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DaveGibbons

No Knowledge of the night sky is required

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I think brantuk is right - unless the telescope 'eye' actually can detect if an object will be visible or not on that particular night through the eyepiece currently in use and tell the user 'Object not currently visible' instead of showing just an empty patch of sky, there may be a few confused users thinking that it's not working. With no knowledge of the night sky there would be no way for them to know if it is even pointing in the right direction.

I'll bet it's not all that sophisticated.

Edited by jonathan

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I think brantuk is right - unless the telescope 'eye' actually can detect if an object will be visible or not on that particular night through the eyepiece currently in use and tell the user 'Object not currently visible' instead of showing just an empty patch of sky, there may be a few confused users thinking that it's not working. With no knowledge of the night sky there would be no way for them to know if it is even pointing in the right direction.

I'll bet it's not all that sophisticated.

Should be possible: If the goto database has a list of magnitudes and surface brightnesses, it should be possible to cull the invisible objects from the list, based on the aperture of the scope. The camera of the SkyProdigy should even be able to estimate limiting magnitude and LP in theory.

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Here's a thought, is there any reason why this system can't be done with computer software and a piggy back camera on any Ascom mount? I know there's web pages that can identify widefields in the same way.

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Should be possible: If the goto database has a list of magnitudes and surface brightnesses, it should be possible to cull the invisible objects from the list, based on the aperture of the scope. The camera of the SkyProdigy should even be able to estimate limiting magnitude and LP in theory.

I'm growing cynical in my old age though, this kind of system would require some effort.

Given a free hand, I'd say it should be possible to just visually read the sky using the built-in camera and automatically adjust the object database based on current seeing conditions and the telescope / eyepiece attached (special eyepieces with markers on that the telescope can read to identify it, like a roll of 35mm film has for automatic compact cameras).

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Hi all,

Just thought I'd post to say I received my Skyprodigy 130 last Thursday, and have sold my Skywatcher 130P on to a mate who has an interest in astronomy but has only just moved out to a place where he can practice it.

So, the upshot is my purchase has brought another person into the hobby! So slight justification.

Anyway, here in SE London the weather has been rubbish. Well, cloudy anyway, but on Friday there was some broken cloud and patches of visible sky, so I thought I'd give it a go. I levelled the mount and set everything up. I had to choose the semi-automatic alignment method as there are various obstructions in my garden. Basically, I slewed the scope to a patch of sky in the North where I could make out a couple of stars and hit the align button. The camera took a picture, processed it (it found 96 stars) and "solved" it, i.e. matched the stars to its database, in about 30 seconds. I repeated this for a patch of sky to the East-ish and then towards the south. At the final align it did some more calculations, lasting about 1 sec, and then said alignment complete. Total time: about 2.5 minutes! I was very very impressed. My "old" scope would never have been setup in that time. 25 minutes if I was lucky and if I didn't mess something up. For a start there weren't that many stars to choose from with the naked eye. The finder scope on the Skywatcher magnifies about x10 I think, and it frustrated me that the one star I was aiming for that I could see with the naked eye, turned into about 40 through the finder scope.

Anyway, clouds were starting to roll in so I just tested how accurate the GOTO mount was. I asked it to slew round to M42 (obviously), Betelguese, Polaris and others. The ones that weren't covered in cloud apeared dead centre in the eyepiece and the scope moved very quickly. I was really impressed. It certainly seems to be in a different league compared to the Skywatcher mount.

So I was setup in less than 3 mins, and I spent another hour looking at M42 and generally having a good time. I then had to attend to kids and the tea and stuff, but I left the scope tracking, and when I manaed to get out again it was still spot on.

Anyway, I'm happy with my purchase. I really can't wait until tonight as the reports are for broken cloud again. May get an hour or two outside if I'm lucky!

Thanks

Stuart

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GOTO v non-GOTO? Each to their own, and if it gets some more people interested in the hobby, then that's all the better.

Do you need to "know" the sky? IMHO, no. I know the main constellations, and enough stars to align, which is all that I need. Others delight in knowing the sky like the back of their hand, and learning how to find things unaided. As long as you don't carry your knowledge like some sort of badge of honour which makes you think that you can lord it over others, then carry on.

A bad analogy.....people who were into computers 20 years ago had to be experts at DOS, assigning interrupts, IRQs and COM ports in order to get anything working. Now, who needs that knowledge? You just plug the device in and get on with using it, rather than wrestling with making it work. If you enjoy wrestling with command lines (I'm looking at you, Linux boy:D ) then well and good, but don't sneer or look down on the guy that just plugs it in and gets on with his or her life.

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Each to their own I guess.

A month ago when I first decided to buy a scope I thought I wanted a goto scope that I could stick a camera on and take 'Hubble images' to amaze my friends! :mad:

After a lot of research and guidance from helpful folk like yourselves (thanks ;)) I have decided that I, personally, will get a lot more out of Astronomy from finding my own way around the sky, recording my observations, running through lists etc. (we shall find out when my new scope arrives).

However I appreciate that there are many people out there that don't have the time or inclination to learn the sky but want to have look at what is out there which is where goto comes in IMHO.

I have always loved astronomy and always wanted a telescope as a child. If I had got my hands on one way back then I would have soon got bored of trying to find stuff and walked away. If it had goto however...:eek:

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Considering that you can get an app for a phone, hold it up and get all the information on the bit of sky that the phone is aimed at I would say that absolutely no knowledge of the sky is required at all these days.

You do not need to have an idea of the direction you are looking at or even where in the world you are - all done for you.

No telescope required, works under cloud as well. Could be sat indoors watching telly and have a "look" round when the adverts come on and not even get out of your chair.

Now for the "scary" thing, that is what a lot of kids will use to learn astronomy, and to them it will be normal.

I suppose that if you want to learn the sky then get a smart phone and an app.

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I think we all do what we do in the way that suits our own individual needs, that is how it should be. It's not like we are doing it for medals, we do it for pleasure.

Precisely. There is far too much old boy snobbery going on here at times.

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I think we all do what we do in the way that suits our own individual needs, that is how it should be. It's not like we are doing it for medals, we do it for pleasure.

Seconded again. Some people like to use the technology, others don't. Does it really matter who does what or how they do it?

Sent from my mobile using Tapatalk, so please excuse the speeling and granma! ;)

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I'm just a grumpy old man, I like doing things for myself.

For those that want a goto, I see no problem, it just not for me, and before you say I dont like tecky stuff, I have 20+ years as an IT contracter, some of which were quite high profile, inc security.

Its all much like mobile phones, I just want one to use it to call, no text, no app this or app that, but these days mobiles are almost throwaway items when a new fad hits them, again, if thats what you want, then thats fine too.

Just leave me out of it, not intrested.

Just accept, that goto, will not go away, dont knock it, just beacuse you don't like it.

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Here's a thought, is there any reason why this system can't be done with computer software and a piggy back camera on any Ascom mount? I know there's web pages that can identify widefields in the same way.

I have my iPad mounted on my 12" dob and using the StarWalk App I have my own "push-to" system. It doesn't find anything for me but puts me in the ball park.

Personally I don't want a go-to but if someone wants to buy a 14" go-to dob, go outside and let the telescope do the work then fair enough. I think stargazing and astronomy are two different things.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk.

"Go out, look up!"

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In my opinion its only the elitists that you find in every hobby who complain that everything has to be learnt the 'hard way and shun anyone using newer technology.

My gotto mount is like my satnav , not essential but makes life easier in this busy world we all live in. I want to get to where I'm going quickly and easily just like I do with my scope, and guess what, its the same when I get there as it is for everyone else.

Each to their own.

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I think the main disadvantage of goto is higher price, and that you could spend the extra on more aperture. Having said that, bigger aperture generally means narrower FOV, meaning you must be better at star-hopping. Buying a big scope without goto and then struggling to find anything would be silly. I would go for the aperture, as I am very experienced in star-hopping, but there are plenty out there who really benefit from goto. The should go for it.

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Isn't the HST just a large Go-To remotely viewed scope ?

Nobody thinks Guide Scopes and software are the work of the devil for imaging.

I have never owned a Go-To but can see me doing so in the future alongside traditional scopes.

I have Google Earth but still buy maps and atlases and walk up mountains.

Paul

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My mount is a GoTo, but I rarely use it. I prefer to set it to sidereal mode so I can point and go.

Astronomy is all about having fun with the night sky. Just do what ever makes you happy ;) If a bit of technology help, that's great. If you don't need it, that's great too.

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I love having goto on my Dob. It gives me the best of both worlds. If I want to give people a quick tour then I can push to somewhere close and let the goto do the fine tuning, if I want the fun of finding things I can use my telrad and finder scope and the dob will keep tracking for me, and (perish the thought!) if I'm not sure if what I'm looking for is in the field of view I can choose 'identify' on the handset and it will tell me if its there. Brilliant! But most importantly whether I use it or not I have fun and observe the wonders of the heavens - and that's what really matters!

Helen

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"No knowledge of the night sky required"

- Yes I agree it can't have been written by anyone with an intereset in astronomy.

It was probably a marketing team intent on making people with short attention spans part with large sums of money

Well, that as well, but I think the advert is more geared to newbies who maybe do want to learn the night sky but would like to feel like they have something that can get them somewhere faster.

As for the GOTO vs non-GOTO argument, lots of views there and I know this has been bashed around on other threads, but I may as well add my ten cents:

Telescope manufacturers know that the market requirements are going towards more portable setups. The uniquitious assumption (sadly, still found in some astro club comittees) that astronomy enthusiasts all have their own semi-dark back gardens with a permanent setup, or even owning freehold properties with a garden at all ; this may have been a half-rational assumption in the 20th century, but certainly not the 21st century. So portablility and GOTO becomes more of a necessity (due to travel and time constraints) rather than an option. The big boys such as Meade & Celestron understand this, hence their marketing being targeted differently than it was back in the 1980s.

As for enjoyment in "the art of finding objects" (with charts etc), I've done it, found various DSOs without goto, but just doesn't do anything for me. Capturing your own colourful picture of the DSO then printed onto something you can hang up on the wall, that does do it for me. Just a personal thing.

Edited by PortableAstronomer

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I think it is, yes, geared towards newbies and basically telling them they don't need a MSc in astrophysics to enjoy the sky. It's a way of not putting people off before they even start.

It might not be required to begin with but you will have to learn something very soon into it, with or without a goto. I have both, and I need to have some knowledge because my goto is clearly lazy and doesn't actually do it for me at all!

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People with an MSc in astrophysics tend to have very little knowledge of the night sky. I am an exception, as I first learnt about the night sky, and then got an MSc in astronomy and physics.

All professional astronomers use goto. The real bummer about the Keck and the ESO VLT is that they do not have a decent finder scope, not even an RDF! ;):eek:

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Pick any degree you like then, I don't know which is which, but surely you know what I mean?

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Pick any degree you like then, I don't know which is which, but surely you know what I mean?

I fully understand. My point is actually that no degree course teaches you working knowledge of the stars. It is hobby thing for those who want to learn it.

And of course I was pulling your leg a bit. ;)

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I have a Celestron Nexstar 4SE, bought very recently, and a skyliner 150p Dob, bought last week.

I bought the Nexstar because it was so compact and I had read on here that GoTos were better if you have a lot of LP, which we suffer from. The idea was to buy OH a skywatcher on the basis of economy, but he contributed and we got the Cele instead.

I bought the DOB because 2 nights with the Celestron were enough to turn me into a complete Junkie and my husband and I are sharing the Cele, and I was greedy and didn't want to wait my turn. Saw he cheap cheap dob, it would have been rude not to buy it. (Warehouse Express sale!)

Sunday night we had a few hours clear of cloud so I wanted to check the dob worked, as it has a dent in the side. Yes, it works fine, but sheesh!! Couldn't even get the finderscope properly aligned. Absolute nightmare. It's still not aligned. (Can't do it in daylight as I live on the top of a hill, and have tall wooden fences, and you need something that's about 500 meters away.) Plus the misery of trying to push the wretched tube slowly and smoothly enough to keep a star in the fov. Holy cow I love the Cele even more now.

If I'd had the dob first, my husband would be alone in the backgarden, gradually getting extremely bored and going off the whole thing.

Not that I shall give up on the dob - but it's not what I would call a pleasure to use.

Edited by CFC

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I think it's up to the individual. Knowing nothing about the stars, but using a scope has got to be better than some, not all ;-) alternative night time activities.

Lets face it, we all drive cars, but how many bother to learn how an engine works, let alone cruise control, ESP, DSC, ICE, ABS etc etc. I believe it's very interesting and informative to learn about all aspects of cars and it's my job, but I find most people aren't really interested in finding out exactly how they work, they just use the technology.

There is no reason to learn the sky, it's just an option if you want to and you shouldn't feel like you have do.

Edited by sgazer

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All this discussion about goto makes me wonder how future developments will be accepted by the astro community. With the growth in cheap optics and commercial space flight I am fully expecting small, personal space scopes to be available within my lifetime. Will it be 'impure' to use these because we don't have to deal with the atmosphere or LP or any form of alignment?

The Technology Bus will rumble on and on . Where you choose to get off is up to you.

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