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The perfect Questar setup....

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#1 jag32

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:44 PM

Only have about 20 minutes to observe and this the ultimate grab and go setup!  I'm very proficient at easily finding objects using setting circles in AltAz mode and rarely find it necessary to even put the legs in. I would love a Tristand but I would probably rarely use it in place of my outdoor bar table. Only downside from my balcony is i only have views of the northern and western skies, but it's better than nothing and I have a clear line of sight to Polaris for polar aligning when I rarely need to!

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#2 petert913

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:59 PM

The beauty of simplicity !


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#3 JamesMStephens

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:50 PM

Please elaborate about using the setting circles in alt-az mode!  You convert RA/Dec to Alt/Az, I take it.

 

Jim



#4 jag32

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:14 AM

Hi. Nope no need to convert from RA/Dec to AltAz because the setting circles already have markings for both on both axes.  Just need a good planetarium app that gives you the AltAz coordinates, like skysafari. No different or more difficult than using RA/Dec coordinates except the AltAz coordinates change based on your local time so you just need to reference the coordinate in skysafari right before moving to a new object. My accuracy is pinpoint in the eyepiece Everytime with no need for polar alignment.


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#5 Matt Looby

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:39 AM

Only have about 20 minutes to observe and this the ultimate grab and go setup!  I'm very proficient at easily finding objects using setting circles in AltAz mode and rarely find it necessary to even put the legs in. I would love a Tristand but I would probably rarely use it in place of my outdoor bar table. Only downside from my balcony is i only have views of the northern and western skies, but it's better than nothing and I have a clear line of sight to Polaris for polar aligning when I rarely need to!

Jag32- you are an inspiration when it come to eeking out  the flexibility that the Q 3.5 has to offer.  My sky is so dark, I probably would not need setting circles- I am really impressed, and I am going to replicate your method!

 

Thanks for sharing,

 

Matt



#6 Pragmatist

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:55 AM

Only one thing missing from this scene Jag. A nice bottle of Merlot.


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#7 NC Startrekker

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:37 AM

Only one thing missing from this scene Jag. A nice bottle of Merlot.

I think what Pragmatist really meant to say was "A nice bottle of Single Malt Scotch." wink.gif


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#8 Joe Ellis

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:39 AM

Scotch? Aye. Just a few ‘wee drams’...


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#9 Joe Ellis

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:52 AM

Of course a few more drams and one begins to see rings around Mars, M13, Hally’s Comet...


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#10 JonTeets

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:10 PM

Of course a few more drams and one begins to see rings around Mars, M13, Hally’s Comet...

Or succumbs to aperture fever. 



#11 Tom3

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:10 PM

How long do objects stay in view with something like a 20-25 mm eyepiece, or whatever your favorite eyepiece is?

 

Tom



#12 JamesMStephens

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:07 PM

Hi. Nope no need to convert from RA/Dec to AltAz because the setting circles already have markings for both on both axes.  Just need a good planetarium app that gives you the AltAz coordinates, like skysafari. No different or more difficult than using RA/Dec coordinates except the AltAz coordinates change based on your local time so you just need to reference the coordinate in skysafari right before moving to a new object. My accuracy is pinpoint in the eyepiece Everytime with no need for polar alignment.

Maybe you misunderstood.  You ARE converting RA/Dec to Alt/Az with the planetarium app, that's what I was asking, how you were doing it.


Edited by JamesMStephens, 09 August 2018 - 03:08 PM.


#13 NC Startrekker

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:15 PM

Of course a few more drams and one begins to see rings around Mars, M13, Hally’s Comet...

The heck you say!!! They don't have rings???  lol.gif



#14 jag32

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:51 PM

Maybe you misunderstood.  You ARE converting RA/Dec to Alt/Az with the planetarium app, that's what I was asking, how you were doing it.

Ah, did not realize that all AltAz coordinates were actually converted from RA/DEC in sky safari.L  Learn something new everyday!


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#15 jag32

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:55 PM

How long do objects stay in view with something like a 20-25 mm eyepiece, or whatever your favorite eyepiece is?

 

Tom

To be honest I've never timed it, but I'd guess maybe a little over a minute using the 40-80x eyepiece. I actually enjoy tracking objects myself in AltAz mode rather than tracking in equatorial mode because the Questar is just such a joy to use that for me, tracking objects and always having my hands on the scope every minute or two increases the overall Questar experience for me.  Only time I ever really use equatorial mode is if I have guests over at the house and have some planets in the eyepiece to show them. 


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#16 Tom3

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:50 PM

Interesting reasons.

Tom



#17 JamesMStephens

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:47 PM

Hey Jag,

 

You also have to be aligning your RA/Az scale.  My guess is that you point the scope at a known object then use Skysafari to give you the object's Azimuth, then you set the ring.  Now you're all set to go hunting with Skysafari.  Is it on your cellphone or a tablet? 

 

The RA circle is interesting, it is certainly marked in RA, however the opposite running degree scale could function as azimuth or sidereal hour angle.  

https://www.cloudyni...cles/?p=7753951

 

I used to do a lot of alt-az observing with the Q and never much worried about drift because the controls are so easy to use.  But have you noticed that most people you try to show things in the eyepiece won't attempt to track manually?  Your 80X eyepiece is giving you about half a degree, right?  Two minites to drift across the field at the Celestial Equator.

 

Dobsonian astronomers sometimes outfit their scopes with alt/az setting circles and use Skysafari (or similar) just like you, but I've never thought of doing this with my Questar.  You're using the Q as a push-to alt-az with analog circles and human eyeball encoders.  Now that you've gotten this rolling it seems obvious (in hindsight).  Great contribution!

 

Jim


Edited by JamesMStephens, 09 August 2018 - 10:07 PM.

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#18 JamesMStephens

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:48 PM

Ah, did not realize that all AltAz coordinates were actually converted from RA/DEC in sky safari.L  Learn something new everyday!

I suppose my question could have been more clearsmile.gif



#19 JamesMStephens

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 03:41 PM

This is a great thread.  The subject of altazimuth setting circles has quite a bit of coverage on CN (for example)

 

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...ircles-for-dob/

 

If you have a Dobsonian design, then you don't have setting circles and you make altitude and azimuth circles from the outset.  If your scope has an equatorial mount (or a fork mount intended for use in the EQ mode with a wedge or tripod) then you might have circles, and they're standard equatorial circles.  Not until jag32 made his post had I ever thought of using regular setting circles in an alt/az mode.  You can set up any equatorially mounted scope with setting circles with the polar axis vertical and you have an altazimuth mount with the declination circle acting as the altitude circle.  So far, so good.  The RA circle, then, is the azimuth circle.  If you set your C8 up on a table like this you'd have an RA circle running in the wrong direction (increasing westward) and graduated in hours (minutes, and seconds), whereas azimuth increases eastward from north and is measured in degrees.  The Q, though, has two sets of markings on the RA circle and John (jag32) has brilliantly observed that the degree markings will work as an azimuth scale.  (When I first thought about this scale I thought it was SHA, the sidereal hour angle system which I learned about in the Navy and used in navigation: https://encyclopedia...al hour angle) 

 

Whether the intent was to allow us to read SHA as well as RA, or simply azimuth I don't know, but it's the Questar's unique RA circle that makes it possible to use the Q in alt-az mode with the circles.  You could use a conventional RA scale as an azimuth scale.  To align the scale point the scope at a known star, read the azimuth from your planetarium program, then subtract the azimuth from 360 degrees and convert the result to hours (divide by 15), rotate the circle to the scale pointer.  Now to aim at another object you'll have to subtract its azimuth from 360 and convert to hours.


Edited by JamesMStephens, 12 August 2018 - 04:09 PM.

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#20 jag32

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 05:44 PM

This is a great thread.  The subject of altazimuth setting circles has quite a bit of coverage on CN (for example)

 

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...etting-circles/

https://www.cloudyni...ircles-for-dob/

 

If you have a Dobsonian design, then you don't have setting circles and you make altitude and azimuth circles from the outset.  If your scope has an equatorial mount (or a fork mount intended for use in the EQ mode with a wedge or tripod) then you might have circles, and they're standard equatorial circles.  Not until jag32 made his post had I ever thought of using regular setting circles in an alt/az mode.  You can set up any equatorially mounted scope with setting circles with the polar axis vertical and you have an altazimuth mount with the declination circle acting as the altitude circle.  So far, so good.  The RA circle, then, is the azimuth circle.  If you set your C8 up on a table like this you'd have an RA circle running in the wrong direction (increasing westward) and graduated in hours (minutes, and seconds), whereas azimuth increases eastward from north and is measured in degrees.  The Q, though, has two sets of markings on the RA circle and John (jag32) has brilliantly observed that the degree markings will work as an azimuth scale.  (When I first thought about this scale I thought it was SHA, the sidereal hour angle system which I learned about in the Navy and used in navigation: https://encyclopedia...al hour angle) 

 

Whether the intent was to allow us to read SHA as well as RA, or simply azimuth I don't know, but it's the Questar's unique RA circle that makes it possible to use the Q in alt-az mode with the circles.  You could use a conventional RA scale as an azimuth scale.  To align the scale point the scope at a known star, read the azimuth from your planetarium program, then subtract the azimuth from 360 degrees and convert the result to hours (divide by 15), rotate the circle to the scale pointer.  Now to aim at another object you'll have to subtract its azimuth from 360 and convert to hours.

Jim, you pretty much nailed it. I was in the navy also and am still in the reserves.  For those who have not used their Questar in altaz mode with the setting circles I strongly recommend giving it a try.  I am able to push to objects in the sky with the same speed, ease of use, and accuracy in altaz mode using the setting circles as I am In Equatorial mode.  The only difference is that I don't need to polar align at all which is nice and I need to manually track objects, which I enjoy more become I feel more involved with the Questar as a precision instrument.  It is necessary to reference the altaz coordinates from a planetarium app like sky safari as they are always changing with time, but I always reference coordinates using sky quarto rial mode anyways so it doesn't make my process more burdensome in altaz mode.

 

 


Edited by jag32, 12 August 2018 - 05:47 PM.

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#21 JHollJr

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 06:43 PM

A picture may help readers understand what is being discussed about an azimuth scale. The outter scale can be used as an azimuth scale. I’ve never done it.

 

287BF6C8 69C1 4A14 9532 869205A3FC25

Edited by JHollJr, 14 August 2018 - 06:44 PM.

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#22 JamesMStephens

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 10:41 PM

A picture may help readers understand what is being discussed about an azimuth scale. The outter scale can be used as an azimuth scale. I’ve never done it.

 

Justin,

 

Yes, a picture is worth a kiloword!  I've wondered if the outer scale was celestial hout angle (the 360-degree complement of RA) or azimuth.  If it's intended to be azimuth I imagine it was for terrestrial observation, I doubt anyone anticipated using manual alt-az circles for celestial targets in 1950. I doubt Mr Braymer anticipated observers equipped smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

 

Jim


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#23 Matt Looby

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 08:48 AM

I need to be told three times before it sinks in.  

 

How do you use Alt-Az for finding DSOs?

 

I was a Marine- we were given crayons and coloring books but I like to eat the crayons.


Edited by Matt Looby, 15 August 2018 - 08:49 AM.

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#24 davidmcgo

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 03:43 PM

Place telescope base flat on the table (not using the table legs to polar align).

 

Aim the scope at Polaris and set the RA/az circle to read 0 degrees.

 

Then use a smart phone or tablet with Sky Safari or similar app and it will display the altitude and azimuth of any object you may want to find.  In Sky Safari, search for the object and then click "info" and midway down it will list the realtime alt and az. 

 

Move the Questar tube without disturbing the position of the base to read those values on the alt and az circles and you should be very close, assuming table is level. 

 

Dave


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#25 Matt Looby

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 03:48 PM

Place telescope base flat on the table (not using the table legs to polar align).

 

Aim the scope at Polaris and set the RA/az circle to read 0 degrees.

 

Then use a smart phone or tablet with Sky Safari or similar app and it will display the altitude and azimuth of any object you may want to find.  In Sky Safari, search for the object and then click "info" and midway down it will list the realtime alt and az. 

 

Move the Questar tube without disturbing the position of the base to read those values on the alt and az circles and you should be very close, assuming table is level. 

 

Dave

Thanks Dave but I don't have (or know how to use)  a Hand-held Text machine.  How do you find coordinates using a paper atlas?


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