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Difference between an aid and a crutch?

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When I'm sitting in the warm with only a cieling above my head and no view of the sky - All I have to do is choose an object in Stellarium and I know the scope outside will slew to and track it. Then I can snap away to my hearts content and watch the subs roll in.

It's no different to controlling the rods in a nuclear power station or remotely flying a drone over enemy teritory surely? It's a tool for a job. No "crutch" or "aid" about it - just a tool or technique or software application.

I can also take a manual scope to an obs session at a dark site and find my way around the sky with no problem. It's just one part of a very enjoyable hobby. Some folks may concentrate on just one part of the hobby that they like. I don't really see what all the fuss is about. :)

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..who cares as long as you enjoy what your doing, we're not trying to be Brian Cox!!

I bet Brian Cox wouldn't be able to star hop and navigate visually either.

Whoever has made you feel like this is a moron. Aid? Crutch? They are TOOLS. If your purist friend wants to spend ages waving the end of his scope around trying to find stuff then leave him/her to it.

Use Stellarium. You;ll learn where stuff is by default anyway, just as you learn your way around a new town. You'll rely on it less and less as time goes by.

Tell your purist friend to stop being such a snob.

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Oh Dear, Oh My,

I may be the guilty party who used the term "crutch" in that other post... I'm not sure my meaning was clear, but I certainly meant no offense in any way. (There may even be a slight difference in how that term is used here in the States, as opposed to the UK, but I can't be sure.)

I'd say use whatever tools are at your disposal to enjoy the hobby! I use Stellarium as a planetarium program, though I'm new at it, and not at all skilled yet. In one post there was a discussion of using a feature of Stellarium to reproduce an inverted eyepiece view, which I don't think would be all that helpful for brighter objects which would be clearly visible if the correct field could be centered. If it helps, then by all means use it! I merely meant that it would be more helpful for very dim objects to confirm that you really were looking at the right spot (but couldn't tell which object was the target), but that it would not be of much help in getting a bright object like M-65 or M-3 into the eyepiece. In other words, if it's in there, you'll know it.

If I offended anyone at all, I do apologize. I'll endeavor to be more humble and helpful in the future.:)

Clear skies,

pmsl ohhh it all becomes clear hahaha. sorry ff, it made me laugh! ;)

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Oh Dear, Oh My,

I may be the guilty party who used the term "crutch" in that other post... I'm not sure my meaning was clear, but I certainly meant no offense in any way.

Clear skies,

No offence taken at all. I'm totally new here and just after various opinions on lots of different aspects. If there's one thing I've learnt from previous hobbies it's to ask the experts. The problem with the written language it's it's so easy to misinterpret it especially when that written piece comes from a different part of the world.

Edited by 1 of 5

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Fully agree with Dan (Ad Astra)... an aid is soemthing that helps you do something better; a crutch is something you rely on to do part of your job for you.

Stellarium (like any other map) is an aid. IMHO, Goto may be an aid or a crutch, depending on how you use it.

Ultimately, as many other people have pointed out, do what suits you best and results in the most enjoyment for you. The only thing I would add is that at least basic star-hopping skills and an awareness of key "landmarks" in the night sky are very valuable skills - sooner or later your aid / crutch / whatever will break / be left at home / lost... I use Stellarium a lot for learning the night sky but still have a planisphere and star atlas - sometimes it's just plain easier to look at a star map than faff around with my laptop.

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The main thing is having fun with it whatever you use.

I find learning the sky is part of the fun so a chart, a red torch and the naked eye was all I used in the 1st couple of weeks, then added binos I borrowed and purchased a scope a month later. By the time I had the scope I had some knowledge to help me locate stuff. Now, whenever the conditions are right and I don't want to waste time searching, I turn on GOTO. But I know about 40 or 50 Messier's locations by heart and when I'm out with the binos it takes me seconds to have one of those in the FoV, without any aid.

It's up to you to decide what you want to do (learn the sky, observe or both). It's a hobby, have fun with it! :)

Edited by pvaz

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So, I may not be an "Astronomer" or even a practised amateur, but it would seem to me that if you can go out side on a clear night and name every point of light in the sky at any time of the year, then there are an awful lot of observatories that would like your name and address to offer you a job.

Star maps and simulation programmes are surely the only way to train your observation skills. Like how can you find Polaris with certainty if you are a noob?

With a programme like Stellarium you get a good clue and a guide to where you should be looking. Without, well you could maybe make a close guess, maybe but then again maybe not. Alignment of your telescope is crucial if you want to track the celestial sky so you need to know for certain what star you are looking at and not guess. How else would you be sure other than have some kind of aid? Oh! you could always stick your tongue out and taste the photons.

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