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Forced into Astrophotography and a GoTo

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#1 Son of Norway

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:18 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces. But I get about 10 seconds of view before I have to say to the next person, "Quick, take a look. This is great!"  Then that person has about 10 seconds before they say, "Yeah great!, Oh darn, I lost it."  Then I start trying to nudge the 'scope to get the object back in view.  But I haven't managed to get good at nudging. More often than not, I make the 'scope swing way past it, then I have to put my glasses back on, go back to the finder and try again.  Then I have to go back to the scope, nudging it desperately and feebly to get another view. Meanwhile I have people standing around getting bored. 

 

This is killing my motivation to take the 'scope out, set it up and try to see the stars. I don't have the skill or knowledge to make an equatorial mount and buying one just seemed too expensive.  I originally had no desire to do astrophotography. It is great that people are able to make those fantastic pictures, but there is a lot of technical knowledge and time involved that don't really contribute to just looking through an eyepiece and enjoying the view.  A good GoTo 'scope with comparable views is really expensive compared to the $350 I paid for the Dobson.  But I want to see things.  

 

I felt that I had no choice, so first I got a telescope camera. Now I can at least freeze the view, take a long look at it and show it to others. But it is hard to get the objects in the viewfinder long enough for the software to get a fix on them and give a nice picture. So, I swallowed hard and now have an 8" Nexstar SE waiting in a box in the living room. I haven't gathered the courage to take it out of the box or even tell my wife about it. Looking at the directions I am totally daunted. Usually my son helps me, but I will have to learn how to use it by myself. There aren't any star parties to get help at anymore. How did a person like me have two children who are engineers?

 

I have read that the typical backyard astronomer starts with a telescope, and then gets into a computer guided scope, and then gets into astrophotography.  I now understand why.  Combined with the problem of going to a dark sky site . . . Well, maybe I'm just not up to this challenge.  Or that is how I feel sometimes. I loved being under the night sky when I was young, looking across a frozen lake and hearing the wolves howl in the distance. This is different.

 

 

 

  


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#2 peta62

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:23 PM

Why don't  you keep the scope and just but a EQ mount with at least R.A. axis motor and rings ? You do not sound you consider astrophoto with it and you have a nice scope you like, why to change it ? You can take pictures with the new one.


Edited by peta62, 31 October 2020 - 01:26 PM.

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#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:25 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces.

<...snip...>

 

Good stuff, but it belongs on another forum, the mods want all discussion of AP kept off this board.

 

I think I can get away with this, it's beginner-relevent. 

 

That scope/mount is an _extremely_  hard way to get into traditional DSO AP, which is _utterly_ different than visual astronomy.  However unintuitive that seems to you.  For traditional AP you'd be better off starting with a camera and a lens on a camera tracker.  _Way_ better off.  Not a close call.  <smile>

 

Most likely, the post belongs on the Electronically Assisted Astronomy forum.  Your setup is suitable for that, and it actually looks like that's consistent with your goals, so it should be your first stop.  Again, not a close call.



#4 spereira

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:40 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces. 

<...snip...>

 

Folks, if I am reading this member's post correctly, Son of Norway is very interested in doing visual observing with the equipment that he has.  He seems to feel that he cannot do visual observing, and feels that he is being forced down the path of needing to acquire goto (or at least tracking) and photography.

 

Let's forget the photography advice, as that is not appropriate here in Beginners.  Let's please focus on providing this member advice on how to do visual observing with the equipment that he has.

 

TIA

 

smp


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#5 MalVeauX

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:53 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces. <...snip...>

There are equatorial platforms for dob mounts to give you RA tracking, which will let you manually point the scope wherever, and then it will track in RA so that your subject stays there. Good for studying planets. Not too costly either. Also, not a big crazy thing to use. Simple to use. Then you can stick to your 10" dob and your subjects will stay in place so you can view them and share with others if you wish. No photography needed to see objects. But it would allow for dabbling with photography more since you would have tracking (GoTo is not needed).

 

Options:

 

https://www.teleskop...or-40--N-S.html

 

https://opticaleds.c...orms/platforms/

 

Very best,



#6 Bill Jensen

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 01:54 PM

While I can't offer advice on how to use the Celestron 8SE (or to tell your wife about it!), just taking your dob out by yourself and enjoying some favorite objects may be helpful. Spend 15-20 minutes on each object. You don't need to have a crowd nearby. Especially with the pandemic it is good that we can enjoy the hobby on our own as needed. Try to take some notes about your observations, perhaps after you have spent some time. then share your observations with the CN community! 

 

As for help with use of the new scope, or even your existing scope, do you belong to a local club? IF not, perhaps seek one out, and then after joining, they may have an email list, or a mentor, who could assist even remotely as needed. 


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#7 aeajr

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 02:03 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces. But I get about 10 seconds of view before I have to say to the next person, "Quick, take a look. This is great!"  Then that person has about 10 seconds before they say, "Yeah great!, Oh darn, I lost it."  Then I start trying to nudge the 'scope to get the object back in view.  But I haven't managed to get good at nudging. More often than not, I make the 'scope swing way past it, then I have to put my glasses back on, go back to the finder and try again.  Then I have to go back to the scope, nudging it desperately and feebly to get another view. Meanwhile I have people standing around getting bored. 

 

This is killing my motivation to take the 'scope out, set it up and try to see the stars. I don't have the skill or knowledge to make an equatorial mount and buying one just seemed too expensive.  I originally had no desire to do astrophotography. It is great that people are able to make those fantastic pictures, but there is a lot of technical knowledge and time involved that don't really contribute to just looking through an eyepiece and enjoying the view.  A good GoTo 'scope with comparable views is really expensive compared to the $350 I paid for the Dobson.  But I want to see things.  

 

I felt that I had no choice, so first I got a telescope camera. Now I can at least freeze the view, take a long look at it and show it to others. But it is hard to get the objects in the viewfinder long enough for the software to get a fix on them and give a nice picture. So, I swallowed hard and now have an 8" Nexstar SE waiting in a box in the living room. I haven't gathered the courage to take it out of the box or even tell my wife about it. Looking at the directions I am totally daunted. Usually my son helps me, but I will have to learn how to use it by myself. There aren't any star parties to get help at anymore. How did a person like me have two children who are engineers?

 

I have read that the typical backyard astronomer starts with a telescope, and then gets into a computer guided scope, and then gets into astrophotography.  I now understand why.  Combined with the problem of going to a dark sky site . . . Well, maybe I'm just not up to this challenge.  Or that is how I feel sometimes. I loved being under the night sky when I was young, looking across a frozen lake and hearing the wolves howl in the distance. This is different.

You need to learn to track your target on a manual mount or you need to get a tracking/

GoTo mount.  You now have both. 

 

I have 5 scopes. 

 

One is on a tracking/GoTo mount, like your 8SE.  This makes tracking easy and automatic.   Like anything else in life you have to read the instructions and learn the set-up process.  Why would you buy it if you are not willing to learn how to use it?

 

I don't know what your hesitation is with the 8SE.  Just read the instructions. And there are lots of videos on how to set-up a Celestron 8SE.  So what is the problem?  Read the friendly manual.  Watch the videos.  Why would you need an engineer?

 

You havent even taken the 8SE out of the box and have already decided that you have failed.  Why?

 

Four of my scopes are on manual mounts, one of which is a 12" Dob.  I don't have any problem tracking targets across the sky with the manual mounts.  Like anything else, it is a skill you lean.

 

I don't know what eyepieces you are using but eyepieces with a wider apparent field of view will give you more "drift time" in the eyepiece of the 10" Dob, before you have to move the scope.  

 

Just do it!


Edited by aeajr, 31 October 2020 - 02:09 PM.

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#8 peta62

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 02:09 PM

About the Celestron, I would recommend to watch some youtube videos, it is always better to see it than read about it.

I would start with Celestron official : https://www.youtube....h?v=Kz_MJQF37lY

I would continue with star alignment : https://www.youtube....h?v=UgfY5wT4VYo

I am sure you will find other based on your need.



#9 Faris

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 02:12 PM

I made one post on Dark Sites and I thank everyone for the replies and advice.  I have one more issue which I guess is more of a comment, but it has really affected my enjoyment of astronomy.  My 10" Dobsonian (Skyquest) gives great views of the planets and other objects, and they are really impressive at higher magnification.  However,  they just fly past the viewfinder and I never have enough time to see them.  I would like to try to study the objects and see as much detail as I can with different vision, filters and eyepieces. <...snip...>

I have started with the same scope that you have, the 8SE. Yes, an 8 inch SCT but it was goto and light enough to setup. The first night I did not see anything but as I focused on the moon and the planets I was hooked. 

 

The 8SE is a great scope but it requires some work due to the long focal length. I suggest that you pour over the manual and understand your gear. One thing I will tell you is to avoid looking at objects at zenith, it's a pain with the AZ mount. Also, use a basic 12v power supply to get a better experience with the mountain Celestron mains adapter.

 

You do not need to go fancy with your gear. If you even want to show people any objects use your phone as a live view finder. I do a lot of astrophotography when my schedule allows it but I try enjoy the 8SE for visual. So when I am out to a dark place, the 8SE is my goto visual scope!

 

I think you should focus on the core value of astronomy to you. Do not make this hobby a chore. Use the tools you have to maximize your time and enjoyment. 

 

As mentioned above the 8SE is well established mount and you will find plenty of resources online. Just take a deep breath and start enjoying the night sky you love so much!



#10 aeajr

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 02:16 PM

By the way, if you are too nervous to try setting up the 8SE, how could you even think about approaching astrophotography which is MUCH more complex and MUCH more technical.

 

1) use your Dob and practice tracking

 

2) Try some wider view eyepieces.  You don't seem to have a problem with budget so picking up some wider view eyepieces should work well for you.

 

Try these Meade 5000 UWA eyepieces in the Dob.  I think you will like them.  The 14,8.8 and 5.5 will also work in the 8SE.

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,177&sr=8-1


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#11 Alterf

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 02:32 PM

I've done AP for years and really enjoy it, but I also have a non-tracking dob that I take out whenever I have some time in the evenings.  Even in my Bortle 6 skies, I can enjoy open and glob clusters, many galaxies, brighter nebula, planets, and double stars.  When I have a long evening and don't image, I have a goto mount and a Cassegrain telescope (a little bigger than your 8) that allows me to look without interruption.

 

I'd say pull out that Nexstar 8 and get started.  The good thing about a hobby is that there is no rush.  We have no deadlines!  Take your time and get the 8 working well.  If it takes 20 nights to get it working, then you can enjoy the next 200 without bumping the scope at all.  The investment will pay long-term.

 

I remember when I started in AP.  It took about a year to diagnose all the tracking problems with my mount and resolve them so that autoguiding would work.  I even had to send a mount when back to the manufacturer for repair.  But now I can troubleshoot autoguiding efficiently, and the understanding of the equipment has served me well for the last 13 years since that time.

 

The stars will still be there!  Knowing your tools well will be worth the time.

 

Best,

 

Val



#12 vtornado

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 03:15 PM

Hello and a couple of thoughts,   If you are having trouble nudging your scope it could have what is call stiction.

that is the stationary friction is greater than the moving friction.  So you push your scope to get it started but

that initial push is too hard once the scope starts moving.  One solution is to get some bee's wax or some

bar soap and soap the ground board to slightly reduce the friction.  Also, I have seen on some cheap dobs

the teflon pads that run on the ground board are stapled and the staple is raised a bit so its metal on wood

instead of teflon on wood.  Make sure this is not your case.   If it is you can either pound the staple down with

a punch, or remove and glue the teflon bad to the azimuth board.

 

The other idea costs money and that is to get some wider field eyepieces.  It give you some more drift time.

An 80 degree eyepiece will have 60% more drift time than a 50 degree eyepiece.  Not as good as the

equitorial platform but its simple.


Edited by vtornado, 31 October 2020 - 03:18 PM.

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#13 Sketcher

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 03:17 PM

You feel that you've been forced into astro-photography and a go-to; but that's not the reality of your situation.

 

Your 10-inch telescope can do all that you want to do with it.  It's all a matter of knowledge,  practice and, if necessary, some "tweaking" of the mount for smoother operation.

 

John Dobson himself (and many others) used simple, non-goto, non-motorized, alt-az mounted Newtonians to share views with the general public.  But some things require more skill, knowledge, and practice than others.

 

What kind of would-be sharpshooter would take one shot with a particular firearm, miss the tin can, and conclude that if he wants to become a sharp-shooter he's going to need a different firearm?  Sometimes one just has to learn to make the best of what one has; and more often than not, it will be discovered that amazing things can be accomplished with some of the least expensive equipment.

 

You can fine-tune your telescope and work on improving your operational skills.  You can  get a go-to.  You can move into astro-photography.  But you're not being forced into any of those options.

 

Many of us, myself included, have never owned a go-to and have never ventured into the wonderful world of astro-photography -- not even after being in this hobby for several decades.  (OK, so I did a brief stint in the world of astro-photography; but 1979 was the last year in which I concentrated my attention in that direction.)  I've not even used an RA-drive in the past few years -- and I often make sketches while at the eyepiece.

 

Electronics, motors, go-to, and cameras certainly have their place in this hobby; but they're not necessities -- particularly when it comes to visual astronomy.

 

Expand your knowledge.  Develop you skills.  Modify your equipment if necessary.  And there's no end to what you'll be able to accomplish with what you already have.  You might even discover that a 10-inch telescope is larger than you really need!  I haven't used a telescope that large in several years.  Half that aperture is capable of keeping me happy (and busy) for the remainder of my clear nights.

 

Actually, your current difficulties may have been avoidable if you had started out with a smaller telescope -- with a wider true-field capability.  At lower magnifications objects take far less time to transit one's eyepiece field, allowing one to more gradually develop the skills to manually track in an efficient and effective manner at progressively higher magnifications.


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#14 hcf

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 03:26 PM

You might also want to look at the EAA forum , for how to use your 8SE (with mount) with a focal reducer for DSOs, taking short exposure images, and live stacking them, in near real time. Quite technical to setup (kids can help), but not very technical to use once it is setup.

https://www.cloudyni...-astronomy-eaa/

 

And if you want your Zen experience with the night sky, try some large binoculars on a parallelogram mount.



#15 MellonLake

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 04:11 PM

Get an EQ platform that will allow your Dob to track. These are manual devices. Point it North put the telescope on and it will track for an hour before needing to be reset. Cheaper than the 8SE and your Dob works the same way.

Edited by MellonLake, 31 October 2020 - 04:18 PM.

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#16 sg6

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 05:01 PM

The 10" is I would say simply a case of the scope is for one person to use at a time and that person has to have learnt how to use a manual dobsonian.

 

If you listen to dob owners they give the impression that whatever you want to see swings into view and stays there. It doesn't. You have to find and track everything. Nice expensive wide eyepieces are expensive because manual dobsonians need wide. Someone here used to pull out a 10" dobsonain every outreach night for 2 years. He liked it, he could use it, no member of the public could. Nice scope but in the situation totally and utterly useless. Expect a solid month to learn to use one.

 

The 8SE, not going to like this, WHY? Narrow field of view so needs good set up and good alignment and again a wide eyepiece.

 

Say 30mm 50 degree plossl: Mag = 67, view = 0.74 degrees. That will be about typical.

Half the nice objects won't fit in the view - M42, M45, M33, don't ever think of M31 - the central boring core alone of M31 is bigger then the field of view you will get.

 

Also to add insult to injury you haven't been pushed into AP, the dobsonian isn't an AP scope and neither is the 8SE. Scope is too slow and the mount is wrong.

 

You want a small simple easy scope and an 80mm achro of about f/8 (not the f/5's) on the Skywatcher Az GTi would have done all you really want. And your wife could likely learn to use it while you learn to use the 10". And I suspect she will get results before you.

 

Buy an 8SE about 2 or 3 years after you have been doing astronomy and when you know if it is what you want. But an 8" SCT is somewhat specialist.

 

The 8SE was actually the scope I walked away from when I started, I bought the ETX70. Best decision I made. Presently the Az GTi and 72ED is taking over from the ETX. Yes, I still have and use the ETX.



#17 f74265a

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 06:27 PM

By the way, if you are too nervous to try setting up the 8SE, how could you even think about approaching astrophotography which is MUCH more complex and MUCH more technical.

1) use your Dob and practice tracking

2) Try some wider view eyepieces. You don't seem to have a problem with budget so picking up some wider view eyepieces should work well for you.

Try these Meade 5000 UWA eyepieces in the Dob. I think you will like them. The 14,8.8 and 5.5 will also work in the 8SE.
https://www.amazon.c...,aps,177&sr=8-1


Agree completely with suggestion 2 regarding wide field eyepieces
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#18 PPPPPP42

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 09:18 PM

I only skimmed the responses but since they all seemed to be people sharing their opinions I will just respond directly to yours.

Nudging does indeed suck, many people here have decades of experience in astronomy and prefer to do things the old way, I despise manual work, I have limited time and I want to view, not star hop and constantly recenter. I do it with my refractor on its manual alt/az mount but that's a different sort of deal with a different purpose.

I started with a 6SE and moved to a CPC800 so I am familiar with the antics of the SE mount.

I would have suggested you get a better mount if you had any intention of AP since its a bit light and an alt/az, but for visual with tracking it will work quite well.  Its a good OTA and could be stuck on an equatorial mount later if you wanted and keep the SE mount for light travel or quick nights.  I totally forget what dovetail the SE uses (might be some SE only thing).

 

As was mentioned you REALLY need an external 12v power source. It will work OK sometimes on the internal AA batteries but a great many instances of the tracking going off or going outright berserk and trying to point straight up and the like were caused by the motors taking too much power from the electronics and a good 12v pack fixes that.  You will hear the difference in the sound of the motors even. Many people use home made cheap options but the best option I found was this:

https://www.astronom...le-battery.html

Which is seemingly expensive but it runs the telescope all night and is small enough and light enough that you can strap it to the outside of the arm on the 8SE and have zero cord wrap issues.  I still use the thing to power my much bigger CPC800 all night and used it as backup power for my iPad with its usb ports as well.  You still need the AA batteries in the mount though I can't remember what didn't work right for me when I tried it without, (time and location memory maybe?)

If you are broke an only view outside your back door you could get away with the AC adapter (handy as a backup anyways) but mind the cord wrap (and tripping over it).

You also need a dew shield:

https://www.astronom...with-notch.html

This is also a super popular accesory (I have one):

https://www.astronom...assegrains.html

It flattens the field for AP as well as turning the scope into an F6.3 (normally F10) which means less magnification but more light and a wider angle of view.  It basically turns any given eyepiece into a lower power one.  You would take it off for planets or close ups of parts of the moon, both of which are small and bright where you want max magnification and possibly for stuff like double stars.  It made a very visible difference on DSO's for me.  You will definitely notice the DSO's are fainter between the 10" dob and the 8" sct.

I no longer use it because I went to wide angle 2" eyepieces but that's many hundreds if not thousands to do so I wouldn't bother at this point.  There are some excellent 1.25" 82 degree eyepieces out there if you really want a wider image and have the money but still very reasonably priced compared to 2".

 

As for the usage of the scope do the initial one time setup for time and location and get the red dot finder aligned properly (keep spare batteries for when you forget it turned on also) then pick 2 star manual calibration. Pick 2 bright stars about 90 degrees apart that you can clearly identify and then point at the first one.  First you pick the star and then it tells you to center it, be accurate centering or it can get confused.  Then select the second star and move to it as quickly as possible and get it accurately centered.  This normally will work correctly and give you a close enough track that even at high power its close to the center of the view and you can just manually bump it over with the arrows to correct it and it will still track accurately.

It takes some practice to do it fast and going too slow or being way off center will cause the alignment to fail, but its not actually difficult, you just need to try it first to see how the horrible menus work.  That hand controller is seriously 1980's crap.  I actually use the celestron wifi doodad with my iPad with Sky Safari pro for alignment and controls and don't touch it anymore but it worked fine the whole time I had the 6SE once I got used to it.  It is pretty simple to use.

I noticed on my old used 6SE that the bottom few manual slew speeds (important function to learn) didn't move the motors at all even with a 12v pack on it, no idea what new motors do.  I ended up just using the middle speed for slow and the top speed for fast (5 and 9 i think)

 

To get the numbers to enter into the hand control to select targets get a simple star chart program on your phone if you don't have one already.  I use sky safari (you don't need the pro version) but there are many choices.  Using paper charts or books with goto would be very clunky.  I like using the "tonight's best" menu to see what the most interesting stuff up at the moment is (I make the menu sort by altitude so the highest stuff is listed first) and then pick like a buffet, there is lots of stuff I wouldn't have even known to look for until it showed me.  You just select what you want to see, click info and get its M number or whatever and then enter it into the hand control.  The ability of the software to zoom way in and out is also critical to me.  I turned off the auto aiming (pointing the phone to move the screen)  because it kept accidentally going in the wrong direction while I was typing, easier to just move around by swiping.

Eyepieces is too much to cover but I used the celestron zoom when I had the 6se and what I went to after wouldn't really work for you so no help there.  You might already have what you need.  I found 8mm was the most magnification I needed seeing wise and I never got around to using anything wider than the 24mm end of the zoom.

OK that's my ramble on the topic (umm crap, that got long winded).


Edited by PPPPPP42, 01 November 2020 - 06:02 AM.


#19 BFaucett

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Posted 31 October 2020 - 09:29 PM

 

Try these Meade 5000 UWA eyepieces in the Dob.  I think you will like them.  The 14,8.8 and 5.5 will also work in the 8SE.

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,177&sr=8-1

 

Note: To my knowledge, the Meade 5000 UWA 82° eyepieces have been discontinued. 

 

Bob F. 


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#20 therealdmt

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Posted 01 November 2020 - 05:28 AM

Cheer up, Sonof. Don’t get too frustrated; you just have to work out your observing style, get matching equipment and take some time to get better at using it. Knowing the night sky, knowing your equipment and knowing yourself.

 

My thoughts are along the lines of others: There’s no need to be forced into astrophotography or GoTo if you don’t want.

 

I think you might just want a scope with a wider field of view on a smoother moving mount, used with wide field of view eyepieces or perhaps even with lower magnification eyepieces. Alternatively, you would probably do well with a smaller scope on a manual EQ mount, or perhaps on an EQ mount with an RA motor so that you don’t have to touch anything to keep a target in the eyepiece.

 

Different eyepieces can give wider fields of view than others, up to the limit of the scope. And different scopes have wider or narrower maximum fields of view than others. A wider field of view means an object spends more time in the eyepiece.
 

Meanwhile get down there and look at how exactly the mount you have works and look into how you could smooth out its operation.

 

Also, practice with it alone, even in the daytime. Some daytime pointing sessions helped me to get going with my scopes after very frustrating first nights with each. Meanwhile, it sounds like you’re trying to learn how to control your scope while keeping people entertained. They’re frustrated/bored as they stand there waiting for you to learn how to better control your scope and you as a result are getting increasingly nervous, probably controlling the scope even worse, and overall ending up stressed out instead of enjoying an evening’s viewing. IMO, you should figure out how to control your scope smoothly on your own time, not while someone with limited attention span is standing there waiting. It’s like if you were to play a song on piano for these same people - the time to learn how to make the chords smoothly and consistently isn’t while they’re sitting there ("Wait wait, hold on, I’ve almost got it. No, that’s not right. Wait...let me start again. Dang it, hold on...") - you have to spend long dedicated hours of practice alone to be ready to perform smoothly for others.

 

Meanwhile, if you feel weird about the 8 SE and it’s still in its boxes, perhaps return it. I’m not saying definitely return it - I don’t know exactly how you feel about it. If you want to give it a try, give it a try. Could be cool.

 

My thought was something a bit smaller (4" to 6" range) on a manual EQ mount might be good for you. You do have to polar align it and learn to move the scope to work with the right ascension (R.A.) and declination (Dec.) system (a bit frustrating in and of itself, but once you get the hang of it, it makes sense), but then you can track an object just by turning one knob (the RA knob). Depending on the exact mount, you could even partially motorize it and have the motor (if supplied with power) turn the RA knob for you. Hands off, the target staying in the eyepiece (sounds nice, eh? There is a bit to getting set up and on target though).

 

Take some time to figure it out on your own. If it’s your wife, tell her that this is a bit tougher than you expected and you really need some dedicated practice time just to practice finding, pointing and tracking rather than observing anything in particular or showing people stuff. Like practicing a golf swing rather than playing a frustrating round of golf when you don’t even know how to consistently control the club and ball yet.

 

And be patient with yourself smile.gif

 

Good luck - it sounds like you really love the night sky, so stick with it. A lot of the rest of us have certainly had our frustrations too, including with getting financially invested deeper than we’d ever originally intended as we get a handle on this whole endeavor. Heck, helping each other get through these challenges is a good chunk of what this forum is for! Anyway, speaking for myself, I know I’ve sure been ready to cry or shout in frustration a few times, but it’s coming together well enough lately. Just gotta get over that hump


Edited by therealdmt, 01 November 2020 - 05:38 AM.

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#21 aeajr

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Posted 01 November 2020 - 08:44 AM

Note: To my knowledge, the Meade 5000 UWA 82° eyepieces have been discontinued. 

 

Bob F. 

Seems you are correct.  I just checked the Meade website.  That must have happened very recently as I have recommended the UWA often.  I have two myself and like them very much.   

 

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  Unfortunate.  They were great eyepieces at a very good price. Then new ones are much more expensive.  It will be interesting to see if they are worth the big premium over the old ones. 

https://www.meade.co...html?series=167


Edited by aeajr, 01 November 2020 - 08:45 AM.

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#22 Son of Norway

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 07:48 PM

OK, I've studied all your responses.  I have a plan.  I took the 8se out of the box.  I have it set up and ready for its first night out. I will go over the Dob to reduce the static friction and improve its motion.  I will go out by myself for awhile, try to relax and use lower power, wider field eyepieces.  I think this will work, and help me be better prepared for my next trip out to the dark sky site. Thanks to all for helping me deal with the frustration.


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#23 Roger Corbett

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 05:57 PM

Wanted to add one other observation...

 

While objects initially appear to fly through the eyepiece view of field, they are there much, much longer than 10 seconds, especially at low power!

 

They certainly don't cross in 10 seconds!  It just seems like it...

 

We don't want those starting out to get a misimpression about Dobs and this issue.

 

At the celestial equator, the sky appears to rotate 15 degrees per hour, or 360 degrees in 24 hours.  That's 1 degree in *four* minutes.  In other words, it takes the sky 4 minutes to move through a 1 degree field of view!  If you have a low power, wide field of view eyepiece, and time it, you'll see that it takes a long time to go from one side of the view to the other.  Definitely far, far longer than 10 seconds.  Minutes...

 

Of course, we do not observe things from right at the edge, but nearer the center.  Let's say halfway towards the center and follow it through the center and to halfway to the other edge.  That still gives you two minutes of observing time.  Add in practice, experience, and habit, and you gain the ability to gently nudge the Dobsonian to re-center the object, and pretty soon, the sky seems pretty steady.

 

I know I had the same reaction about the fast-moving view when I got back into the hobby as an adult... things did seem to fly through the eyepiece -- and I was mesmerized by the view through scopes (8" and 5" SCTs) that tracked.  It was if someone had stopped the sky!  Rock solid, steady viewing.  Amazing!

 

But the noise, the long slews, the heavy equipment, the inability (back then) to move the scope manually and have it keep its alignment and tracking, etc. meant I quickly went back to -- and appreciated -- the simplicity and grace of a well-crafted Dobsonian.  In my case, it was a 7" Starmaster, and the motions were completely smooth, no rebalancing the scope ever, it responded to the gentlest touch, and, at lower powers, the views seemed rock steady -- again, just as if someone had stopped the sky.  With experience and a well-built dob, one soon forgets that things in the fov are moving.  Even at higher powers, and planetary viewing, the motions on the Starmaster are so good, and the repositioning had quickly become second nature, that the "rapid" movement through the fov was not an issue.




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