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MarkMittlesteadt

Knowing the night sky versus GoTo...and light pollution...

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Hi Ya Hoops, Yeah the Meade's are nice scopes, Personally, I don't think that there's much between the different brands now - they all seem pretty much the same - I think years ago, there may have been a difference, but with the newer production methods nowadays, on the whole there very much similar - I can only go on the scopes that I've owned - like you - I had an LX90 for about 5 years  - really nice piece of kit, it performed flawlessly, never missed an alignment in all the years I had it and only had to sell it to part fund my Celestron, looking back I wished I'd have kept it now but there's always the future.

EDIt - I Think Robert's Knobs just hasn't quite got the ring to it!!

Edited by Northern Soul man

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what a fantastic expression. I think this is me.

Yes - great isn't it? It's the expression used in the sailing fraternity - look at Wikipedia for example. I did a few trips with a colleague of mine from West Wales to Ireland and always enjoyed the challenge of 'dead reckoning' . Perfectly describes star hopping I think!

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This is only my take on things so please don't shoot me if you disagree :D.

Visual with goto, I don't get...for me the chase makes the kill worth while. to punch in a few objects into the hand controller and see how many targets you can get in an hr seems fruitless.

Imaging without goto, I don't get that either.... especially in the uk where clear skies are counted in minutes, not days, every minute catching photons is paramount.

All that said, I think it was John who said "it's a hobby" so should be approached in whatever way siuts you best.

Scott

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Can't really recommend the GoTo highly enough, it's marvellous watching that thing slew across half the sky to place some elusive yet lovely object dead in the eyepiece. Plus the satisfaction of identifying with certainty the objects you're actually looking at, there's a serious amount of stuff up there you know!

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Yes - great isn't it? It's the expression used in the sailing fraternity - look at Wikipedia for example. I did a few trips with a colleague of mine from West Wales to Ireland and always enjoyed the challenge of 'dead reckoning' . Perfectly describes star hopping I think!

Dead reckoning, I also like like that. A good applicable term to employ.

Mind if it catches on, I can envisage a future, popular and recurring thread theme;

'Go To or Dead Reckoning.... which do you prefer?' :smiley:

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Star hopping and other manual navigation gets my interest, though nothing wrong with a GOTO. Personally never seen one working and I'm sure I would be impressed. Budget ruled it it initially (though I could have afforded it by making other sacrifices) but I primarily wanted to do this without the help of electronics.......though I'm the guy that will be looking at images of objects on the Internet to help find asterisms around those more difficult DSOs! That makes me a hypocrite, and an old fashioned one at that!

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what a fantastic expression. I think this is me.

I don't navigate using 'Dead Reckoning', but rather what I call 'Stochastic Celestial Navigation' - i.e. there's a chance I'm pointing at the right thing...

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Yes that can be true. Sometimes there may occur a circumstance that requires re- evaluation to something like ' Erm probably... Dead Reckoning'.

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I live just north of London and use a 10 inch dobsonian.Because of severe light pollution it is quite a test to star hop.When visiting Wales and Dorset during the summer i had my Skywatcher startravel 102mm.Star hopping was easy and sucessful.This is because you can see the fainter stars and constellations.I am though thinking of getting a goto mount for the startravel.

Martin.

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Here here! For popping into the back garden for a quick go before bed under poop light pollution, the goto gets the thumbs up. However spent a night under amazing skies recently with only 80mm of handheld goodness to see stuff.... Again good. One problem is that people don't have good finders... A right angle correct image finder and a green pointer (no comments!) is all you need to find almost anything under almost any sky....

Cheers

PeterW

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I'm on the other side of the camp (no, not THAT camp! :grin: ). Planispheres, knowing the night sky like the back of my hand, star-hopping? Not on your nelly. Its like driving a car. My car is there to get me to places so I can do things (shop, business, pleasure and so on). The thoughts of having to mess about under the bonnet just to get to where I want to be is anathema to me.

Mind you, I'm solely an imager. Looking THROUGH a telescope? :eek:  Gawd, no.

I did try it a few weeks back...I was pretty tired and didn't really want to spend time on imaging. So I dug out a diagonal and an eyepiece (from my motley collection of 3) and spent an hour panning around the sky. I remember looking at M27 and being surprised at the size of it (Celestron C11 and 8.8mm Meade EP). At the same time I was totally frustrated by it too, as I knew that my crummy wetware eyes were giving me a tiny, tiny fraction of the view that's available. It felt like I was wasting my time, almost like I was peering through a drinking straw and knowing that I could have stuck a camera on it and seen it is glorious colour with detail that my crummy human eyesight could never attain. Similarly with M31...a faint fuzzy blob, when I know that it really looks like this

Needless to say, the diagonal went back in the drawer and the EP is back where it belongs...in my solarscope case.

GOTO isn't "cheating" its no different from having a reliable car to get you where you want to go. Some people love fettling an older car...the fettling and driving is the fun. Others like to just get somewhere...the destination is the fun.

A chacun son goût

 
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Yep, it's the difference between a paper map and a GPS. You'll learn lots from looking at a map and a GPS still needs understanding.

I held off for two years against getting GOTO, but I still love just simple Dob star hopping, hurrah !

Nick.

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My first scope was a reflector, so I had no choice but to learn,but now am lazy and have hoot which is convenient,but when I get the binos out for a quick look am glad I learnt my way round

Pat

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Goto is only for AstroPhotography in my case.  For visual observing its just the manual Dob, a Sky Chart and a red torch. Its much more rewarding and fun to find, say, the Dumbell nebula than just pressing a few goto buttons and then looking at it.  I found that very boring, very quickly,

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I'm resistant to GOTO. My arguments against it are slightly socialogical, so you must excuse me...

Someone once showed me an iPhone app where you hold your iPhone up to a plant and the phone tells you what kind of plant it is. Briliant! You need never worry about misidentification again! But it misses the point that the skill of Botany is to learn what to look for and how to look for it; to get up close and personal with the plant, see its place in the ecosystem, touch it, feel it, sense it. The iPhone is cheating. Leafing through the Collins plant guide and trying to remember what the hell a sepal is, that's all part of the fun! Computers get in the way of our relationship with the natural world, the context and the sense of wonder - the feeling of connection.

It extends to Astronomy. The same friend with the plant app also has a night sky app. I took him out star gazing and he eagerly turned in on to help me find a particular object. I just pointed and said, "Er... it's over there..." Learning the sky, with all its nuances, is part of what motivates me to lug the telescope down the park in the first place. Seeing how the sky changes, judging atmospheric conditions, star-hopping, learning constellations is all part of a craft essentially. For me it's the difference between carpentry and 3D printing. Technology depersonalises the experience and the sense of communion. By learning the sky I feel a greater sense of my place in the universe and I pride myself on my knowledge of the sky. There you go - the Zen of Astronomy.

Having said that, it's a damned sight easier to use GOTO to find stuff!

DD

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I agree about the iPhone plant app, but automated sky navigation is somewhat different. Knowing your way around the sky is a great skill but there is no real connection with, say a nebula and a more distant star that you use to navigate to it really. It's just a way of getting there. I've tried both and am now firmly stuck in the complete auto setup where I type in what I want to view and it's done. Lazy but enjoyable and shareable. You would shudder at my meade audio description of that cluster giving distance, magnitude etc while you're at the eyepiece but for family involvement you really can't beat it. Horses for courses

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

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Goto is only for AstroPhotography in my case.  For visual observing its just the manual Dob, a Sky Chart and a red torch. Its much more rewarding and fun to find, say, the Dumbell nebula than just pressing a few goto buttons and then looking at it.  I found that very boring, very quickly,

Each to their own. Personally I couldn't really think of anything more tedious!

I'm resistant to GOTO. My arguments against it are slightly socialogical, so you must excuse me...

Someone once showed me an iPhone app where you hold your iPhone up to a plant and the phone tells you what kind of plant it is. Briliant! You need never worry about misidentification again! But it misses the point that the skill of Botany is to learn what to look for and how to look for it; to get up close and personal with the plant, see its place in the ecosystem, touch it, feel it, sense it. The iPhone is cheating. Leafing through the Collins plant guide and trying to remember what the hell a sepal is, that's all part of the fun! Computers get in the way of our relationship with the natural world, the context and the sense of wonder - the feeling of connection.

It extends to Astronomy. The same friend with the plant app also has a night sky app. I took him out star gazing and he eagerly turned in on to help me find a particular object. I just pointed and said, "Er... it's over there..." Learning the sky, with all its nuances, is part of what motivates me to lug the telescope down the park in the first place. Seeing how the sky changes, judging atmospheric conditions, star-hopping, learning constellations is all part of a craft essentially. For me it's the difference between carpentry and 3D printing. Technology depersonalises the experience and the sense of communion. By learning the sky I feel a greater sense of my place in the universe and I pride myself on my knowledge of the sky. There you go - the Zen of Astronomy.

DD

Its a great hobby to have, to be honest. There's so many different ways of enjoying this hobby, of learning new things, of finding your own space (no pun intended). I really can't see why anyone would term GOTO as "cheating"..its just another way to enjoy the majesty of the natural world. It's no more cheating than not grinding you own lenses.

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If I wanted an easy life - I would choose Stellarium rather than Go-To.

And sit inside on the favorite armchair next to a crackling fire.

Sometimes the chase is better than the catch.

It's horses for courses.

I found the Ring Nebula and Hercules cluster again tonight.

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For me Goto (and computer control)  is essential for imaging, nice for observing.

I cant quiet work my head around a Goto Dob, I feel it defeats the simplicity and hands on which the Dob is all about.

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For me Goto (and computer control)  is essential for imaging, nice for observing.

I cant quiet work my head around a Goto Dob, I feel it defeats the simplicity and hands on which the Dob is all about.

A go-to Dob must be like having a sat nav for your bicycle.

Half the fun is pedelling the damn thing.

I have seen a few motorised Dobs on e-bay, but shyed away becasue I wanted a portable "Grab and Go"

No 240v electric / no heavy motors / no batteries / no computers (I use one all day) 

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A push to dob is better. Best of both worlds.

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A go-to Dob must be like having a sat nav for your bicycle.

Half the fun is pedelling the damn thing.

I have seen a few motorised Dobs on e-bay, but shyed away becasue I wanted a portable "Grab and Go"

No 240v electric / no heavy motors / no batteries / no computers (I use one all day) 

Precisely, although each to their own.

Congrats on your 6000th post btw ;)

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I have tried both and GoTo wins hands down every time for me

There are many objects to look at in the night sky and thus it would take an age to see and appreciate them all. I do not find it boring at all.

 A true purest would surely make there own scopes & accessories including the glass etc, otherwise it just wouldn't be cricket :grin:  :grin:

 As a result we all fit somewhere between purist and convenience and its great we have the choice to suit our preference.

Edited by Pig
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I have observed and in many cases imaged using:

binos from 50 - 120 mm

dobs from 13 cm to 45 cm (including a 38 cm bino dob - best DSO visuals ever!)

homebuilt 45 cm Newton (basically a tilted/polar-aligned Dobson with a tracking motor) with a RDF + 80 mm finder

38+60 cm Newtons on a home-built dual-mount GEM with telrad and finder (using a very tall ladder)

old professional GEM mounts with accurate circles + finder (36 cm refractor and 1 m reflector)  

several modern amateur GoTos and a semipro/pro GoTo scopes (41 cm RC).

They all have their own charms, advantages, disadvantages and teach you different skills. I like them all equally. However one of my favorite activities is to star hop using optics with little or no sophistication while the GoTo mounts keep gathering data. That's my solution to the GoTO or star hop question. Why not do both at the same time? 

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I'm certain that a Dob is quicker and more accurate on easy targets. Grab and go is just so much more rewarding and relaxing than GOTO.

Unfortunately in Middle England we get few nights of continuous observing and there's so much new to see. There's just not enough time to check charts and star hop and id new targets by hand .

That's the beauty and ease of GOTO,

Nick.

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