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lw24

GoTo = Cheating?

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You spend more time see the objects and less searching for it.

But more time slewing and more time aligning!

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IMO goto is an aid to learning the night sky. It uses the telescope as a pointer to show you where the object you are viewing is. Up until recently I had no idea where M51 was, having been shown its location by my goto scope I can now point out its location and I even found it a few days later without using goto by aligning the scope up visually.

I don't think it's "cheating" as others have said, it's not a test, and for those who are hard and fast star hoppers and class goto as not being proper then that is fine... There is no wrong way of doing this hopby when it comes to locating your chosen object

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Each to their own. I don't use it but have no problem with it as long as I can't hear yours screeching from my garden :)

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Well, as you see OP, it can be an "evocative" issue... :hello2:

I mostly use GoTo, 'cos my mobility and fitness (or secretly my patience!) have diminished...

At least with re. an equatorial mount. :)

But, there are MANY thing that influence "comfort" with a scope / mount setup. Whenever I see someone "override" a thread with their personal choice, I slightly wince. That said, it pays to listen to opinion. The Ancient Egyptians built pyramids, manhandled HUGE stones... I never thought I'd use an HEQ5, an 8" "photo" Newt AND an "electronic" eyepiece etc. :p

I do agree with Malc (above!) "GoTo" can actually TEACH you (instinctive) finding of objects? :)

Edited by Macavity

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I have done observing both ways.

Started with a newtonian on a manual EQ mount. As a newbie I found it difficult but it was more coping with the manual EQ mount and keeping things in the eyepiece, so switched to an ALT/AZ GOTO (ETX). This made life easier but did not always hit the target anyway so often ended up "finding" the object" but at least it did track.

Now I am doing imaging with an EQ6 and as said above with stuff you can't see a GOTO is essential, but I find I have learnt the night sky more thoroughly since imaging as I have studied hard where these objects are just in case the GOTO misses them (which my previous imaging mount often used to).

So using a manual system is not necessarily the only way to learn the night sky.

Finally, if you have light polluted skies like me, you don't have many stars to find your way around so a GOTO is essential.

These days, if I am at an observing session at a dark site with a manual mount I can find the objects more easily having learnt the locations through imaging.

Carole

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Don't align it nd don't use it then. Simple answer.

But if you object to goto then are you going to use RA/Dec coordinates, that is precisely how goto works and even if written down in a book then you are being told or informed where to go to in the sky.

So that means you cannot use a computer or a book, forget the Messier List that is a form of goto.

Do you really want to go back to times before Messier and search the whole sky and determine what may or may not be a DSO? Messier did it for a lifetime.

If not then grow up. You are assuming that goto is a computer, goto is the scope being told where to point to. Computer and motors, laptop and HTML file, book and RA/Dec. They all tell the scope where to point to.

You use goto in one form or another either from a computer, from a book or from any other reference.

If the problem is computers, then switch yours off, PC, goto, mobile phone or otherwise.

By the way, what is Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, Keck etc if not goto's?

Wow! Just wow!

To be fair...that's not like you.

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When you have the constant thread of clouds coming over without any warning, you do not want to be spending all your time finding something only to be clouded out.

With binoculars on a mountain-top then I'd certainly enjoy visually finding my way around without goto. But no I would not think that using goto is anything like 'cheating'. To call goto a sort of 'cheating' would be like saying using the engine in your car is cheating ; why not push the car around everywhere.

Time under clear skies is limited. Best use it wisely.

Do you really want to go back to times before Messier and search the whole sky and determine what may or may not be a DSO? Messier did it for a lifetime.

Well, at least we would have less light pollution ! :-)

Edited by PortableAstronomer

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You use goto in one form or another either from a computer, from a book or from any other reference.

If the problem is computers, then switch yours off, PC, goto, mobile phone or otherwise.

I think you’re missing the point. Using Books and computers is not goto. They involve the, “you and your brain” bit to find the object. Goto bypasses this bit.

I do totally agree with what others have said though.

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GoTo is not cheating in my mind, we are in the 21st century and the equipment is there to be used. If like me you have limited time for viewing, a Goto is a must, on the other hand I try and find an object by start hopping at least once in a session. My eyes are not as good as they use to be and even with a fuzzy blob in the eye piece I have been know to miss the object, only to be told it is there by somebody with better eye sight!

How many people work out maths problems in their heads these days, they go to a hand calculator instead? It is the same with Goto scopes, but this is just my opition.

Peter

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The main reason I do not use GoTo is that my 14 year old mount does not have it. I added a wacking big finder (16x70, 45deg, correct image orientation) to make life a lot easier, and love hunting around the skies. I do take some pride in finding the objects myself, and as you learn the skies you can go to known objects faster than the slew rate most drives could handle (fancy a diesel engine for your EQ mount? :)).

Having said that, I do intend to add a syncscan handset to my GP mount later, mainly for astrophotography. Maybe I will come to like goto, if not, I will not use it.

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Crikey! I was only trying to get peoples thoughts and feelings :hello2:

Unfortunately putting a subject title of Goto=cheating? is a rather harsh way to get those thoughts and feelings :):p

I prefer using goto myself for time and convenience - I'm perfectly capable of finding objects without goto but would rather spend the time looking at rather than looking for an object.

You could argue that the steady move to ever more sophisticated alignment systems that don't even require you to know the names of any stars are taking something away from astronomy but you can also look at the other side; that it makes astronomy accessible to a wider number of people, even those that may not want to learn things like star-hopping :)

James

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James, "Goto=cheating?" is a valid question and was put in a question form by lw24. There's a very clear question mark so it's not a statement. A provocative title which has had some very clear and logical answers.

There's nothing harsh about it, to be fair.

It doesn't deserve to be met with "grow up!". Now that's harsh and as a member on the forums lw24 didn't deserve that for the question he asked.

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Well of course to give a huge knee jerk, didnt grind your own mirrors... tut tut.

Obvioulsy no one would say that........

Viva la Synta !

LOL

Edited by Earl

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I guess its down to each persons objective, if your a photographer its almost vital you have goto or some kind of tracking, but for me its just a learning process, knowing the constellations etc etc, I guess the thing all people do have in common is to get a thrill out of astronomy, whether it be photography, purely observational or maybe even both! :)

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It doesn't deserve to be met with "grow up!".

I never claimed it did :)

It's a long held view of amongst some observers that goto is cheating. Whilst lw24 may or may not know that it is a little unfair to state/imply that anyones pursuit of astronomy could be classified as cheating. It is however a perfectly valid question and there's been some good responses to the question...

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Maybe a light-hearted comparison is in order: compare GoTo to quality, ready-made pasta; just boil in water until al dente. Most people use it, and nobody calls that cheating. Star hopping is like making your own: a lot more work, but fun to some of us (me included).

I do not know where to put pot-noodles in this comparison :). Browsing the internet for neat pictures from space, nearly fits, as it is easier still, also fun, but not nearly as good as seeing the real thing. However, given some of the images out there on the web are mind-blowing and teach you things, the fit is poor.

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Well of course to give a huge knee jerk, didnt grind your own mirrors... tut tut.

Obvioulsy no one would say that........

Viva la Synta !

LOL

Hah, in MY day you had to smelt your own ore, build a forge, forge the very tools you needed to build the forge in the first place, cast your own mirrors AND grind them with nothing else than a polishing cloth, AND we were happy with that!

and the problem with kids today is that if you tell them they do not believe a word you say!

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I never claimed it did :hello2:

It's a long held view of amongst some observers that goto is cheating. Whilst lw24 may or may not know that it is a little unfair to state/imply that anyones pursuit of astronomy could be classified as cheating. It is however a perfectly valid question and there's been some good responses to the question...

Not at all...wasn't claiming you did :). Just think lw24 should be defended here and not the insulter ;)

Anywho...for me GOTO (seems like most here) has been a god send. I can only basically echo what others have said about limited time etc.

Once my Obs is built I plan on visual star hopping while the camera is clicking.

So far GOTO has actually taught me the skies more than any other way has. Must be the way I'm wired but I can now locate many objects just with my pointed finger :)

Still, sooooo much more to learn. Still a green horn :p

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...Over the last 5 weeks I've gone observing (out to the country) once(!!!) only, due to the horrible weather... and I mean it's been horrible... During that only session I had an opportunity to view countless of objects thanks to my GOTO. Had I not had it I would have spent those precious few hours looking for objects, probably getting seriously frustrated and seeing very little... If something like that reoccur frequently:

poor weather x little opportunity for observing x losing time hunting for objects = I'm out of this hobby :) But thanks to my GOTO I can spend those few hours actually looking at the objects instead of searching for them.

I really don't care if there are guys around who think it is cheating. Fine - this is your opinion, you are entitled to it.

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having had a goto and considering upgrading back up to a goto i can see advantages in both.it is rewarding star hoping to a DOS,but if time is at a premium then a goto would be great as well.

but as what has been said before do what ever takes your fancy,but most importantly enjoy it!

i even try to enjoy the many hours trying to image Saturn in pretty poor conditions freezing my proverbial's off

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So we are mostly in agreement that goto isn't cheating!!

One thing worth thinking about, the quickest guys doing messier marathons are the ones NOT using goto. They just release those clutches, swing round to a sign post star and home in. Now these may be people with whom you wouldn't choose to spend an evening of rapid wit and repartee but, many people have said that their goal is to maximise observing time. Maybe, learning the sky might have some advantages then. If I have a 2 hour window of opportunity which includes setting up I reckon I will get more observing done with my dob and telrad guide books than I will with my goto GEM, and my knowledge of the sky leaves a lot to be desired.

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one thing i would add as well is for me its not about ticking an object off a list its about "observing " an object over a period of time.more detail definitely becomes visible the longer you look at something.

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Its all about the chase, some enjoy the hunt for the DSO, some like myself enjoy the extended hunt for image data on the DSO.

Good thread :)

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When it comes to DSO imaging it's a case of goto or grief!

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You won't find a single "professional" astronomer or observatory that DOESN'T use goto, so why should it make a difference to the amateur community apart from snobbery?

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