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Emperor315

Technology or Old School?

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Hi All,

I was in my little garden tonight looking to spot M31 or M15 before the clouds came in. As you can see from my sig, I have a very basic, ameteur setup.

I decided to target M31 first - so I located Cassiopeia, followed an imaginary line one of the points make down to the Andromeda constellation. I then found the middle star along the bottom (her hip I suppose), hopped up to her other hip, moved up and a little to the right and knew I was in the correct region. I scanned this area for a short while until BAM! The hazy smudge I was looking for was in my field of vision! What a buzz!!

Obviously a Go-to mount would have had me there in seconds! No star hopping, no making imaginary lines, and no scanning a patch of sky. However, I wonder if those who use the go-to mounts miss out on the thrill of using the sky and their knowledge to locate a DSO.

I fully intend to upgrade to a go to mount a few years down the line but by then I will have a great knowledge of the sky and knwo how to find objects without relying on technology. With this in mind, I can't help but think having a go-to mount as part of your first set-up may be a mistake. I guess some people don't have the time, patience or desire to use the sky as a map though. So I understand why go-to are a great option.

What do you think? Any arguments from the other side?

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I don't see it as a goto or no goto argument but one of budget allocation. I simply want more aperture for my money rather than invest heavily in electronics. if I had a choice of say a 10" with goto or a 16" with manual operation, I'd have the 16" every time. maybe one day I'll be able to afford a goto system for my 16" scope but then I'd probably just get a bigger scope again!

there is the issue of less to go wrong with manual systems and I do like to keep it simple but goto would be great if you have a quick hour or two and want a tour. that said, I can do that myself with major objects. I can get most of the brighter messiers in my scope's eyepiece within about 15 seconds manually.

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I suppose it depends on the kind of person you are, some like finding the object themselves, others dont want to struggle finding & just want to see the object without fuss.

I mean most folks I know use stellarium to show them whats above their heads in their location/time and thats using technology just as much as goto instead of working it out from notes on established star pattern movements.

I come down on the side of the fence that everyone should in my opinion know enough to orientate themselves to north (ie basic navigation) {or to south depending where you are in the world} after that, if people want to use technology and can afford it with out sacrificing on the optics of their scope, why not ?

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I can get most of the brighter messiers in my scope's eyepiece within about 15 seconds manually.

That's pretty impressive! YOu must know the sky like the back of your hand! :-)

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I know some of it quite well but using a Telrad plus optical finder really helps. don't get me wrong if I am looking for something faint or unfamiliar it often takes a lot longer and sometimes from light polluted home I don't find it at all (like the current comet in Pegasus) although that's with high cloud and my 6" scope.........should have got the 16" out but then I'd be even more annoyed!

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I use to do mountain marathons / orienteering events which involved map and compass and visually reading the landscape, often with restrictive visability in fairly featureless terrain. This led to mistakes being made (and when running from one point to another at a cost) but the personal gain is in understanding how the mistake came about and the realisation as to how to get back on course. This for me creates a similar circumstance in my attempts to familarise and comprehend the night sky whilst searching for objects..

I think that if my first telescope had had goto capability then I might feel different, but I am quite happy with a more basic set up in which I can enjoy the optics I currently have.

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Still being fairly new to this I get a lot of the enjoyment "hunting down" targets. It's like the thrill of the chase with a hell of a buzz when you succeed. Just dialling in an object and being taken straight there seems to be missing most of the fun. I'm sure doing it the hard way is the best way to learn the skies (for me anyway). I also enjoy the planning, studying maps and charts and drawing my own "idiot guide" diagrams.

Oh well. Each to his own :smiley:

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I don't think there's a right or wrong here, it's just about how you choose to experience the sky.

For me, I have no interest in goto - I don't want a computer on my scope, I want to get away from the modern world and just enjoy the universe. But I am a hypocrite as I use my iPad at the scope :D

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If you have a light poluted site, then Goto is a godsend

If observing in my heavily light polluted skys I only revisit a select few brighter objects, mostly enjoying planetary and open cluster views. Under these circumstances, Goto would be more useful if imaging.

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I've no problem at all with whatever way folks want to enjoy this hobby but for me the low-tech approach is what I prefer. No wires, cables or whirring motors, no iPad or anything similar either. I'm the GOTO and the drive system for my scopes :smiley:

But the tech approach is fine by me too and I can see it's appeal for many.

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Bought my first scope a couple of months ago, without goto. So glad I did, every night out with the scope I learn the names of new constellations, and the positions of some of the more prominent objects within them. I am however having problems pointing the scope at exactly the right spot in the sky, go to would be useful for that!

Sent from my A500 using Tapatalk 2

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Bought my first scope a couple of months ago, without goto. So glad I did, every night out with the scope I learn the names of new constellations, and the positions of some of the more prominent objects within them. I am however having problems pointing the scope at exactly the right spot in the sky, go to would be useful for that!

Sent from my A500 using Tapatalk 2

A Telrad and right angle finder would be almost as good.

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When this thread pops up, it usually gets quite heated...

I use goto when I am hunting DSOs in my light polluted back garden and some nights it helps me. Other nights I only use the tracking feature and try to hunt down a few myself. Just the basic ones - the Double double, M13 etc. When I am using binoculars I really enjoy finding stuff manually. When I am photographing the sky, my mount is set to tracking because I can't put a telescope on it to align it at the same time as a camera. Mostly my telescope is used to look at the planets, and even I don't need goto for that - but tracking is once more invaluable!

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Go-to vs manual seems to be as circular an argument as film vs digital in my opinion. I've had both and I like the ability to track straight onto a target that I get from a go-to as my imaging hours are restricted so the more time I'm on target the better. Each to their own I say!

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As you'll see from my signature I'm just a few away from the "full set" of Messier objects. Every one of those I've found by star-hopping. I find the process fun and I've learnt a lot about the night sky (and found a few unexpected things) along the way. Last night I was trying to find the comet in Pegasus and took a few short cuts. I couldn't find it. So I went back to first principles, planned myself a route there from Omega Pegasus and off I went, no bother :) My experience is that finding a target manually means I remember the location and surroundings well too, especially if it's a struggle to find. I have absolutely no problem believing Moonshane's suggestion that he could get many of the Messier objects in the eyepiece in fifteen seconds with a combination of Telrad and optical finder.

And to those who prefer GOTO I'd say "Off you go, Fill yer boots. Have fun." It's not like it's some sort of competition or that your worth as an astronomer is somehow judged by how you find an object (though when you come across people who have all the latest gadgets and think that's what matters it might be nice if it were :). I bet an awful lot of professional astronomers hardly ever look at the night sky and find an object manually. Does that mean they're less worthy of being called an astronomer? I don't think so.

There are more important things in the world to worry about, I reckon. You know, like "Will my wife notice if I buy a new scope in exactly the same colours as the current one but 25% bigger?"

James

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James, of course she will because she will now see two scopes instead of one cluttering up the house! :grin: :grin: :grin:

I wouldn't argue that one system is better than another only that they offer different advantages. Star hopping using a big dob has to represent the the most straightforward quickest way to set up and view the sky. Equally Goto has the advantage (once alignment procedure has been successfully completed) of being able to find an object when there is patchy cloud about and to hold that object in the eyepiece until there is a break in the sky - which has been the only way I have managed to get ANY observing done of late. Moonshane's point above regarding budget is key in this discussion because Goto should never be purchased out of the scope budget, resulting in the ownership of a system that is able to locate an object which you can't see because you could only afford less aperture from the dimished remaining budget. We have all seen the advertisements claiming a huge data base of some 15,000 objects attached to a scope that could probably only resolve less than a 100 of them. Goto can be a great learning tool and is a really useful tool at providing a prescribed tour during public outreach events (...ever seen the reaction of child being allowed to input a messier number - great!) but for all the advantages, it's use can often be reduced to no more than a galactic telephone, where people just dial in an object and quickly move on to 'bag' another item and so on.

Each to there own at the end of the day.

James

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There are more important things in the world to worry about, I reckon. You know, like "Will my wife notice if I buy a new scope in exactly the same colours as the current one but 25% bigger?"

(From the list in your sig I'm figuring the answer is no... :D )

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You might think that; I couldn't possibly comment :)

James

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There is no right or wrong to this question that comes up under different guises at regular intervals - the good old goto verses non-goto.

Who cares?

You are looking through a scope and looking at the skies, how you do that is really your choice.

If you want scope A, then buy scope A.

Don't ask here as you will get told scope B, scope C and scope D instead. When scope A was probably the one you should have got anyway.

One other point, of all the forums SGL seems to be the only one where this is a problem. It doesn't come up on most others. They don't care what you have. I don't think I have ever read a goto or not post on Cloudy Nights. You are doing some astronomy and the equipment is usually irrelevant and the question of goto/non-goto just isn't a concern.

If you want a goto, go buy one.

If you don't want a goto don't buy one.

Your money, your choice, not someone elses choice, it's just yours.

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I enjoy finding stuff, even if I have seen it in someone else's scope I will try to find it with mine, so for me Goto isn't a priority. But, if I had £300 in my pocket and nothing more important to spend it on then I would get the Goto kit for my mount, after all it's another tool to use, or not use, as the mood takes me. There are, however, other items further up the shopping list at the moment: camera, image processing software, thermals...

I appreciate why people like Goto and I would never think of criticising someone else's choices, after all it's their time and their money.

Sometimes though it is nice to aimlessly wander around the skies, you might find something wonderful that you weren't looking for.

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Hi All..... I wonder if those who use the go-to mounts miss out on the thrill of using the sky and their knowledge to locate a DSO......What do you think? Any arguments from the other side?

I learnt the sky decades before goto was invented so I've no quarms using it today :tongue:

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....One other point, of all the forums SGL seems to be the only one where this is a problem. It doesn't come up on most others. They don't care what you have. I don't think I have ever read a goto or not post on Cloudy Nights. You are doing some astronomy and the equipment is usually irrelevant and the question of goto/non-goto just isn't a concern....

I agree that both approaches have merits and I'm not at all bothered about which route folks go down but a quick "google" of "GOTO Vs manual" shows that many forums, including Cloudynights, do discuss this on a reasonably regular basis.

Given the additional cost of the GOTO facility it seems a question well worth discussing for the newcomer to the hobby, in my opinion.

Maybe it crops up on SGL a little more frequently because the forum is particularly friendly towards those thinking of getting into the hobby :smiley:

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I would quite like to upgrade to GOTO but I have no idea if my TAL 150P OTA can be adapted, and if so, to what GOTO mount.

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I would quite like to upgrade to GOTO but I have no idea if my TAL 150P OTA can be adapted, and if so, to what GOTO mount.

If you can attach a Skywatcher / Vixen type dovetail bar to the tube rings on the scope you can use any Skywatcher / Vixen compatible GOTO mount. I'd suggest that at least CG5 / EQ5 would be required and preferably an HEQ5. You will need a budget of around £500 or more to purchase new, less if you go for used.

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