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Starsense opinions

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#1 carlm01

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 03:30 PM

Hello to all, Those who are using or have used star sense what are your opinions ,and do you think it's needed  ?    Thanks 



#2 Exotics4fun

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 03:42 PM

Not needed but saves me a ton of time. It's something of a luxury purchase, makes observing fast and easy. I've been using it since March or so and there's a short learning curve between starsense, the mount and app (optional), but once you have the hang of it the convenience factor is nice.. 



#3 GoFish

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 03:59 PM

Not needed.

 

Useful?

  • Alt az mounted scope for visual (Evolution, SE, CPC) = not really, easy to do 2 alignment stars manually
  • Eq mounted scope (AVX, etc.) = yes, because more than 2 alignment stars are needed for cone error
  • SkyWatcher EQ mounts = YES, see above, and because it gets rid of SynScan hand control
  • EAA = yes, because it can put objects on small sensors without platesolving

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#4 skaiser

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 04:05 PM

Had one for couple of years.

makes general alignment a one button push.

polar alignment another one button push.

allows alignment at dusk before you can see many stars.

sort of like cruise control in a car, 

you can drive without it but it makes it easier.

if your eyes and star spotting skills are some what iffy, then it’s a real help.


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#5 junomike

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 04:32 PM

I found It saved my sanity for my C14/CGE as the cone error required a 2 + 4 Star Alignment.

Never used it for an Alt/Az mount.


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#6 corax

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 05:04 PM

I balked at the price for a long time, but broke down and got one just a few weeks ago. 

 

I love it. Saves a ton of time, maybe 15 to 30 minutes per session (depending on how many calibration stars you add and whether you do ASPA). Wish I'd gotten it sooner.


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#7 fysisist

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 05:29 PM

Have also been tempted.  My thought right now is that I should become familiar and learn the options with hand controller only alignment, and then with the SkyPortal.  Since I just got my evolution 9.25" and set it up only a couple of times, I haven't had enough sessions to really judge the accuracy of the 3-star align and other options.  So far it seems to me that the 3-star align is not as accurate as I would have thought.  I found that after 30 mins the scope was out of alignment enough that go-to objects were not in the fov, even with a 40 mm plossl, but that might be due to my inexperience with the alignment process and possibly choice of alignment stars.  One thing that is confusing me is the need for accurate terrestrial lat lon input.  On the initial set up I got a menu of closest cities, and I was at least 30 - 40 mi out from there.  I was thinking I would input lat lon that I could pull from my iphone GPS, but not offered that option.  Then I figured that with three stars aligned, the scope would be able to compensate for a relatively small terrestrial location error.  And then there is the recommended right - up final slew to center of the eyepiece, which I haven't quite got the hang of yet.  Maybe that is enough of an error to cause what I'm getting so far.  

 

Sorry for the long ramble, and only to conclude that I don't know if starsense would solve my current issues.  Any advice is welcome though.



#8 Noah4x4

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 01:06 AM

Had one for couple of years.

makes general alignment a one button push.

polar alignment another one button push.

allows alignment at dusk before you can see many stars.

sort of like cruise control in a car, 

you can drive without it but it makes it easier.

if your eyes and star spotting skills are some what iffy, then it’s a real help.

Perfect summary Skaiser.

 

I will add two more things....saves time - offers confidence, which are important where gaps in the cloud are short (such as in the UK). I set mine whirring, then head off to fetch camera and other gear I use for EAA. I don't even have to look through an eyepiece! I know Starsense on my Evolution will ALWAYS deliver my target in the FOV of my 4K UHD monitor indoors when using camera/Hyperstar. Even delivers a perfect polar alignment with lesser knob fiddling frustration.


Edited by Noah4x4, 07 September 2019 - 01:08 AM.

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#9 sanbai

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:07 AM

I have mixed feelings.

It saves time if there is no failure.

For short casual observations with my evolution mount I find faster to go with the Solar System align or Three stars. Either through HC or smartphone App. Usually it's accurate enough.

If it starts to fail plate solving, I loose too much time. I also need to recalibrate, so count double time. Going through the app seems more prone to fail (or crash at some point of the night). However, when I want to see more than the moon, Jupiter and Saturn I prefer the app over the HC because it's easier to explore and select possible targets.

With the app you can keep adding stars if you do three stars alignment. But even on this case some time the app (or wifi) fails and not always reconnecting recalls the right alignment (like it happened to me yesterday).

I wanted a c8 edgeHD, so I had no other option than taking the bundled starsense. I'll probably keep it a bit longer to experiment more, but it may go into the classifieds at some point.

Edited by Santiago Barroso, 07 September 2019 - 10:08 AM.

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#10 Wolfeman77346

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 01:32 PM

My current understanding is that you cannot use Starsense AND use the SkyPortal app together. Its one or the other. There are solutions that require more than just these two options though, which includes switching apps, or adding more hardware. Im still learning about these options, but was a bit disappointed that StarSense and SkyPortal do not get along natively.



#11 sanbai

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:26 PM

Both Skyportal and Skysafari fully support Starsense. If there is any bug in the software/firmware version one has is another story.
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#12 pete4www

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 09:43 PM

I am a novice who just purchased the Celestron EdgeHD 8 with a CGEMii mount, Skyportal Wi-Fi attachment, and the StarSense module. To answer your question, and this is just my opinion, I most definitely DO think the StarSense module is worth it. Is it necessary? Absolutely not! I will admit that I have a lot to learn still, but the biggest reason I purchased it, is because over 10 years ago, I had a cheaper Celestron goto setup, and I remember the time I spent aligning the telescope, and wished for a faster method. I am the type of person that wants to get my scope setup as QUICKLY as possible, and begin observing right away! The StarSense satisfies that need, and so it was 100 % worth it to me! Now, if you are the type of person who hates spending money on things unless absolutely necessary, I think you'd think it was a waste of money, and you might find you don't mind spending extra time to setup your scope. Also, I do not know my way around the night sky like a PRO, so I can't just look up, and say "Oh perfect! There's 3 stars in the sky, I know all their names, and I'm going to use those as my alignment stars right now!" I am not that good yet. 

 

To other people that are commenting that you can't use SkyPortal and StarSense at the same time, I don't think that's accurate. You can do a StarSense alignment in the SkyPortal app, BUT if you do this, you can't use the hand controller to goto objects. The only function you can use on the hand controller, after performing a StarSense alignment through SkyPortal are the direction buttons. I actually do this. I do my StarSense alignment through SkyPortal, use the SkyPortal app to go to targets, but I use the hand controller instead of the app to slew the scope. (I like that I don't have to look down at a screen, I can feel the direction buttons, and slew the scope with the controller while looking through the eyepiece.) If you use the app to slew, you can do that, but then you must divide your attention between the eyepiece and the directional buttons on the screen.

 

Also important to note: There is a BUG that a lot of people are having right now with StarSense and SkySafari 6 PRO, but it doesn't affect Celestron's SkyPortal version of the app. The plate solving fails every time, and Simulation Curriculum and Celestron are now working together to solve the problem. Here is a link to the forum discussing the issue, including comments from the moderators. https://support.simu...l?sort_by=votes

 

Finally one last comment I have, is if you use the SkyPortal app to do the StarSense alignment, you need to make sure you don't close the app while you are using it. You can turn the screen off, but you can not exit the app. If you do exit the app, hit connect, and you might be OK after that if it remembers your last alignment. I did this by mistake last night. I exited the app so I could use the camera app on my smartphone. 


Edited by pete4www, 08 September 2019 - 03:17 PM.

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#13 Steve C.

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:53 AM

Just my own 2 cents...

 

I bought a Starsense a couple of years ago, and after fiddling with it, and reading a bunch of posts about setting it up, calibrating it, having to recalibrate it, using a different HC than what came with my scope...I decided to sell it without using it.  I decided it was a non-essential piece of gear.  Solar System alignment worked well before any stars came out, Auto 2 star worked well enough after some bright stars appeared. 

 

OTOH, I know some folks who love it.  Your mileage may vary.



#14 carlm01

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:57 PM

How many people that are using star sense use a finder scope as well ?



#15 GoFish

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 04:39 PM

I use a Rigel Quikfinder. Only needed for initial calibration, usually. 



#16 pete4www

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:45 PM

Carlm01, I installed the finderscope bracket that came with my C8, even though I have Starsense just for the heck of it, and I have always installed the finderscope each time I set it up, but I rarely find myself using it. Next time I go out, I probably won't even attach it. I will leave the mount on the scope just in case I ever need to throw it on for whatever reason. Also, I have not had a problem keeping my Starsense calibrated. I did the calibration procedure as instructed the first time I set it up, and haven't needed to repeat it.

#17 corax

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 03:16 PM

I still have my TelRad installed, along with the StarSense. You still need to align the StarSense and the OTA from time to time, and I find a 1x straight-through finder to be essential for accurate pointing.



#18 wrvond

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:28 AM

How many people that are using star sense use a finder scope as well ?

I do not, though I do still have a GLP mounted.



#19 sanbai

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 09:04 AM

How many people that are using star sense use a finder scope as well ?

Technology can fail (e.g. current Skysafari-Android bug), so it's always good to have a finder scope or red dot. It's also very useful for quick Solar system alignment in very short observations (those 5 minutes before putting kids in bed... ).

#20 hidalgo

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 09:25 PM

Has anyone used the Star Sense with a RASA scope? If so how did it go?



#21 Noah4x4

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 01:47 AM

Has anyone used the Star Sense with a RASA scope? If so how did it go?

I have not, but performance should be no different. Starsense is affixed parallel to the OTA then calibrated to that to become precisely accurate. As the calibration uses a star at infinity it should work fine with any OTA on a Celestron Goto mount (or Skywatcher if you have that version). 



#22 DellsDad86

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 03:16 AM

Have also been tempted.  My thought right now is that I should become familiar and learn the options with hand controller only alignment, and then with the SkyPortal.  Since I just got my evolution 9.25" and set it up only a couple of times, I haven't had enough sessions to really judge the accuracy of the 3-star align and other options.  So far it seems to me that the 3-star align is not as accurate as I would have thought.  I found that after 30 mins the scope was out of alignment enough that go-to objects were not in the fov, even with a 40 mm plossl, but that might be due to my inexperience with the alignment process and possibly choice of alignment stars.  One thing that is confusing me is the need for accurate terrestrial lat lon input.  On the initial set up I got a menu of closest cities, and I was at least 30 - 40 mi out from there.  I was thinking I would input lat lon that I could pull from my iphone GPS, but not offered that option.  Then I figured that with three stars aligned, the scope would be able to compensate for a relatively small terrestrial location error.  And then there is the recommended right - up final slew to center of the eyepiece, which I haven't quite got the hang of yet.  Maybe that is enough of an error to cause what I'm getting so far.  

 

Sorry for the long ramble, and only to conclude that I don't know if starsense would solve my current issues.  Any advice is welcome though.

is a confusing menu.  If you don't want to use a city, then as I recall, you look for menu, which will eventually lead you to long/latitude input fields



#23 nic35

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 04:34 PM

I managed to fry the electronics in the Starsense camera with a DIY cable connector. So I decided to go back to my telerad/eyepiece for alignment one night.

 

Within 5 minutes I was reminded that I'm too old to contort myself into the odd positions necessary to center the alignment stars visually - and I was using an alt-az mount in moderately warm weather. I shuddered to think about firing up the CGEM in 10 degree (F) weather !  Within the hour I had placed an order for a new one !

 

A starsense is not necessary, but it sure makes setup much easier.

 

The new CPWI software is a joy - my only complaint is that as a planetarium program, it stinks.  Very little control over what you see in the interface.

 

john


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#24 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 12:11 AM

is a confusing menu.  If you don't want to use a city, then as I recall, you look for menu, which will eventually lead you to long/latitude input fields

Definitely confusing :-)  Regarding selection of location in the StarSense hand control, from The NexStar User's Guide II:

StarSense Hand Control
Power up the ‘scope. Press the MENU button, scroll down to Time and Location
and press ENTER. Scroll to View/Mod Location and press ENTER. By default, the
hand control presents a list of cities to choose from. Scroll through the list to find
a nearby city (within 50 miles) and press ENTER to select. If there are no nearby
cities in the database, press the OPTION button (the Celestron logo) to switch to
longitude and latitude. Press ENTER to start the edit mode. Use the up/down scroll
buttons to change hemisphere settings and type in numbers for degrees, minutes,
and seconds.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
https://www.nexstarsite.com


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#25 Noah4x4

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 04:40 AM

.........

 

Within 5 minutes I was reminded that I'm too old to contort myself into the odd positions necessary to center the alignment stars visually - and I was using an alt-az mount in moderately warm weather. I shuddered to think about firing up the CGEM in 10 degree (F) weather !  Within the hour I had placed an order for a new one !

 

 

john

Echo this from John. Sciatica, arthritis, dodgy knees, I now suffer from the lot after a lifetime of sporting pursuits. It has provoked a number of changes of direction in my astronomy hobby...

 

I struggled (back pain/bending) with the supplied straight look through RDF. So I purchased Starsense, which was of awesome benefit (as it has been for John) on my alt-az Evolution. I then decided to get into Astrophotography and bought a wedge. I then ran into the infamous Starsense on wedge bug. After a year of denial, Celestron eventually accepted its existence after I tested the polar alignment error with both Starsense HC and Nexstar+ HC connected and got two completely different results from the same position.

 

There then followed a period of delay whilst Celestron rebuilt the polar alignment model from the bottom up. But, in the meanwhile, wedge owners were stuck with a regular HC Polar alignment unable to use Starsense. It was back to being a contortionist, and more so with the fiddly knob twiddling wedge.

 

Hence, my next step was to buy a right angled finderscope. It assisted, and was essential for AP over the two years when suffering the Starsense on wedge/Alt-Az polar alignment routine bug. Eventually, I discarded the heavy and cumbersome wedge simply to revert to Starsense as bending and squinting was ever more difficult. That's when I discovered the joys of short exposure stacked EAA. I bought Hyperstar and dispensed with the rigours of any polar alignment as at F2 you can get great results from exposures under ten seconds.

 

But my hobby then entered a new phase as 6,000 new homes now surround me and urban light pollution has become more testing.  Now that the Starsense on wedge polar alignment routine is fixed, I have reaffixed my wedge and doubled the length of my (still short) exposures  on Hyperstar to sharpen the results. The downside is that I now can no longer carry my fully assembled scope and whilst I leave Mount and wedge/ Tripod assembled I carry/add OTA + Starsense to it (a process usually only essential with larger OTAs). 

 

In summary, if age, creaking joints or similar make alignment uncomfortable, Starsense is the way to go, especially now that with all bugs fixed, it is adaptable to alt-az, or alt-az+Wedge or GEM. Great bit of kit. The other benefit in the wet and windy UK is speed. Clear spells are often only snatched between cloud and rain. I can set my Starsense whirring and be confident it will succeed whilst I am fetching other kit (like Hyperstar, camera). I can also align 100% remotely via CWPI. I highly recommend.


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