the Little Chocolate Donuts.  There's no way around needing them :grin:   http://www.youtube.c...h?v=nrythD3kkoA



#207 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 06:16 AM

I generally plan what I want to do indoors.  When I'm outside it's then from memory.  And if I need music, then I sing to myself (silently of course) :lol:

 

I usually just make a mental plan for observing sessions here at home.  

 

But do you ever go to a dark site?  I can see thousands more objects there than I could ever see at home in a red zone. Many nights at the dark site I've observed as many as 30 new-to-me objects. This was before I got a goto mount.  That would be a prodigious feat of memory.  My memory is good but not that good.  So even to star hop the old-fashioned way, you'd need a source of light - which requires a source of electricity - to consult the star charts.  Unless you want to burn a candle.  Unfortunately, candles produce white light, a no-no at any respectable dark site.

 

:grin:

Mike



#208 photiost

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:38 AM

This entire thread is basically like two anchors arguing who will hit bottom first.......... :confused:

 

I agree.

 

The important thing is to get out there  (with any instrument ) and enjoy the night sky.



#209 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:59 AM

 

This entire thread is basically like two anchors arguing who will hit bottom first.......... :confused:

 

I agree.

 

The important thing is to get out there  (with any instrument ) and enjoy the night sky.

 

 

Then why aren't you out there now? Cloudy Nights?

 

:grin:

Mike



#210 Rick Huber

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 08:49 AM

I wonder if the Amish have goto's?? :confused:



#211 BillP

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 09:16 AM

 

I generally plan what I want to do indoors.  When I'm outside it's then from memory.  And if I need music, then I sing to myself (silently of course) :lol:

 

I usually just make a mental plan for observing sessions here at home.  

 

But do you ever go to a dark site?  I can see thousands more objects there than I could ever see at home in a red zone. Many nights at the dark site I've observed as many as 30 new-to-me objects. This was before I got a goto mount.  That would be a prodigious feat of memory.  

 

 

Yes it would be quite a feat!  No...if the list is that long then I have the list written on a piece of paper to remind me of the target and location.  I guess another thing is that "marathons" and rapid viewing to crunch in as many sights as possible is just not what I like.  I kind of approach a romp thru the night sky just like visiting a new city.  I don't try to see everything, but instead pick a smattering for the day and spend some time with them.  I typically choose 3 or 4 objects at a time that are in the same quadrant of the sky and observe those for 1-2 hours before I might move on to others.  And sometimes I never move on.  I enjoy more taking time and observing each with a variety of magnifications, and sometimes filters.  Many times when I make some gran plan to view 10 or more objects, I end up not near completing it even for a long evening. :lol:   And when I do go to dark sites, which is rarely, I use the same approach as I'm not there to see all there is to see, but just what I want for the evening.  And if I finish early for some reason and have more time to observe, then the binoculars or the max TFOV eyepiece comes out and it's time to simply explore for targets of opportunity that may be discovered, or I do a survey of prominent stars and search for interesting asterisms.

 

You are right though, if the approach one chooses is to cram as much as possible in an observing session, then you will either need to bring electricity or a well organized star hop plan on paper.  Every once in a while I mount my scope to my tracking mount.  It is fun for a night or two, but then I start disliking it as it feels like I am missing the "journey" to each target and they are just flying by like pages in a book or on some website.  I don't like that.


Edited by BillP, 11 October 2014 - 09:19 AM.


#212 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 10:20 AM

 

I usually just make a mental plan for observing sessions here at home.  

 

But do you ever go to a dark site?  I can see thousands more objects there than I could ever see at home in a red zone. Many nights at the dark site I've observed as many as 30 new-to-me objects. This was before I got a goto mount.  That would be a prodigious feat of memory.  

 

 

Yes it would be quite a feat!  No...if the list is that long then I have the list written on a piece of paper to remind me of the target and location.  I guess another thing is that "marathons" and rapid viewing to crunch in as many sights as possible is just not what I like.  I kind of approach a romp thru the night sky just like visiting a new city.  I don't try to see everything, but instead pick a smattering for the day and spend some time with them.  I typically choose 3 or 4 objects at a time that are in the same quadrant of the sky and observe those for 1-2 hours before I might move on to others.  And sometimes I never move on.  I enjoy more taking time and observing each with a variety of magnifications, and sometimes filters.  Many times when I make some gran plan to view 10 or more objects, I end up not near completing it even for a long evening. :lol:   And when I do go to dark sites, which is rarely, I use the same approach as I'm not there to see all there is to see, but just what I want for the evening.  And if I finish early for some reason and have more time to observe, then the binoculars or the max TFOV eyepiece comes out and it's time to simply explore for targets of opportunity that may be discovered, or I do a survey of prominent stars and search for interesting asterisms.

 

You are right though, if the approach one chooses is to cram as much as possible in an observing session, then you will either need to bring electricity or a well organized star hop plan on paper.  Every once in a while I mount my scope to my tracking mount.  It is fun for a night or two, but then I start disliking it as it feels like I am missing the "journey" to each target and they are just flying by like pages in a book or on some website.  I don't like that.

 

 

Even if you bring a written list, you will need a light, which needs electricity. Once again, electricity is the amateur astronomer's best friend - a dog is not.  I'd leave the dog at home ... if I had a dog. Though I have seen some bring a dog to the dark site. Really? A filthy, slobbering animal in among the astronomical equipment? No sir, I don't think so. Better to bring electricity! :ubetcha:

 

I don't have many opportunities for dark site viewing, so I do want to see more than a just few objects, and I'd rather see objects I've never seen before and that I could never see at home.  It does make sense to me.  It does not make sense to me when I see others view the same old objects over and over again, especially if they've traveled a couple hours to reach the dark site.  I approach dark site astronomy as if I'm a hunter after rare game.  Except I do not bring a dog for this hunt!

 

:grin:

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 11 October 2014 - 10:21 AM.


#213 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 12:20 PM

 

I don't have many opportunities for dark site viewing, so I do want to see more than a just few objects, and I'd rather see objects I've never seen before and that I could never see at home.  It does make sense to me.  It does not make sense to me when I see others view the same old objects over and over again, especially if they've traveled a couple hours to reach the dark site.  I approach dark site astronomy as if I'm a hunter after rare game.  Except I do not bring a dog for this hunt!

 

The key here is recognizing that we all do this thing differently, we face different conditions, different situations, we have different opportunities.  You, Bill and I, we are in different situations and face different challenges.  I suspect that were I in Bill's situation or your situation, I would make choices very similar to those the both of you have made.  And I suspect that were you in my situation, you would probably make similar choices to mine.. The value in understanding the differences in choices and the reasons for them is that it allow an individual, myself for example, to have an better understanding about how others live and the conditions others face.  

 

Myself, I approach the night sky as a treasure map, with hidden gems to be enjoyed.  I am not in a rush to see objects I have never seen before, there is plenty of time for that, plenty of time for objects I have seen previously.  Both retain their magic.. 

 

Jon



#214 BillP

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 01:48 PM

 

Even if you bring a written list, you will need a light, which needs electricity. Once again, electricity is the amateur astronomer's best friend - a dog is not.  I'd leave the dog at home ... if I had a dog.

 

That's a risky situation IMO.  And on occasion I do use my light...but its primary use is to chase off the animal that is stalking me (there is always something it seems), or for take down.  Otherwise I hate ruining my night vision and if you write in black felt tip most of the time with dark adapted eyes can read it.  But on occasion have to get a light on it or if fiddling with some part of equipment giving me problems or so I don't trip and fall when not dark adapted.  The flashlight is more a basic safety item and not integrated to the scope for its operation.  So you see, this is not using electricity as a "crutch" for observing which is how the conversation started.  I mean for goodness sake we *need* auto goto, auto tracking, illuminated cross hairs, red dots, sky maps on computers or tablet, radios, etc.  Baloney.  If one is bringing all that in order to enjoy astronomical observing, best to just stay home and watch television  :lol:

 

I don't know....if I had a dog I think I might bring them...I mean I would not need the flashlight so much as the dog could chase away the stalking animals that come around!  Yes...I like that idea :grin:


Edited by BillP, 11 October 2014 - 01:51 PM.


#215 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 02:30 PM

That's a risky situation IMO.  And on occasion I do use my light...but its primary use is to chase off the animal that is stalking me (there is always something it seems), or for take down.  Otherwise I hate ruining my night vision and if you write in black felt tip most of the time with dark adapted eyes can read it.  But on occasion have to get a light on it or if fiddling with some part of equipment giving me problems or so I don't trip and fall when not dark adapted.  The flashlight is more a basic safety item and not integrated to the scope for its operation.  So you see, this is not using electricity as a "crutch" for observing which is how the conversation started.  I mean for goodness sake we *need* auto goto, auto tracking, illuminated cross hairs, red dots, sky maps on computers or tablet, radios, etc.  Baloney.  If one is bringing all that in order to enjoy astronomical observing, best to just stay home and watch television  :lol:

 

I don't know....if I had a dog I think I might bring them...I mean I would not need the flashlight so much as the dog could chase away the stalking animals that come around!  Yes...I like that idea :grin:

 

 

I feel more at ease observing for hours at my dark site than I do for grab-n-go here in suburbia.  The woods and fields don't scare me, or the animals in them. The most dangerous part of going to the dark site is coming home and avoiding deer that might wander across the road.  My daughter's gerbils have more sense than those 300-lb vermin.  Please, hunters, have at them! ... the deer, not the gerbils.

 

No, I've seen dogs at dark sites. Not a good idea.  Nearly as  much a PITA as Bring Your Pet to Work Day.  Almost as much a nuisance as little children running around your equipment.  A dark site is no country for dogs or kids.   Please keep them home, folks!

 

:grin:

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 11 October 2014 - 02:33 PM.


#216 Ed Holland

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:24 PM

For folks who own a dog, boarding them for $25/night is expensive.  The price of gas getting to a dark site is expensive enough.  I always bring my dog when observing overnight, and he stays in a kennel kept in my SUV.  He makes the rounds before dark, and makes new friends.  He only comes out, on leash, periodically after dark for necessity.  Everyone seems to like him and no one has ever complained.  If I could not bring him, I would stay at home.

 

I owned a 10" dob carried in a Honda Civic for a brief time.  With the dob broke down, packed in the Civic, there was no room for my dog.  After paying a couple of boarding fees, the 10" dob was quickly sold.

 

In the desert, I've put him on a staked chain during night observing.  You can't buy a better intruder alert!

 

Where do you find Dog boarding at $25/night, that'd be a steal. Around here it's nearly double that! Although, come to think of it, our dog kennel s in a pretty remote and dark place. Maybe I should go there instead?

 

I tend to observe based loosly on the following interest:

 

  • Featured objects in the current month's magazine or pertinent to the season.
  • Planets
  • Something special at the particular time e.g. a comet, Novae etc.
  • A lazy tour of some easy things, just for relaxation
  • Pick a constellation and dig around in a bit more detail to improve sky knowledge

All of which can involve a Refractor or SCT



#217 rmollise

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 05:05 PM

And yet another good CN thread has finally and irreversibly gone to the dogs. :bomb: :lol:




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