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tracking vs non-tracking

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#1 SpitzA3P

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 01:56 PM

Do you have any thoughts about telescopes that can track vs those that can not, and whether Go to or Push to have significant differences in their usage?

 

My initial thoughts are: 1. Tracking requires a heavier scope (perhaps limiting the ability to travel with it by airplanes).  But tracking is always nice to have, and more and more essential with higher powers .  In a sense, the Dobsonian revolution has answered the question in favor of non tracking, at least for scopes of 10 inches diameter and above.

 

Regarding Push to - I have no experience using it.  However, it also reduces weight.

 

My primary interest here is taking a 10-12 inch ultralight on airplanes so that I can travel to really dark skies.



#2 ButterFly

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 02:41 PM

Platforms are push to systems.  The tracking comes through a separate device under the dob.  It almost always as big as the groundboard.  It can be built into the groundboard, but is almost always a separate add on.  There is one motor doing all the driving.  The added weight is the weight of the motor and the material to build the platform.  It can be a lot material weight.  No controller is needed, other than something to adjust the motor's rate.  You have the option of NOT taking a separable platform along with you as needed.  You also have the option of taking it along for many different scopes, so long as it can handle the load.

 

Dual motor alt-az drives can be much smaller and lighter than a whole platform.  The space for adding motors and drives is already there, with a few extra parts sticking out.  The parts that stick out aren't huge - a few inches.  Go To comes along with these.  There needs to be a controller to adjust the alt/az rates depending on time, location on Earth, and location in the sky.  The added weight is the weight of the motors, the encoders, the drives, and the controller.

 

Go To is what it is.  I don't use it sometimes, and I do use it other times.  Push To saves weight only with respect to motor and the drive (which you need for dual motor tracking anyway).  If you go the platform route, the weight of the material will swamp out the weight of the dual motors and the drive.  Push To weight saving is a non-issue.

 

Tracking is very important for me.  Having lived with it for a while, it's very much worth it, and I would very much like to have the option to use it.  One can always not use what one has, but not the other way around.  For low power viewing, tracking by hand isn't much of a hassle.  At higher power, you need to nudge more often to keep it in the field.

 

The first thing to consider is the kind of powers you will be using on your trips, whether mostly high or mostly low.  The next is really how well you can deal with problems that may arise.  A piece of wood with one motor is easier to diagnose than two motors, encoders, a drive, and a controller.  Problems are rare once you know what you're doing, but they can always pop up nonetheless.  My ServoCAT on my 15" UC is quite reliable, and only adds an additional inch or two to accommodate the motors and encoder arm for alt.  There isn't any need to break it down any further than what it is without one.


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#3 ButterFly

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 02:46 PM

D'uh - I forgot to mention the most important drawback of a platform for travel!

 

Platforms are built and designed with a nominal latitude in mind (North or South doesn't matter - just the number).  They may have adjustments for a few degrees up or down, and the motor rate can help a little more.  But they are limited.  For trips to another hemisphere with comparable latitude number, platforms are fine.  For trips to other latitude numbers, platforms' utility diminishes rapidly.


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#4 mich_al

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 06:57 PM

If you have not used a non-tracking scope you will be very surprised at how fast the sky moves.  Bigger FOV helps bit not a lot, the sky moves pretty fast.


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#5 Echolight

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 07:59 PM

If you have not used a non-tracking scope you will be very surprised at how fast the sky moves.  Bigger FOV helps bit not a lot, the sky moves pretty fast.

Planets in particular.


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#6 mrlovt

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 09:41 PM

If you're going to spend any time at the eyepiece - or back and forth between the eyepiece and something else, tracking makes that much easier.  Without tracking, time away from the eyepiece means finding the target all over again.  Depending on the target, that could be a pain.  As was mentioned, the sky moves quickly. A planet at high power will zip across the eyepiece in no time without tracking. To me, tracking is a necessity.

 

I like go-to, it makes it possible for me to find targets more quickly, meaning more time observing and less time hunting, and more targets in any given session.  It's not a necessity in the same way tracking is, but I haven't bought a mount without go-to since I was first introduced to it.

 

I have zero experience with a push-to system, but I imagine it would have some similar advantages as go-to.

 

10-12" scope for travel... pack it well!


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 10:17 PM

If you have not used a non-tracking scope you will be very surprised at how fast the sky moves.  Bigger FOV helps bit not a lot, the sky moves pretty fast.

 

Tracking by hand is a skill one develops. And setting up a scope to effectively track manually is part of that skill. I manage 800x with my Dob's, sometimes more.

 

Manual scopes are quick to setup and rarely breakdown.

 

Jon


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#8 luxo II

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 03:55 AM

If you plan to travel to a dark site focus on the opportunities - DSOs - and low power is fine, ie you don’t really need tracking.

You can look at planets at home at high power even in Bortle 9 skies.


Edited by luxo II, 27 September 2023 - 03:57 AM.

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#9 CHASLX200

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 06:04 AM

Planets in particular.

I grew up on non tracking mounts. And never use a drive today even.  I won't even plug one in if i have one.


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#10 GGK

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 07:23 AM

I don't have a Dob, but for my refractors and SCT, I use tracking and non-tracking as well as push-to and GoTo. I don't understand your comment on scope weight needed for tracking.  Tracking works well even with the lightest telescope on a tracking mount.  

 

My first scope was a C8 SCT with a CG5 GEM - No drives, but with with manual slow motion knobs. With the long focal length scope and my primary targets at the time needing mostly high magnification, it wasn't long before I added the Celestron drives for tracking.  That was a wonderful convenience since I could focus on faint object detail without the object moving in the eyepiece.  I was just learning to observe back then and something that minor made a big difference in my enjoyment.  It also made (and still makes) it much easier to share the images with friends since what I was looking at was still in the center of the eyepiece when they finally sat down and got the image focused.

 

I like using my GoTo GEM when adult friends are over because the "robot" mount seems to be as much of the entertainment as the observing.  If hopping from one great object to another in a short period of time (friends have short attention span for astronomy), I just can't beat the GoTo function.  For me, tracking is a must if there is more than one other person observing with me.

 

For my personal observing, I prefer push-to with or without tracking, depending on the magnification I'm using and what I'm observing that night.  I definitely like tracking with high magnification / small fields of view. When observing alone, I only connect the tablet / encoders about half the time.  The encoders are helpful when I'm scanning for shaped or open cluster asterisms or other large formations.  Having my location on the tablet allows me to know the celestial coordinates so I can quickly head there again later.  I also like the tablet and encoders operating when I have a specific set of coordinates I want to observe.  I get lists of asterisms occasionally where the description is nothing more than "asterism" with a set of coordinates.  Since I have no idea what I will see, or what size field I need (range has been 0.2o to 4o), it's important that I am exactly on the spot identified.  This is where push-to with encoders and tracking are most convenient, since it can take time to run through multiple true field sizes (different eyepieces) before I begin to guess what I'm searching for.  It's rather entertaining.  My problem with my GoTo is that more than half of my observing targets are not in a catalog, and it's less convenient to use GoTo than it is to use push-to with encoders to point to a set of celestial coordinates.  I recently purchased a Rowan AZ100 mount that seems like it will be the best of both designs.

 

Another reason I like push-to for my own observing is because I observe everything along the way to the next formal target.  A nice grouping of bright unassociated stars (open cluster asterism) is no different to me than a formal open cluster DSO.  The patterns and beauty are present in both images.  So DSO observing is less important to me than general viewing.  Many times, the groupings I observe on the way to the DSO are more fun to observe than the target DSO itself.  Again, having the encoders attached is nice so I can write down the celestial coordinates of the sky location where I found a great informal target.

 

When the grandkids are over, it's definitely push-to with the encoders plugged into the tablet.  My 10 year old can easily align and operate the GoTo mount, but the tablet screen on the push-to mounts is what she and the other kids like.  Screens are part of their lives and they immediately know what they're doing.  They like that they can move the scope to the spot on the screen, then "see" that same spot in the sky.  It's usually the moon, a planet or something else that's easy to find regardless of the mount, but they like the screen connection.  

 

Gary


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#11 Chucky

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 08:35 AM

I don't always use my platform, but when I do I NEVER regret setting it up.  It's a total joy to have tracking.


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#12 briansalomon1

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 08:51 AM

Tracking by hand is a skill one develops. And setting up a scope to effectively track manually is part of that skill. I manage 800x with my Dob's, sometimes more.

 

Manual scopes are quick to setup and rarely breakdown.

 

Jon

I also like the simplicity of hand tracking and don't mind cleaning and tuning the telescope movements for a smooth response. Using mostly 100 deg eyepieces I get up to ~500X without difficulty. I also like to look at my star atlas before sunset and pick out 3 or 4 objects I'm not very familiar with to hunt down that night.

 

A push to system doesn't seem like it would be heavy or prone to breakage. I think GOTO would be helpful on some objects but would usually just get in my way.

 

A tracking platform would be nice at home, but I travel with my scopes. For me, they're too large and heavy.
 


Edited by briansalomon1, 27 September 2023 - 08:53 AM.

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#13 Echolight

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 10:57 AM

I grew up on non tracking mounts. And never use a drive today even.  I won't even plug one in if i have one.

I have a goto mount that I never use. But some day I might.

I don't even use slow motion controls.

 

But planets do move faster than the rest of the sky.


Edited by Echolight, 27 September 2023 - 10:58 AM.

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#14 ABQJeff

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 06:13 PM

First, they make very small lightweight GoTo, see SW AzGti and AZGTix.  These are excellent for air travel.

 

But on overall question.,,

 

Starhop vs Push-To vs GoTo is a very personal decision, as much as Dobs vs Cats or Telescopes vs Binoculars.

 

It really depends on what you observe, where you observe and how you observe.

 

For me, I live and die by GoTo.  I would not be doing astronomy without it.   I have a full manual M2C mount for my ST120 and parallelograms for my binoculars.  But those are entertaining distractions and for very big targets that lend themselves to joyful star hopping.

 

Granted, I work and have a family at home doing their activities.  But for my 1460+ notable objects of galaxies, planetary nebula, diffuse nebula, globular clusters, small open clusters and double stars in addition to solar system, I don’t see how I could find, observe, take notes and move on to the next with any hope of getting thru them at home in Bortle 5 home skies and separately at my Bortle 2 dark site, if I didn’t have GoTo.  Push To would even be tough.  

 

Thought experiments for you:

 

How do you plan to look at and admire Eskimo nebula?  At 100x, 250x, 450x?  Do you plan to take observing notes?

 

How do you plan to find a Mag 12 or 13 galaxy barely perceptible to your eyes above the background?  Are you in light pollution?

 

How do you plan to observe planets or double stars at high magnification?

 

How many objects do you want to see in your remaining years?  Just the Messiers?  Caldwell? Deep Map 600? Add in Herschel I and II and Pensack 500? TAAS 200? TAC Eye Candy? Roger Clark’s 611?  Menard’s 400? Plus SAC and RASC lists, AL lists?  Getting thru those is over 1400 unique objects.

 

Bottom line: if all you want to do is the Nifty Fifty bright easy to find objects and not take any notes nor do drawings nor photos and just do quick looks.   Then star hopping is fine.   The more you want to see and observe, puts more on your equipment to help you out.

 

Think of it this way: to see the whole country in a set amount of time, is it better on a bike, a car or an airplane hopping city to city?  And what is great, there is no wrong answer.

 

(All my friends who “rode bikes” though are now “buying cars” and admiring my “airplane tickets”….as I see 100+ objects in the time they do 15-20)


Edited by ABQJeff, 27 September 2023 - 06:14 PM.

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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 06:58 PM

Thought experiments for you:

 

How do you plan to look at and admire Eskimo nebula?  At 100x, 250x, 450x?  Do you plan to take observing notes?

 

How do you plan to find a Mag 12 or 13 galaxy barely perceptible to your eyes above the background?  Are you in light pollution?

 

How do you plan to observe planets or double stars at high magnification?

 

How many objects do you want to see in your remaining years?  Just the Messiers?  Caldwell? Deep Map 600? Add in Herschel I and II and Pensack 500? TAAS 200? TAC Eye Candy? Roger Clark’s 611?  Menard’s 400? Plus SAC and RASC lists, AL lists?  Getting thru those is over 1400 unique objects.

 

Bottom line: if all you want to do is the Nifty Fifty bright easy to find objects and not take any notes nor do drawings nor photos and just do quick looks.   Then star hopping is fine.   The more you want to see and observe, puts more on your equipment to help you out.

 

Think of it this way: to see the whole country in a set amount of time, is it better on a bike, a car or an airplane hopping city to city?  And what is great, there is no wrong answer.

 

(All my friends who “rode bikes” though are now “buying cars” and admiring my “airplane tickets”….as I see 100+ objects in the time they do 15-20)

 

 A few thoughts:

 

-Star hopping is a skill.  The more I do it, the better I get.  I have been star hopping more than 30 years.. . 

 

When I am observing objects at the limits of perception, knowing exactly where to look requires careful star hopping in the main eyepiece at relatively high powers because the object can only be seen at relatively high powers.. with goto, you will probably have to do the same thing to know exactly where to point your averted vision.  

 

- Manual tracking, is also a skill.   I typically limit double stars to 800-900x though occasionally I will go up to around 1200x if the seeing is exceptional.  If I can't see it at 800-900x, I probably wont see it.  For the planets, I generally do not go over 400-500x.  Tracking is not difficult with a properly setup mount.

 

- I typically log my observations after I have finished observing the object. I use voice to text.  If I want to observe the object again, I just reacquire it, usually it is easy to do because I learned to recognize the star field in both the RACI finder and the main eyepiece at magnification. With the 22 inch, that tends to be 280x or more. 

 

- The eskimo nebula:  I have seen it numerous times.  I know it well, it's an easy find and very detailed on an excellent night in a large aperture scope..Old friends do not require detailed notes, they do not require notes at all.  They are recorded deep in my memory banks. 

 

- Your analogy:  I am a long time cyclist who has slowed down dramatically since my mid 60's.  Your analogy is very appropriate.  When I ride one of my bicycles, I really see what is there. When I drive or fly, I only get a brief glimpse of the country, when I walk or cycle, I actually see what is there, not just the tourist highlights.  

 

I star hop and manually track because that is what I enjoy doing.  I am not in a race, I observe objects for relatively long periods of time.  If you are observing 100 new objects in a 6 hour session, that is only 3.6 minutes per object. For me, that is not sufficient to really see an object.  I will not only spend significantly more time on an object, even a tough faint galaxy, I will return again and again to get a better view. The brain processes the image so upon returning, I see more and more as I become familiar with the object and the star field.

 

I am not your 50 bright objects guy.  I am your 180 nights, 600 hours per year at the eyepiece guy.  I am 75 and clearly on the downhill side. But I am still learning, still developing new techniques and skills, finding new objects, seeing new details in objects I have seen many times before...  I am not someone who checks an object off a list and figures I am done with it.  Each time I observe an object, I see a little more. And more importantly, each time I see it, the magic is still there. 

 

Slow and easy does it. 

 

IMG_20230131_065500_(600_x_400_pixel).png
 
Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs, 27 September 2023 - 07:08 PM.

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#16 briansalomon1

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 07:15 PM

"How many objects do you want to see in your remaining years?"

 

You're right, it's almost a question of philosophical perspective. When I toured Saline Valley last spring, I traveled the 90 miles in 5 days to get from one end to the other and averaged about 4mph the whole way. There were only a few other people out there that week. Those that were, went as fast as they could, as the ride over washboard tends to smooth out if you can get up above 30mph.

 

I noticed every barrel cactus in bloom, and saw a very large caterpillar inching across the road near one of the springs. I stopped and found a Fox den near Waucoba Spring and found turquoise shards near Waucoba Mine and was able to see the ladders the miners had left there after they climbed out for the last time.


None of the other people I saw there noticed any of that.

 

I have the same approach to observing. I don't plan to see everything and when I'm out roaming around the old mines and remote places, looking through my telescopes is only part of the reason I'm there. I think it's extremely fascinating to see just how far I can push mirror performance by tuning my alignments, tweaking mirror support, isolating my fans and stiffening the telescope structure.

 

Right now I have my scope apart and I'm going to install the main fan on large rubber bands, just to see if I can lower the vibration while having almost no batting behind the secondary at all. On the new moon, I'll be back up in my dark site to see how much more detail I can see in the cloud belts of Jupiter.

 

For me, GOTO would just be extra stuff that would get in my way.


Edited by briansalomon1, 27 September 2023 - 07:16 PM.

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#17 ButterFly

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 07:31 PM

If GoTo gets in your way, you're not using it properly.

 

When switching hemispheres, the eye candy is the first up.  I can't imagine anyone who can see the LMC for the first time spending much time hunting down a 14 and 15th mag double, or spending more than ten seconds looking at it once they find it.  Starhopping to the LMC is a matter of pointing a Telrad at the thing - nothing difficult to do at all.  The rest of the eye candy is just as easy to spot in an eyepiece.

 

After the fiftieth such trip, using GoTo (properly) won't get in your way, just get you to where you're going faster.  If wafting around aimlessly is where you want to go, just do that - it can be lots of fun.


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 05:44 AM

If GoTo gets in your way, you're not using it properly.

 

When switching hemispheres, the eye candy is the first up.  I can't imagine anyone who can see the LMC for the first time spending much time hunting down a 14 and 15th mag double, or spending more than ten seconds looking at it once they find it.  Starhopping to the LMC is a matter of pointing a Telrad at the thing - nothing difficult to do at all.  The rest of the eye candy is just as easy to spot in an eyepiece.

 

After the fiftieth such trip, using GoTo (properly) won't get in your way, just get you to where you're going faster.  If wafting around aimlessly is where you want to go, just do that - it can be lots of fun.

 

A few thoughts and experiences:

 

GOTO does take longer to set up and it does fail.  I can still remember when I used to share a secret spot with some guys with a 12 inch LX-200 GSP.  Even so often, I would hear the whining of the drives as they took off and then the shouting and cursing.  And then they would come over, we spend some time looking at stuff with my 12.5 inch F/4.06 Dob and then they would drive home.  

 

Goto requires batteries, cables,setup and alignment. 

 

If speed is a priority, most often GOTO, (if it doesn't screw up), will generally get you there faster.  My buddy with his 18 inch Obsession UC with the Servo-Cat, it was a night mare. Commercial GOTOs are more reliable but there are no GOTO mounts for large Dobs that I know of.  

 

It is a question of priorities and interests. I enjoy star hopping, I am not in a hurry to jump from one object to the next.  I do not expect that everyone will enjoy star hopping as much as I do but some do.  

 

Jon


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#19 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 09:05 AM

I've been at this a long time and most of my mounts were manual, though quite a few had GoTo. I've had a lot of GEM's but always have preferred Alt-Az mounts. I don't need GoTo (although it's a nice feature to have sometimes) because I grew into this hobby with old school star hopping and I'm familiar enough with the night sky to not really need GoTo. But I now also have a lot of light pollution, negating a lot of stars to be used to star hop. 

 

My favorite mounts now are GoTo, but I rarely use the GoTo function of them. One of my favorite manual mounts was an Alt-Az Stellarvue M2C. I would buy one and then sell it, only to get another and sell that too. I loved that mount, but I always wished it at least had tracking. That's all it was missing. Tracking is something I want, especially at higher powers. 

 

My biggest issue with GoTo mounts are ones that do not allow for unlocking both axes to use manually if I want to. Most only allow for unlocking the Az clutch, leaving me having to use a handcontroller to move the mount in Altitude. My Meade fork mounts in the past (LX and ETX series mounts) offered the ability to move them manually and relock the clutches and then could track. 

 

So now, with my small scopes (AT72EDII and deforked ETX90 Mak), I use an AZGTi in Alt-Az, which has full GoTo, but also can be operated manually, but my favorite feature is the Point and Track which means I can move it manually and it doesn't even need to be polar aligned. So long as it is leveled decently, I can select a target and then tell it to track that object. It just uses sidereal, solar or lunar tracking so it will keep the object centered in the EP for quite a long time. Long enough for me to enjoy observing at high power without having to re-center. 

 

So, I prefer a manual Alt-Az mount, but one that can track. 


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#20 Freezout

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 09:11 AM

I like hunting, looking at the sky and comparing with a chart. If I'm with the Mak I will need the chart to know where to go; if I'm with the binoculars I often observe first and then look at the chart to discover what was that grey thing around whatever pattern of stars. I like that, so Go-To wouldn't make any sense for me.

 

Moreover, I have a strong reluctance for any step that would require me more installation time when I'm out. If it's an electronic stuff that will make me face whatever kind of software, with risks of malfunctioning, it's worse (note: I'm 37 years old, no technophobic).

 

The context is that I have correct skies. I used to have better but I am fine.

 

Regarding tracking, this is a good question. I had an EQ mount in the past. I changed it because it was more annoying to install and carry (I have to walk to my spot, and don't want astronomy to become a hassle), so I took an alt-az. I have to admit that I miss often the possibility to just turn one knob to track. At 200x, Jupiter is very, very fast out of my FOV...


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#21 ButterFly

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 03:22 PM

 

My biggest issue with GoTo mounts are ones that do not allow for unlocking both axes to use manually if I want to. Most only allow for unlocking the Az clutch, leaving me having to use a handcontroller to move the mount in Altitude. My Meade fork mounts in the past (LX and ETX series mounts) offered the ability to move them manually and relock the clutches and then could track. 

 

Slip clutches are the way to go, if possible.  Just push where you want and tracking resumes with no loss of position information.

 

With ServoCAT, I need to disengage the drives to move it manually (without the handcontroller), then renegage them to get tracking back.  It doesn't lose GoTo, but it's still something to disengage.  My scope is human sized, so it's not that awful, but with a ladder scope, you'll probably have to go down and up again, then again to get tracking back.

 

With my EQ mounts, I entirely lose GoTo if I disengage.  If I reengage the clutch, it's still only one motor at one rate (mostly), so I can resume tracking.  It's just a very fancy clock drive at that point.  From time to time, I may need to send the motors back in RA, if it "hits" one of the RA slew limits from where I disengaged.



#22 GGK

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 04:26 PM

My biggest issue with GoTo mounts are ones that do not allow for unlocking both axes to use manually if I want to. Most only allow for unlocking the Az clutch, leaving me having to use a handcontroller to move the mount in Altitude. My Meade fork mounts in the past (LX and ETX series mounts) offered the ability to move them manually and relock the clutches and then could track. 

Which mounts are you referencing in the Red sentence?  I ask because I have the EQ6-R, GM-8 and AZ100 now, and recently also had the AZ-GTi and CG-5, and all had manual moving capability on both axis. I've not seen other mounts.

 

I'm curious how the user would be able to put the mount in the home position before turning on the power if manual movement wasn't possible. 

 

Gary



#23 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 04:39 PM

Which mounts are you referencing in the Red sentence?  I ask because I have the EQ6-R, GM-8 and AZ100 now, and recently also had the AZ-GTi and CG-5, and all had manual moving capability on both axis. I've not seen other mounts.

 

I'm curious how the user would be able to put the mount in the home position before turning on the power if manual movement wasn't possible. 

 

Gary

Actually I meant can't unlock the Az clutch...like the NexStar mounts. ETX mounts lose their alignment if the axes are unlocked and moved about manually and relocked.

 

As you know the AZGTi has dual encoders, so one can move the mount manually without losing alignment, even if GoTo isn't used and was initially aligned. It was more in reference to having the ability to use a mount for both GoTo and manually, but still retaining tracking ability. 



#24 GGK

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 05:36 PM

Actually I meant can't unlock the Az clutch...like the NexStar mounts. ETX mounts lose their alignment if the axes are unlocked and moved about manually and relocked.

 

As you know the AZGTi has dual encoders, so one can move the mount manually without losing alignment, even if GoTo isn't used and was initially aligned. It was more in reference to having the ability to use a mount for both GoTo and manually, but still retaining tracking ability. 

That makes sense. Thanks. 


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#25 ButterFly

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 05:45 PM

Actually I meant can't unlock the Az clutch...like the NexStar mounts. ETX mounts lose their alignment if the axes are unlocked and moved about manually and relocked.

 

As you know the AZGTi has dual encoders, so one can move the mount manually without losing alignment, even if GoTo isn't used and was initially aligned. It was more in reference to having the ability to use a mount for both GoTo and manually, but still retaining tracking ability. 

Complete locking is truly awful; I would avoid that like the plague.

 

When my AVX has a leg strike though, it loses GoTo as well.  It just slipped on its clutch so the mount isn't where it wants to be.  I can "regain" it by doing a GoTo to a star on the same side of the pier, then physically recentering the star hands only while disengaged.  When I reengage, the mount is where it wants to be.  The precision of the GoTos after that depends on how well I recentered.  Different side of the pier accounts for the cone error, so one has to be careful with the stars that can be reached from both sides of the pier.  Avoid the singularity near the celestial poles with an EQ mount when doing this, or zenith with an Alt/Az mount.

 

One can also use this for clock drift.  There is always some clock drift that shows up eventually - no matter how long it takes.  Center a star after a GoTo to get the clock back to where it thinks it is.

 

Edit: dual encoder mounts can't do this because even when disengaged, it's keeping track of where it is.


Edited by ButterFly, 28 September 2023 - 05:46 PM.

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