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What will the new generation of classics be like

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#101 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 January 2022 - 07:28 PM

Greetings all. Earlier the 4.7 inch F5 Synta refractor OTA's were mentioned as  possible classics in the future. I agree. In fact, since Orion has discontinued their version of the ST120 OTA, has it become an instant classic? Here is mine on a (classic) 1980's Super Polaris mount. I hope to pass it on to one of my grandkids.

I am getting one soon.


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#102 Linn

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Posted 06 January 2022 - 07:50 PM

I can see any scope connected to one of the expert designers. I think TMB connected scopes will especially be considered classics along with scopes with Russian glass. Then there are the Portaball newts.


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#103 Kasmos

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Posted 06 January 2022 - 07:58 PM

 

I don't share the sentiment towards the decline in visual. I think that fundamentally the Tele-Vue eyepieces are too expensive and the Naglers face too much competition from cheaper eyepieces that are 99% as good. The Ethos and Delos are more specialized products that haven't been as successfully duplicated (though APM is getting really close these days) and I don't see them going away.

 

Night vision is exciting, but even older Gen 3 tech will continue to be expensive as long as it is strictly regulated (the law has almost as many rules on it as firearms) and it's of limited use on things besides emission nebulae even with the newer white phosphorous or what have you, which I believe will set you back $5k.

 

In my mind, the future of astronomical gear is something like this:

  • More exotic glass types and aspheric molded or otherwise additively manufactured lenses - some even made out of non-glass materials (we're already seeing it with things like those cheapo VITE aspherics which are surprisingly good and cost next to nothing)
  • Dobsonians getting bigger, faster, cheaper, and more compact and with thinner mirrors. 
  • Imaging rigs becoming more "turn-key" and probably shifting away from GEMs to altaz with integrated derotators.
  • Super high frame-rate planetary cameras using highly efficient data transfers will make the idea of an amateur adaptive optics system borderline unnecessary. 
  • SCTs go extinct - Celestron continues the RASA and that's it. Meade is gone already. Maybe an interrim period where they only make the EdgeHD, but I definitely see the non-Edge SCTs going away within 5-10 years.
  • Portability and compactness are going to continue to become key design aspects as more people desire convenience and/or are far from dark skies. Accordion or "zip" Dobs using folding designs, Tensegrity, hexapods, etc. are probably going to become something at least a small company attempts to bring to market. Imaging rigs using harmonic drives, lightweight tripods and faster and shorter scopes are already on the rise. 
  • EAA as we currently know it eventually becomes obsolete because many bright DSOs can be imaged and fully processed in minutes using AI processing tools, higher sensitivity cameras and other technology improvements.
  • Night vision remains niche barring it being removed from ITAR and somebody pumping photointensifier tubes out of factories in China. 

 

I only understood about a third of that!

 

I must be getting oldgramps.gif

lol.gif


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#104 Bowlerhat

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Posted 06 January 2022 - 08:57 PM

 

I don't share the sentiment towards the decline in visual. I think that fundamentally the Tele-Vue eyepieces are too expensive and the Naglers face too much competition from cheaper eyepieces that are 99% as good. The Ethos and Delos are more specialized products that haven't been as successfully duplicated (though APM is getting really close these days) and I don't see them going away.

 

Night vision is exciting, but even older Gen 3 tech will continue to be expensive as long as it is strictly regulated (the law has almost as many rules on it as firearms) and it's of limited use on things besides emission nebulae even with the newer white phosphorous or what have you, which I believe will set you back $5k.

 

In my mind, the future of astronomical gear is something like this:

  • More exotic glass types and aspheric molded or otherwise additively manufactured lenses - some even made out of non-glass materials (we're already seeing it with things like those cheapo VITE aspherics which are surprisingly good and cost next to nothing)
  • Dobsonians getting bigger, faster, cheaper, and more compact and with thinner mirrors. 
  • Imaging rigs becoming more "turn-key" and probably shifting away from GEMs to altaz with integrated derotators.
  • Super high frame-rate planetary cameras using highly efficient data transfers will make the idea of an amateur adaptive optics system borderline unnecessary. 
  • SCTs go extinct - Celestron continues the RASA and that's it. Meade is gone already. Maybe an interrim period where they only make the EdgeHD, but I definitely see the non-Edge SCTs going away within 5-10 years.
  • Portability and compactness are going to continue to become key design aspects as more people desire convenience and/or are far from dark skies. Accordion or "zip" Dobs using folding designs, Tensegrity, hexapods, etc. are probably going to become something at least a small company attempts to bring to market. Imaging rigs using harmonic drives, lightweight tripods and faster and shorter scopes are already on the rise. 
  • EAA as we currently know it eventually becomes obsolete because many bright DSOs can be imaged and fully processed in minutes using AI processing tools, higher sensitivity cameras and other technology improvements.
  • Night vision remains niche barring it being removed from ITAR and somebody pumping photointensifier tubes out of factories in China. 

 

Too many people don't understand what makes an eyepiece expensive in terms of what they gain. new demand

1.I doubt,maybe there would be new generations of glasses but the demand crawling to telescope takes ages-if there's enough demand for it-I think the progress towards cheaper materials is the new demand.

I think in terms of design svbony aspherics is kind of unique.

2.I agree

3.Not sure about this- but AZ GTi which can be converetd to EQ mode probably a start of integration of AZ and EQ. I imagine package would be even smaller in future,

4.I agree

6.SCT, maybe, but not sure about Maks

7.I agree, and cheaper too to be commercially viable. More innovations to reflectors form, even like ZIngaro.

8.I agree

9.Night vision will remains niche as long as it's tightly controlled still.


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#105 Mitrovarr

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 02:39 AM

I don't know why people think SCTs would go extinct. What are they going to be replaced by? Newtonians suffer from ergonomic problems on equatorial mounts and are heavy and awkward if you try to equip them with goto and tracking on a dob mount (and goto and tracking are extremely popular). Refractors simply don't come in sizes that are large enough.

 

Unless you guys are referring to standard SCTs but not the EdgeHD and ACF. I could see that.


Edited by Mitrovarr, 07 January 2022 - 02:41 AM.

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#106 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 09:31 AM

I don't know why people think SCTs would go extinct. What are they going to be replaced by? Newtonians suffer from ergonomic problems on equatorial mounts and are heavy and awkward if you try to equip them with goto and tracking on a dob mount (and goto and tracking are extremely popular). Refractors simply don't come in sizes that are large enough.

 

Unless you guys are referring to standard SCTs but not the EdgeHD and ACF. I could see that.

I agree. Tho I don’t have one (I’ve had five) and am not a big fan (I love refractors!), I find them ergonomically far superior to Newtonians. Especially with the ACF and edge advancements which I liken to the apo revolution in refractors, both of which I think will become the norm. At my local star parties, I would have to say that they outnumber Newtonians and far outnumber refractors and Maks. That said, I think SCTs and Maks will continue to be a mainstay. 


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#107 ccwemyss

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 03:18 PM

If SCTs were to disappear, then they would definitely become collectible classics. People would find aspects of them that they miss and, like long FL achromats, they would have a devoted following. But I doubt they will disappear because they fill a niche for compactness, ergonomics, weight, and mid-range apertures between Maks and Dobs. I don't know if Edge and ACF scopes will survive as classics, since the corrector lenses are so hard to service and will undoubtedly develop fungus. People who insist on that level of performance will likely not want to restore an Edge scope with filthy internal optics - better to get something new. 

 

I would caution about expectations for "AI processing tools." AI is not magic. I work in a top AI research department, so I get to see it up close. The current hot approach is to use massive amounts of processing to digest large data sets into what are essentially very complex statistical pattern matching functions. Once "trained", the function is applied to new data to identify similar features. In image processing, that is used to fill in missing information, such as reducing blur or combining images with different exposures to simulate greater dynamic range while adjusting for motion between the frames. 

 

This is all fine for personal photos. But for an astrophoto, it can result in artifacts that look realistic, but aren't in the actual object (e.g., extra stars). The solution would be to train the system on a database of astrophotos with negative feedback for generating artifacts. But then the system would likely start filling in from the training data, so your astrophotos would be a blend of your data and images from the training set. The real problem is that you can't be sure what the AI has actually "learned" and how it is applying it. 

 

There are simpler image processing techniques to do all of the tasks that are needed by astrophotographers, which have known behaviors, so you can be certain the output is faithful to the input. What is more likely to happen is that low power processors with high performance graphics processors will become integrated into astro cameras or control devices (like the ASIAir), so that these signal processing techniques can be more automatic. The place where AI can play a role is sorting usable from unusable subs - that's a pure recognition task that it should be quite good at. Then the control software can optimize the collection of subs in real time. 

 

Getting back to the topic of the thread, I think we can assume that most of the current generation of electronics will not end up as part of future classics. Many of today's goto mounts will either be scrapped or (if their mechanics are worth it) have their electronics replaced. So we are likely to see classic optical designs that are simple enough for a hobbyist to restore being paired either with new mounts or with older mounts that have high quality mechanicals and either no goto or updated goto electronics. But most of this is at the high end. Low-end future classics are a different matter. 

 

Chip W. 


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#108 barbie

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 04:36 PM

I've paired my 50 year old Towa 80mm f15 with a modern day clock driven Orion EQ-3 mount and the combo works splendidly!!


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#109 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 04:56 PM

Truth there. My ST80 has a plastic lens cell and will, I'm sure, eventually succumb to time as well. I'll enjoy it while it lasts and seek out a metal cell (ED?) version in the meantime.grin.gif

 

To my eye, ST-80 lens cells look like ABS... It can last a long time.

 

My "keeper" ST-80 has a metal lens cell and dew shield.. I only seen one.

 

Celestron ST-80 Lens Cell and scope.jpg
 
I had a ETX-90 RA. When I seen a ETX-90 OTA for sale, stories of the secondary baffle sliding keep me from buying..
 
Jon

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#110 Augustus

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 05:02 PM

 

To my eye, ST-80 lens cells look like ABS... It can last a long time.

 

My "keeper" ST-80 has a metal lens cell and dew shield.. I only seen one.

 

 
 
I had a ETX-90 RA. When I seen a ETX-90 OTA for sale, stories of the secondary baffle sliding keep me from buying..
 
Jon

 

I've repaired a few ETXes and C90s (orange C90s have the same problem occasionally) - it's as simple as putting a few tiny dabs of silicone on the baffle and carefully re-positioning it. Cleaning the old goo is really easy.


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#111 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 05:10 PM

I don't know why people think SCTs would go extinct. What are they going to be replaced by? Newtonians suffer from ergonomic problems on equatorial mounts and are heavy and awkward if you try to equip them with goto and tracking on a dob mount (and goto and tracking are extremely popular). Refractors simply don't come in sizes that are large enough.

 

Unless you guys are referring to standard SCTs but not the EdgeHD and ACF. I could see that.

 

I don't see SCTs going anywhere.. They're a compromise optically that results in a short compact scope.. it's proven popular for more than 40 years.

 

Commercial GOTO Dob mounts are very heavy. Premium GOTO Dob mounts like the Servo-Cat add very little weight. EQ Platforms add little weight when compared to German Equatorial Mounts. My Tom O. weighs less than 30 lbs, adds 5 inches to the eyepiece height and is rated for scopes up to 18 inches.

 

When it showed up, my 12.5 inch Meade RG departed.

 

Jon


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#112 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 05:28 PM

I've repaired a few ETXes and C90s (orange C90s have the same problem occasionally) - it's as simple as putting a few tiny dabs of silicone on the baffle and carefully re-positioning it. Cleaning the old goo is really easy.

 

Glue that allows the baffle to slide with secondary mirror right there is not appealing to my sensiblities. Add that distraction to the fact that I have had my WO 80 F/7 FPL-53 doublet for more than 15 years, it's a life time keeper, it's airline portable.. an ETX-90 would a short lived diversion that would just be another scope to give away.. 

 

The one Mak/SCT that I just might keep is a C-5 OTA with rings and a dovetail. I've had three. I could never find the rings. Gary Hand had rings that were just a tiny bit too small. He tried every ring in stock on a C-5 for me.

 

The C-5 is a metal scope, standard SCT construction.. works surprisingly well with 2 inch eyepieces...

 

Of course it's been a classic for maybe 20 years. My first one was the black F/10 camera lens from way back.

 

4142471-C5 on Bogen.jpg
 
(Looks like that one had rings)
 
Jon


#113 clamchip

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 06:26 PM

We are going to see lots of dobs as future classics.

Scopes like Obsession, Starmaster, Starsplitter, to name a few.

And they will be easy to keep running, just buy a sheet of plywood, trace the old

parts, and you've got a brand new telescope !

 

Robert


Edited by clamchip, 07 January 2022 - 06:30 PM.

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#114 Matty S

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 07:00 PM

We are going to see lots of dobs as future classics.

Scopes like Obsession, Starmaster, Starsplitter, to name a few.

And they will be easy to keep running, just buy a sheet of plywood, trace the old

parts, and you've got a brand new telescope !

 

Robert

I consider my 8" Starhopper a modern classic. I'm glad it was my first scope and that it lasted - made me pay attention to, and appreciate, better optics and finer viewing techniques rather than just bigger, flashier and more electronics. Simplicity can be very understated and sublime in visual astronomy. Out of the 28 or so scopes that reside with me, it is still the one that gets the most star-time. Says something to me...heart.png


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#115 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 07:00 PM

I agree. Tho I don’t have one (I’ve had five) and am not a big fan (I love refractors!), I find them ergonomically far superior to Newtonians. Especially with the ACF and edge advancements which I liken to the apo revolution in refractors, both of which I think will become the norm. At my local star parties, I would have to say that they outnumber Newtonians and far outnumber refractors and Maks. That said, I think SCTs and Maks will continue to be a mainstay. 

I would not cry if SCT's all went away. But the freaky sharp 1's can stay.



#116 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 07:04 PM

If SCTs were to disappear, then they would definitely become collectible classics. People would find aspects of them that they miss and, like long FL achromats, they would have a devoted following. But I doubt they will disappear because they fill a niche for compactness, ergonomics, weight, and mid-range apertures between Maks and Dobs. I don't know if Edge and ACF scopes will survive as classics, since the corrector lenses are so hard to service and will undoubtedly develop fungus. People who insist on that level of performance will likely not want to restore an Edge scope with filthy internal optics - better to get something new. 

 

I would caution about expectations for "AI processing tools." AI is not magic. I work in a top AI research department, so I get to see it up close. The current hot approach is to use massive amounts of processing to digest large data sets into what are essentially very complex statistical pattern matching functions. Once "trained", the function is applied to new data to identify similar features. In image processing, that is used to fill in missing information, such as reducing blur or combining images with different exposures to simulate greater dynamic range while adjusting for motion between the frames. 

 

This is all fine for personal photos. But for an astrophoto, it can result in artifacts that look realistic, but aren't in the actual object (e.g., extra stars). The solution would be to train the system on a database of astrophotos with negative feedback for generating artifacts. But then the system would likely start filling in from the training data, so your astrophotos would be a blend of your data and images from the training set. The real problem is that you can't be sure what the AI has actually "learned" and how it is applying it. 

 

There are simpler image processing techniques to do all of the tasks that are needed by astrophotographers, which have known behaviors, so you can be certain the output is faithful to the input. What is more likely to happen is that low power processors with high performance graphics processors will become integrated into astro cameras or control devices (like the ASIAir), so that these signal processing techniques can be more automatic. The place where AI can play a role is sorting usable from unusable subs - that's a pure recognition task that it should be quite good at. Then the control software can optimize the collection of subs in real time. 

 

Getting back to the topic of the thread, I think we can assume that most of the current generation of electronics will not end up as part of future classics. Many of today's goto mounts will either be scrapped or (if their mechanics are worth it) have their electronics replaced. So we are likely to see classic optical designs that are simple enough for a hobbyist to restore being paired either with new mounts or with older mounts that have high quality mechanicals and either no goto or updated goto electronics. But most of this is at the high end. Low-end future classics are a different matter. 

 

Chip W. 

In a way i would love to see all GO-TO mounts go away. Bring back the good old mounts like the AP800 with SLO- MO controls or offer them with all new mounts.

 

Last thing i wanna do is be forced into a setup for a GO-TO mount. I just like to plop a mount down and view for a few mins and go back inside. I don't even wanna plug in a drive and only like a mount i can move myself.  These new mounts can just go out and leave ya dead.
 



#117 Matty S

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 07:26 PM

In a way i would love to see all GO-TO mounts go away. Bring back the good old mounts like the AP800 with SLO- MO controls or offer them with all new mounts.

 

Last thing i wanna do is be forced into a setup for a GO-TO mount. I just like to plop a mount down and view for a few mins and go back inside. I don't even wanna plug in a drive and only like a mount i can move myself.  These new mounts can just go out and leave ya dead.
 

I can understand your sentiment but I feel there's room for all of it. This is a tech-forward hobby, a science. Science moves forward and it's tools must adapt to new criteria. Old tools are cool but eventually get retired. The HST will darken soon but newer, and more up-to-date tech is waiting in the wings. I can't see a return to non-computerized astro gear - society is geared towards electronics from a very young age. Finding new (analog-style) tech will continue to be few and far between, methinks; there just isn't a big enough market. Hang on to those manual mechanical treasures and save those that you can - even if to pass them on to others who feel the way we do.



#118 Kasmos

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 08:36 PM

 

 So we are likely to see classic optical designs that are simple enough for a hobbyist to restore being paired either with new mounts or with older mounts that have high quality mechanicals and either no goto or updated goto electronics. 

Chip W. 

That's more less already happening so it's very likely to continue.


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#119 barbie

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 10:05 PM

For the types of objects I observe, a go to mount is not necessary so I don't see myself going that route. I imagine in another five years, my EQ-3 mount will have become a classic, if it isn't already.


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#120 jragsdale

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 10:38 PM

 

...a bunch of stuff...

 

Yeah, I agree with all that.



#121 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 11:00 PM

I read the question as:  What scopes being made Right Now will be considered Classics in 30+ years?

 

Since I don't know ALL of the brand new scopes... I honestly don't know.

 

About AI... a common gripe about CATs in general & SCTs in particular is Collimation.  I could see a future where combining modest / limited AI with the ability to move & align the 2 mirrors + corrector would result in an adaptive-optics SCT.  Point the scope at a star, activate a Collimate Function, and get a green light, friendly robo-voice, or similar alert that the scope is ready to use...  for added $$$, the SCT AI System makes automatic optical corrections during the session...


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#122 ccwemyss

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Posted 07 January 2022 - 11:29 PM

That doesn't require AI. Just good real-time image processing and a control system. 

 

People are drawn to classics because of nostalgia and/or a sense of quality. Almost any scope can be nostalgic (e.g., finding a replacement for a childhood gift). The draw of quality starts from how something was initially made, and especially if that quality rises above what's common in a later era (E.g., the way people now love the Royal Astros, early Swifts, Gotos, Unitrons, Edmunds, etc., because modern achromats tend to be poorer, and APOs are more expensive). There are plenty of good quality scopes being made now that have the potential to be future classics. 

 

Chip W. 


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#123 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 January 2022 - 04:17 AM

We are going to see lots of dobs as future classics.

Scopes like Obsession, Starmaster, Starsplitter, to name a few.

And they will be easy to keep running, just buy a sheet of plywood, trace the old

parts, and you've got a brand new telescope !

 

Robert

 

I have two Starsplitters, the 13.1 inch was built around 2001, the 22 inch in 2003. They're still virtually new and with care, I don't see them needing any significant repairs for a long time. My 12.5 inch and 16 inch are truss types made with optics over 25 years old. More shocking is that my made in Taiwan 10 inch F/5 turns 20 this year, in 5 years it'll be a classic.

 

When I joined Cloudy Nights in 2004, only the very oldest SCTs qualified as classics and there was some debate/discussion as to whether such a modern designed could truly be a classic. I certainly had a difficult time accepting that.. now, 18 years later, it seems like a non issue.

 

Today, I think that same front line of acceptance is Dobsonians and GOTO mounts.

 

As a Dob Guy, I still have the same difficulty accepting them as classics that I had with the SCT, "these aren't classics, classics are old and obsolete. And Dobs they don't look like a classic scope."  

 

But older Dobs, they have much in common with the older classics, simplicity. There's nothing simpler than a Dob.. my reluctance to accept Dobs probably says more about me, fixed in time. 

 

GOTO, that's hard to accept. But unlike Dobsonian whose simplicity means they can be live very long lives, GOTO mounts face serious obsolescence issues. A Dob doesn't face customer support, parts and repair issues. Some GOTO mounts will be long lived, the A-P mounts for example, but most probably probably will end up as junk, an electronic or mechanical failure having been their Waterloo.

 

I often see in other forums when the transient nature of GOTO mounts is brought up, things like, "If it lasts 10 years, that's more than enough for me, I'll be wanting a new mount before that anyway...

 

Jon



#124 GreyDay

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Posted 08 January 2022 - 06:31 AM

I could see a future where combining modest / limited AI with the ability to move & align the 2 mirrors + corrector would result in an adaptive-optics SCT.  Point the scope at a star, activate a Collimate Function, and get a green light, friendly robo-voice, or similar alert that the scope is ready to use...  for added $$$, the SCT AI System makes automatic optical corrections during the session.

Looking at the problems people are having with todays technology, the idea of a self collimating "Adaptive" scope of the future is frightening. Looking at the history of telescopes it would seem that the simpler they are, the more likely it is that they would survive llong enough to become classics.

 

now we're back to the other topic of "what is a classic" and i don't really want to revisit that rabbit hole :)

 

 

 

 


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#125 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 January 2022 - 10:06 AM

Looking at the problems people are having with todays technology, the idea of a self collimating "Adaptive" scope of the future is frightening. Looking at the history of telescopes it would seem that the simpler they are, the more likely it is that they would survive llong enough to become classics.

 

now we're back to the other topic of "what is a classic" and i don't really want to revisit that rabbit hole smile.gif

 

I think the Meade RCX 400 series had some sort of automated collimation features. There were multiple issues with the 400s and rather than address them, Meade just walked away, leaving the owners holding the bag.

 

One of my rules of thumb: Simple is less expensive but is longer lived. There's less to break and simple is easier to repair when it does break.

 

Electronics based on vacuum tubes will probably be repairable forever. Electronics based on ICs depends on the availability of the specific components. Much of it is unrepairable because the parts do not exist.

 

Jon


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