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Looking for advice on GoTo or other locator setups

mount planetarium software
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#1 JJack

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:50 PM

You can see my setup in the Sig line - While I enjoy scanning the stars I've found that my precious viewing time needs focus and so I'd like to buy one of the computer mounts that provide goto or other star-locating setups.  Because of work life I haven't been able to put in the hours I thought to learn the night sky so I just kind of fumble around.  I don't even know the right questions to ask because I'm unfamiliar with the available electronics - my first question is whether I can keep my Sky Watcher 100 and just get an electronic mount, or do I have to buy them as a package like all the Celestrons I see advertised?  I'm open to adding a new telescope to go with my 10inch Dob and 100ED.

 

My priorities are:  ease of use and reliability.

I won't do astro-photography 

I'm open to buying a new scope or just a mount, budget 1000-2500

(I need a new mount anyway as I want more stability for higher powered viewing that the Porta II gives me)

looking basically for electronics that allow me to get acclimated in a few minutes without a lot of fuss 

 

Also, appreciate any of the ins and outs of this stuff- do I need a robust battery?  What to watch out for?  

 

Thanks

 

 



#2 havasman

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 06:09 PM

https://www.astrodev.../II Encoder Kit

 

https://www.astrodev...sDSC/index.html

 

You do not need to change either your scope or mount to get the best electronic finder out there. The Nexus DSC is very powerful and user friendly. You will have a push-to setup by which you enter the target object into the Nexus DSC and it will direct you via numerical display to the object. Arrive at 00-00 and you're on it. From there the mount works as it does now. I have the setup on all my scopes and run 3 different alt/az mounts push-to as I described: Stellarvue M2C, Universal Astronomics UniStar Deluxe and Disc Mounts DM4 (best of the three). They're mounted with refractors. The XT10i Dob also runs push-to w/manual tracking. The Starmaster runs full go-to/track. The Nexus DSC can carry 5 setups in memory, menu switchable. I have 2 units because I sometimes set up 2 scopes/mounts for a session.

 

I encourage you to consider this option. It's pretty much the nuts. There may be cheaper options, maybe. There are not higher performance options w/o changing mounts.

 

The on-board lithium battery powers 2 or 3 overnight sessions and recharges via 110Vac, charger incl. I've never run out of power.


Edited by havasman, 12 July 2020 - 06:10 PM.


#3 Bean614

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 06:13 PM

You have 2 Excellent scopes that complement each other quite well! And, for Planet Season,  you do NOT want to get rid of either one.

 A Celestron AVX would be perfect for your ED100, and under $1000. If you think about going the photography route at some time, then the Orion Sirius/Skywatcher EQ-5 would be terrific, for a few more dollars.  You've chosen well so far, and I  have every reason to think you'll do so again! 


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#4 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 07:36 PM

If you like your scope keep it. You can buy a computerized mount by itself.

 

I have used the AVX. Won't win any awards for beauty. But for a 4" refractor it would adequate, and Celestron's 2+4 alignment is highly accurate. You don't even need to see Polaris.

 

I have also went the Nexus route for Push2, and it is very good. If you use SkySafari, you can save some money by going with the Nexus2 instead of the full Nexus and using your smartphone or tablet. Nexus2 is basically just a wifi transmitter that you plug the encoders into, turns the smart device into a moving map display. The targeting reticle is slaved to your scope and you can watch the screen as you steer from object to object. Really cool to use.



#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 07:57 PM

Jack:

 

I see you have a Z-10.  Depending on how old your Z-10 is, there's the EZ Push To from Romer-Optics designed specifically for GSO Dobs. 

 

https://romer-optics...ds-of-dobsonian

 

It $99. 

 

There's a long thread on Cloudy Nights on the EZ 

 

https://www.cloudyni...526-ez-push-to/

 

Jon



#6 JJack

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 08:10 PM

Thanks - any thoughts on those package deals where the mount and the star locating stuff is all included?  

 

I'm somewhat open to adding to the Porta mount but the Dob mount is a little beat up and imprecise so probably not a good candidate for an investment

 

I'll try to research info on the two add-ons referred to above, but I'm also curious about getting a better mount that already has everything ready to go.

 

I'm very tech-averse, I have no tools or mechanical ability,  so what seems simple to some would be daunting to me and I'd end up never using it - This hobby is a little strange in that even the sellers of this stuff make little effort to explain it to potential customers, it's almost as if they rely on word of mouth to sell 



#7 Echolight

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:04 AM

The AVX is really user friendly. I never even read the instructions.

 

It's not quite tall enough for my C6R. But it carries it very well with no noticeable vibration.

Should be very well suited to a lighter telescope that's 30 centimeters shorter in length.

 

The tracking has been plenty accurate for my use. I really love this feature on a telescope.

 

For another half again the price or a little more you might get something a bit nicer(and heavier) with a pier extension. But I think the AVX is a really good value for a visual user with a budget.

 

It'll take a little getting used to a GEM mount though. As you'll have to adjust the diagonal a bit.

 

If someone made a super duty alt/az mount with goto and tracking for a similar price it might be worth looking into for the comfort and convenience. Although the tracking going two directions instead of one could be a source of added vibration.

 

The AVX will probably weigh close to twice as much as the Porta II. But it's a relative lightweight where goto GEM mounts are concerned.


Edited by Echolight, 13 July 2020 - 12:09 AM.


#8 aeajr

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:10 AM

AltAz is quick and easy, low cost and works with any telescope.

 

Using an angle gauge to help find targets
https://www.cloudyni...y/#entry8120838

 

For $100 you can add a PushTo system to  your Z10 scope.  I am considering this for my Apertura AD12.  They are both made by GSO so the Romer system will fit. 

 

EZ Push To from Romer-Optics
A retro fit PushTo package is available from Romer-Optics called the EZ Push
To – there is an extensive discussion about this on Cloudy Nights.
This is based on using your phone as the computer/controller – About $100
https://www.cloudyni...l=+ez +push +to
Installation Video
https://www.youtube....Rj3SxQ03g&t=12s
Demo
https://www.youtube....ctthfon7A&t=41s
https://www.youtube....h?v=9ve4jC8ZCqE
Quick Start Guide
https://www.youtube....h?v=fkhpbwDZIfU
Romer-Optics EZ Push To Page
https://romer-optics...ns/easy-push-to


Edited by aeajr, 13 July 2020 - 12:54 PM.

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#9 Supernova74

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:25 AM

hi and welcome to the forums

firstly I understand your predicament there in a scope or mount which is compatible to your needs.and admittedly we all like to do old school Astronomy reading star maps and locating those objects we wish to observe.unfortunatly it can become a time consuming process especially when you cannot find that object in the freezing cold it takes the fun out of it all and leaves you in frustration.myself personally having goto is like having a mobile phone once you had it it’s hard to live without it as it’s the difference between being able to see just a few objects in your observing session and being able to see many with goto.

 

so for a scope that I would think would fit your tailored needs would be a celestron next star evolution 9.25 sct cassagrain telescope.i do really feel this scope will fit around your time window you can observe also your requirements.its very portable and not cumbersome to set up.it offers very good value for money and it will open up new doors for you as an overall package.the optics on the celestron 9.25 is considered one of the best OTA,s that has came off celestrons manufacturing assembly.and most probably one of the best sct cassagrain planetary performers around and obviously no slouch on fainter deep sky objects also as it offers reasonable aperture.

 

also celestrons any brightest three star alignment is a doddle to use and very user friendly you don,t even have to know the name of the stars.you also have the added versatility there to use celestrons skyportal WiFi device which literally just plugs into the scope then opens up new doors for you to use a smart phone or tablet with an planetarium app of the whole night sky in real time.also the scope has a built in lithium ion rechargeable battery which last up to around 15hrs run time on a full charge.and lastly if you wanted to be completely lazy you could add celestrons automated star align,and one calibrated to the scope itself it will align the scope automatically for you.


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#10 JJack

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 02:43 PM

Okay I took a couple of baby steps:  I did locate my angle gauge and I also signed up for SkySafari Pro.  Dusting off the S&T Pocket Atlas - need to focus first and spend $ later



#11 aeajr

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:20 PM

Okay I took a couple of baby steps:  I did locate my angle gauge and I also signed up for SkySafari Pro.  Dusting off the S&T Pocket Atlas - need to focus first and spend $ later

That angle gauge and a compass is all you need.  Just make sure  you know the difference between Polaris North, true north, and magnetic north.  As stated earlier, in NY, that is a 13 degrees west. 

https://www.ngdc.noa...seFullSite=true

 

 

That means when the compass points at magnetic north in front of my house, Polaris will be at about 13 degrees on the compass.  So, if Stellarium says that something is at 120 degrees AZ and I am using a compass, I have to add 13 degrees on the compass.   I would find the target at 132 degrees, approximately.  

 

Be sure to keep the compass as far from the steel tube as possible.   You can use a compass app on your phone.  And for that matter you can also use an angle gauge app on your phone.  But I prefer to use an actual angle gauge and keep the phone available for Stellarium.


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#12 Stelios

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:32 PM

You can take baby steps and spend a lot of time for no good reason but nostalgia. 

 

Today, if you want to drive, you don't start with a buggy whip, add a motor, lose the horse, add a transmission, add lights, add radio, add air conditioning. You buy a car. Cheaper, faster, and your experience with the buggy whip and all the additions is worth exactly zero in the end. 

 

The recommendations you received earlier were dead on. If you have no interest in Astrophotography, buy an AVX. If you *do* have such interest or think you will, buy a Sirius/HEQ5-Pro (same mount). 

 

One of the advantages of such GEM's (German Equatorial Mounts) over competing designs is flexibility. You can easily put an C9.25" on an AVX (even a C11 can work), as well as any common refractor up to 6" (for visual). You can also put an 8" or even a light 10" Newt on one (depending on length). 

 

But once you've learnt GoTo (and really, it only takes minutes) you will forget all about finding things on your own. We no longer find an address by asking around for directions. We trust in GPS and our maps app. 


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#13 tmiddendorf

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 11:11 AM

You can take baby steps and spend a lot of time for no good reason but nostalgia. 

 

Today, if you want to drive, you don't start with a buggy whip, add a motor, lose the horse, add a transmission, add lights, add radio, add air conditioning. You buy a car. Cheaper, faster, and your experience with the buggy whip and all the additions is worth exactly zero in the end. 

 

The recommendations you received earlier were dead on. If you have no interest in Astrophotography, buy an AVX. If you *do* have such interest or think you will, buy a Sirius/HEQ5-Pro (same mount). 

 

One of the advantages of such GEM's (German Equatorial Mounts) over competing designs is flexibility. You can easily put an C9.25" on an AVX (even a C11 can work), as well as any common refractor up to 6" (for visual). You can also put an 8" or even a light 10" Newt on one (depending on length). 

 

But once you've learnt GoTo (and really, it only takes minutes) you will forget all about finding things on your own. We no longer find an address by asking around for directions. We trust in GPS and our maps app. 

Excellent points and spot on analogy...adding it is occasionally fun to take a walk in the woods with only a compass to see what you can see and personally "discover".


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#14 rhetfield

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 12:30 PM

Okay I took a couple of baby steps:  I did locate my angle gauge and I also signed up for SkySafari Pro.  Dusting off the S&T Pocket Atlas - need to focus first and spend $ later

Now that you have skysafari and the angle gauge, you can print out a degree circle for the azimuth axis.  On a 10", you should be able to get within 1/10th degree on azimuth.  Just remember that polaris is often close to a degree to one side or the other of "0" and that it should be the first thing you check with sky safari. 

 

Also, sky safari has been good to me about keeping track of my current location, but if I am not careful, will drop out of current time mode - screwing with object coordinates.

 

On the good side, you can program sky safari to show you your field of view for your eyepieces to help know what to expect.  It also shows the current/future phases, rotations, and moon locations of planetary objects if you zoom in enough.


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#15 JJack

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:06 PM

Sky Safari is fun. Still learning it.

I'm using the compass function of my phone, which puts me within a degree so I've been combining that with the Sears angle and that helps.  Had 2/5 transparency the last nights I was out (seeing was better) and a washout last night, so anxious to get back out there. 

 

I'm still shopping for a GoTo but this helps a lot with the Dob.




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