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Is anyone else tired of the hassle?

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#26 CHASLX200

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 06:26 PM

I like EQ mounts the best that i can just push around like my Edmund 1..5" shaft mount and a AP800. Both were butter at 450x and up by pushing. Also had a 60mm shaft Optic craft mount that was great but way over loaded for a 12.5" F/7.5 Newt. But on a 8" it was a dream.


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#27 clamchip

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 06:40 PM

I prefer a equatorial and I will use one if I plan something special like observing planets

for extended periods.

For general purpose observing it's my Unistar alt/az I'll be using.

I have the Unistar on a Losmandy GM8 and it works fine up to a 4 inch f/15 lightweight

such as my Edmund. And for newt's 6 inch f/8, SCT, orange C8 is a great match.

I would be lost without it, it's a really fine mounting.

There are times I just don't feel like going outside. I love armchair astronomy and have

subscriptions to both Sky&Telescope and Astronomy magazine for a pretty steady flow

of entertainment.

Robert

Here you can see the Unistar Teflon bearings and the clamping jaws for the telescope's

dovetail bar. Mine takes a wider Losmandy size bar but you can find Unistars with a 

Vixen size.

And a photo of the Unistar/GM8 with a Edmund 4 inch f/15.

 

post-50896-0-92390300-1452215335_thumb.jpg

post-50896-0-66226300-1521596570.jpg


Edited by clamchip, 11 October 2021 - 06:47 PM.

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#28 Matty S

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 06:47 PM

Since my first scope was a Dob I am firmly attuned to alt/az stargazing and starhopping in general. I find it simple, intuitive, and easy.

Add some slo-mo's for an enjoyable night under the stars.

Tak 76 on a Twilight I... SV 102 on a M2 and Denali tripod... Pentax J60 on it's neat green anodized alt/az... all too easy.

The addition of a Dob provides a perfect pairing for a starry night of contemplation, imo.

Me and EQ's just don't see eye-to-eye... but I was never really a technical gearhead, I just like all the nifty toys hamsterdance.gif


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#29 CHASLX200

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 06:54 PM

Since i use high power all the time i found trying to move two axis a pain.  I never had any of the newer ALT- AZ mounts so can't tell ya what i think about them. 


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#30 J.Moore

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 07:00 PM

I don't have near the experience most of you folks here do but I quickly learned that easy, fast set-up and take down was key for me. I have a Sky View Pro EQ on a Hands On Optics tripod and love it. Of course it carries my little China/Vixen 80mm so it's an easy 'grab n go' setup. One trip out of my garage and set up 10-15 ft out on blacktop or grass. Same with my Classic C8 on the wedge/tripod/fork mount. Carry either out in one trip and be observing in 15 minutes. Now the old RV-6 is another story and sadly I haven't had it out in a year as it's more work. Guess I'm getting lazy in my old age. 

 

Terra, you have 5 years and 5 days on me as I'm October 20th. October is a cool month isn't it?  wink.gif  Early Happy Birthday to you dear and hopefully many more for all of us! bow.gif

I'm just across the river from you in Cincy. How did you land in No. Ky. being a So Calf girl? 

 

And you are right about sky conditions in this area. 200x is about max here on a good night. But I remember a post you wrote years ago when the topic was 80mm scopes and you said you had an A80MF and it didn't compare with the Celestron/Japan 80mm you had and that you had pushed the Celestron to 200-220x. Well I did just that with my China/Vixen recently on an unusually good night here several weeks ago. Had sharp crisp views of Jupiter and Saturn at 202x. So maybe mine is a rare one. I always remembered that post and kind of used it as a guide for mine and I was thrilled to see good sharp images at 202x on my little 80mm so thanks for that info.

 

Jack

 


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#31 Russell Smith

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 07:14 PM

Happy early birthday Terra.

I personally enjoy using my EQ mounts but do understand the extra time and trips outside to set things up.

If I'm doing lunar I will take out my porta mount. 

However if I want to have tracking I use the GP/DX. (I'm sure mine is a clone) I don't bother with a polar scope I have the mount set at my latitude and use a compass app and a level app to set it up on my phone.

For me this works like a charm but is indeed as you said much more labor intensive. 

So... you don't use those dual drives?

Russ


Edited by Russell Smith, 11 October 2021 - 07:15 PM.

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#32 Terra Nova

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 07:19 PM

Hi Jack, thank you for the advance B-Day wishes. I arrived here by a strange and circuitous route but am happy to be here. Actually various career choices took me away from California over forty years ago. I used to go back quite a lot but much less after my parents passed away. Now it’s just another nice place to visit but I would want to live there. My home, family, friends and life are here in Kentucky now and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.


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#33 jsiska

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 07:40 PM

I like that the Tasco 7TE mount, and both the Vixen Polaris and the Super Polaris mounts because of their capability to operate in either Polar or Alt-AZ modes (the Vixen Super Polaris DX mount which I also have doesn't have the Alt-AZ capability).

 

The Tasco 7TE mount is the lightest of the four mentioned above and is the easiest to take outside. Recently, I've been trying to figure out how to fit a Unitron 114 OTA in the cradle of the 7TE mount. I normally keep the Unitron 114 OTA in the guide scope rings on my 8" Meade 880 RG. The problem using the 7TE mount is that the Unitron 114 OTA has a few millimeters larger diameter tube than the Tasco 7TE OTA and it wont fit in the cradle of the 7TE mount.


Edited by jsiska, 11 October 2021 - 08:08 PM.

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#34 grif 678

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 07:53 PM

Terra

I have felt that way for many years, I do not like the extra weight of the mount, having to try to line it up, carrying it outside, etc. One of my most loved mounts is the 114 unitron altaz, followed closely by the vixen altaz. It is SO much easier to just aim the scope towards the object, without the hassle of trying to line everything up. That takes up a lot of viewing time. And also if you want just a quick look, you can carry the 114 altaz mount ( in my case with my 90 ETX ) out with one hand and start viewing in a minute. With a heavy equatorial , it takes minutes off of your viewing time just trying to get it lined up. It is not worth it for me, I am just a visual observer anyways. If I had to use only an equatorial, I may have all ready retired from this hobby.

And the 114 unitron altaz mount is such a smooth, anti backlash mount that is a breeze to use.

Oh, happy birthday to you. Hope you have many more

Billy


Edited by grif 678, 11 October 2021 - 07:54 PM.

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#35 luxo II

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 08:31 PM

I’m old school for sure. ... I’m wondering, is anyone else tired of the hassle?

Absolutely, Terra, yes, I started with a big old-school 6" f/8 and 8" f/7 newtonian on a heavy equatorial mount, but tired of it long ago when I came to the big city and swapped it for a C8 (a mistake).  I got out of astronomy altogether and disposed of all my gear back in the 90's.

 

When I got back into it circa 2007, I started with a 102mm refractor on a SkyTee - as simple a rig as possible, which was very enjoyable and led me to assemble an altaz Push-To rig with a refractor and a Mak.  https://www.cloudyni...s-ii-skysafari/ I still think that is nirvana for casual use with a smallish scope and I now use a 6" mak on SV M2C with encoders for weekends away with the family.

 

Ever since 2007 I've been an altaz observer. When I had the chance to upgrade to a 10" premium mak with exquisite optics, tracking was essential, but I stayed altaz - and hence the big beast rides on an AZEQ6.

 

NB:

 

- all my scopes have a 2" back that can take the turret loaded with 6 eyepieces, with optional reducer or Barlow;

- all scopes and mounts have Losmandy dovetails.

 

This means I can now mix and match any of 4 scopes to two altaz mounts (AZEQ6 or M2C) and my eyepiece turret (with eyepieces) fits them all, or a 2" diagonal, and I can put any of three smaller scopes piggyback on the 10" mak.

 

Now, as for dobbyfying your newtonian... here's something you wont see often:

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  • Assembled alt-az (Matthias Wirth).jpg

Edited by luxo II, 11 October 2021 - 08:47 PM.

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#36 firemachine69

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 08:56 PM

For me, it comes down to "Is it worth not having to touch it when viewing at high magnification."

 

For DSO's with the equipment I have, manual alt-az is way simpler and much preferred. For Lunar/Planetary, I want the PITA GEM smile.gif

Never heard of the AZeq6, have you? grin.gif


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#37 luxo II

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:06 PM

For me, it comes down to "Is it worth not having to touch it when viewing at high magnification." For DSO's with the equipment I have, manual alt-az is way simpler and much preferred. For Lunar/Planetary, I want the PITA GEM smile.gif

You would be wanting one of these... altaz, tracking and yup, full GOTO... 10" f/12 planet-killer, and 6" f/12 or f/6 piggyback... and the 3 main parts are under 15kg (unlike a CPC or LX200).

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  • IMG_0986.jpg

Edited by luxo II, 11 October 2021 - 09:09 PM.

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#38 zakry3323

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:10 PM

You would be wanting one of these... altaz, tracking and yup, full GOTO... 10" f/12 planet-killer, and 6" f/12 or f/6 piggyback... and the 3 main parts are under 15kg (unlike a CPC or LX200).

Now that's a setup I could get behind! :)



#39 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:13 PM

Terra:

 

Happy pre-Birthday...

 

I parted ways with my GEMs some years ago, like you say, too much hassle. At the moment I actually have three GEMs but they were incidental to scope purchases and only the one on the Carton 60 mm F/15 ever comes out to play.

 

Tim likes GEM mounted Newtonians, for me, they're too much hassle for the aperture.  I'm on my 74th solar orbit, I can still load my 16 inch Meade Dob (now a truss) in the motor home and head out for dark skies. The 12.5 inch Meade RG, never left the driveway in the years ii owned it. My 12.5 inch Discovery, old enough to be a classic and now a truss has been all around the southwest.

 

At-az is just more practical.. yes, I'm manually tracking for planetary-double star but a GEM that is solid under a large scope is a super hassle and not affordable. I do have a high end EQ platform but I just find i prefer manual tracking..

 

Jon


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#40 ccwemyss

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:28 PM

The AZeq mounts are great for open air or a ROR observatory. For a dome with a slot, however, they have to look through at more of an angle than a fork mount alt-az. So side-by-side mounting is better than piggyback with a tandem rig in that case. With the fork, piggyback is a good choice from inside a dome. A GEM has issues either way - just in different positions.

 

I just found a lower tripod for the CGEM, which should be here in a few days, so I'll be able to put it back at a usable height.

 

Chip W. 


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#41 luxo II

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:37 PM

Now that's a setup I could get behind! smile.gif

Well, here's the business end... one scope modern, the other a classic Intes MK66...

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Edited by luxo II, 11 October 2021 - 09:45 PM.

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#42 luxo II

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:41 PM

And just for fun we also tried putting two 10" maks side-by-side on an AZ100 with Nexus DSC, if push-to is your thing...

 

Oh and yes the one on the right is definitely a classic, a rare old Intes ... 

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  • IMG_0795.jpg

Edited by luxo II, 11 October 2021 - 09:45 PM.

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#43 Terra Nova

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 09:54 PM

And just for fun we also tried putting two 10" maks side-by-side on an AZ100 with Nexus DSC, if push-to is your thing...

 

Oh and yes the one on the right is definitely a classic, a rare old Intes ... 

Wow!!! That’s pretty darned amazing!



#44 Jim Curry

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 11:33 PM

I was surprised you had that 4” Unitron eq for so long.  That’s a serious hog-wrastle to get out the door.

I’m kinda stuck on EQ’s for high power solar system viewing.  The few minutes of set up is worth it.  If I’m not in the mood for the G11 with the 5” and 3-4 trips I have a couple of smaller eq’s to choose from with a little smaller scope that are a 2 trip setup.


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#45 GreyDay

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 03:31 AM

 The one thing that struck me setting up was what a PITA it is to use a German equatorial mount!

I think after last night, I may even ‘Dobify’ my vintage Newt (I know, I’m a heretic), and be done with the madness! I’m getting to old for this! (Not observing, just observing with GEMs).

I’m wondering, is anyone else tired of the hassle?

I've been tired of the hassle since the beginning :)

 

Spending time setting up especially with GEMs that dont have a polar finder, getting close then drift aligning was a pain. Most of my observing is manual  Alt-Az, with occasional use for my RA powered Tal gem for tracking tight doubles etc.

"Dobifying" the newt isn't heresy! so long as there's no permanent damage, in the past i've used a dob with manual setting circles and found it to be one of the easiest scopes i've ever used. In the end what works best is really what works for you!

 

Have a great birthday on Friday :)


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#46 CHASLX200

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 05:49 AM

I never did get my EQ mounts set on the pole. I just plopped them down and looked. I am just a 30 min guy at best most nites unless the planets are prime time and the seeing is super steady.  I can find deep sky objects much more faster with EQ mount. I don't do normal star hoping as i use say M15 to find M2 since i bump the scope a little east of M15 and swing south and BOOM there is M2.  Before GO-TO ruined me i could find so many objects.


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#47 Terra Nova

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:56 AM

A big problem with most of the modern GEMs out there, and I have to say that this problem started with most of the Japanese GEMs sixty years ago, are tiny, impossible to use setting circles. For me, a big advantage of a GEM is to have usable setting circles, and to be usable setting circles, they need to be readable setting circles! Nowadays, they all seem to have have these tiny engraved pressed aluminum bottle caps! (Losmandy being an exception.) Back in the day, Unitron mounts had wonderful, big setting circles that were very easy to read and use in the dark with a dim red flashlight; especially when they were black with white markings, (I wasn’t as much of a fan with the polished metal ones). Also, my Zeiss mounts had big, usable setting circles, even tho the RA circle was really an hour circle. Even the printed plastic disks on the old Edmund and Jaegers mounts were actually pretty usable, unfortunately few survived due to their fragility. Criterion had good metal circles. All of that has changed Most today require a magnifying glass and a bright flashlight to read, and even so, are so small, they are useless decorations.  IMO, all modern GEMs that  aren’t budget cheapies should come with encoders/digital setting circles. I had that on my old GP mount that I purchased twenty years ago. It was push-to and had an easy alignment algorithm and great red LED digital setting circles. Of course, now, to get that, you have to have full go-to and more hassle.   So basically, if you don’t want go-to and I go-don’t, you have to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and star-hop to find anything anyway. You sure aren’t going to find it with those tiny setting circles! At least I’m not.

 

By my experience, star-hopping is far easier with a smooth and stable alt-az mount like a TeleVue Pan or Gibralter, a Stellarvue M2, or a UA Unistar, all of which I either have or have had. And star-hopping with those mounts is so easy with an RDF, or my favorite- a GLP and my 12x60 binoculars in hand. And as far as tracking, again, with a smooth and stable alt-az mount like any of the ones I listed above, my well balanced shortish tube fast refractors and their wide fields made wider by wide field Nagler 82° eyepieces can easily track at 200X by the gentle nudge of a finger. So basically, what I’m saying is that finding things, and tracking under high power, the two most often stated things that make a GEM desirable, can also easily be accomplished with an ergonomically designed alt-az system. And that is exactly what Al Nagler did! It puts the least amount of ‘stuff’ between you and the stars. The less fuss at the telescope and the less stuff to drag in and out. The more time and fun observing! That’s been my revelation. And tho I’ve never had a Dobsonian Newtonian, I suspect that’s the whole deal behind the Dobsonian Revolution as well. Primative to look at, but easy to use. So maybe its not devolution after all? wink.gif

 

Thank you all again for the pre-birthday well wishes! It seems like no time at all since I was wondering how I would ever be able to wait all those years until Halleys Comet appeared!


Edited by Terra Nova, 12 October 2021 - 09:08 AM.

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#48 Rick-T137

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:57 AM

I have flip-flopped between an EQ-5 and my LX-6 mount in regards to my 8" SCT. I liked the compactness of the EQ-5 (which is a GEM) versus the bulk of the LX-6 (which is fork-mounted) but the EQ-5 was always more of a hassle to use, and there'd be cables going every which direction. But it somehow seemed like less hassle to set up and tear down.

 

I had an "ah-ha!" moment earlier this year when I decided to keep my wedge permenantly attached to my tripod, and thus I can transport my SCT on the LX-6 mount in just two pieces. I also ditched the Dec motor and the hand controller - essentially I run my LX-6 like it's a classic C8 - just the RA motor. Everything else is done with the manual controls. I do have a Kendrick dew removal system, but I'm experimenting with insulation to see if that might not be necessary as well.

 

My goal is to get the number of pieces of equiment that I need to set up to be as minimal as possible. Right now, it's just the tripod/wedge combo, the OTA/forks combo, my drum stool, a small folding table, my six eyepieces and whatever field guide I'm using that particilar night (varies between Sky's Jumbo Pocket Atlas, Norton's, Turn Left at Orion or Uranometria). So that's six packages in total that I shift from the back and forth from my Fiat.

 

This simplicity rivals my own personal "golden age" of observing when I was using a 10" Dob... but the SCT has the benefit of being able to track! And even with the fork and EQ wedge, it's still more compact to travel with than my 10" Dob was (I doubt it would have fit into the back of my Fiat-ski!).

 

Clear skies!

 

Rick

 

PS: Happy prelated (?!) birthday Terra!


Edited by Rick-T137, 12 October 2021 - 07:59 AM.

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#49 AllanDystrup

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 09:31 AM

Allan, if you tried a TeleVue Gibralter mount you might change your mind. And equipped with an illuminated digital level for altitude, and an illuminated or luminous compass and Sky Safari, it’s as easy to find things as with setting circles. I really think Uncle Al thought of everything when he designed his family of 101mm Petzval apos, the Gibralter fork mount, and his wide angle Nagler and Panoptic eyepieces.

     
    Yea, I think could live with that setup: the TV Genesis 4” f/5 refractor on the Gibraltar Alt-Az mount; That is a sweet spot, and interesting enough, also the one that Stephen O’Mears chose for many of his DS-observations.

     
    Then again, he had up to 8.5 NELM skies, so star hopping (which is my preferred way too, — I don’t use the excellent setting circles on my Zeiss Ib mount at night, as star hopping is faster, and much more fun!), so  yes, — star hopping with an Alt-Az must be a breeze under an 8m sky, whereas it can be more demanding under a suburban NELM 5-6m night dome…

     

     Here a lean & mean GEM with RA & DEC slo-mo is more helpfull, as I can just plant my Z-bolt laser beam on a bright star, then “triangulate” to the DS objects c.f. My star maps, let the RA drive do its thing and sit down for a leasurely “hands free” observation with the option of sketching or snapping an image with my smartphone.

 

     Luckily we have many offers for todays equipment, so we can mix and match that to our specific circumstances and preferences. One man’s hassle in another man’s heaven. And vice-versa grin.gif

 

     Have a great B-day Terra! — my number 72 is coming up February next year, so I’m not that far behind. A great age, with lots of time for grandchildren and for our hobbies.
 

     — All the best / Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 12 October 2021 - 09:34 AM.

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#50 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 09:39 AM

Then again, he had up to 8.5 NELM skies, so star hopping (which is my preferred way too, — I don’t use the excellent setting circles on my Zeiss Ib mount at night, as star hopping is faster, and much more fun!), so  yes, — star hopping with an Alt-Az must be a breeze under an 8m sky, whereas it can be more demanding under a suburban NELM 5-6m night dome…

 

 

With an app like SkySafari, a Telrad,  an appropriate RACI finder with cross hairs not only centered but aligned alt-az, star hopping even under bright urban skies is very doable.

 

Jon


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