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