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Alan White

Mount (and way of finding things) for a 10" Newtonian and other scopes?

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Hi Folks

A bit of a theoretical one really.
I am finding it very difficult to find things with my scopes from home by visual observation and star hops.
This is due to lots of lights and spotlights now near me, the ones that pointed at me now do not, but many light the sky and surrounds.

So I am looking at ways of finding things from home, as I like to observe here.

I have thought about DSC's. GO-TO mounts etc.
All have made me quiver as I am rather a 'Luddite' at heart, but this may have to change to continue observing.

Your thoughts on mounts etc please, but I have shallow pockets, so no £10k mounts or similar in the suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Alan White

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You might find the Giro mounts would be a good match. They are certainly stable enough but might need a counterweight depending on the weight of your scope. It sounds like you have a preference for manually finding things?

In terms of finding things are you using a red dot as well as an optical RACI finder? This is my preferred route. If your situation is as bad as it sounds, you may just need to accept that certain targets will be possible and certain will be possible from home. Making a screen or obs of some kind would certainly help.

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Cheapest option is probably putting a degree circle and pointer on the dob base for Az, and a Wixey digital angle meter on the scope itself for Alt. I believe quite a few people make this work well.

Another option would be putting encoders on both axes and using a Nexus to connect to Skysafari which would give you great push-to functionality. Very easy to align.

I would not bother putting it on a mount, the eyepiece position just gets too awkward, certainly with an EQ. One of the bigger AltAz AYO mounts would probably cope with it, but I still think sticking with the dob and enhancing it is the better choice.

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9 minutes ago, Moonshane said:

You might find the Giro mounts would be a good match. They are certainly stable enough but might need a counterweight depending on the weight of your scope. It sounds like you have a preference for manually finding things?

In terms of finding things are you using a red dot as well as an optical RACI finder? This is my preferred route. If your situation is as bad as it sounds, you may just need to accept that certain targets will be possible and certain will be possible from home. Making a screen or obs of some kind would certainly help.

Hi Shane

Its already on a Dob mount from OOUK and I have a Sabre as well.
I use a Rigel Quickfinder, but if you cannot see the sentinel stars to start from, you are doomed.

The question is about finding things, rather than a mount per se really.

And yes I do like to find it myself, but that's not working and I don't want to give up observing from home either.

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On 27/11/2018 at 12:51, Stu said:

Cheapest option is probably putting a degree circle and pointer on the dob base for Az, and a Wixey digital angle meter on the scope itself for Alt. I believe quite a few people make this work well.

Another option would be putting encoders on both axes and using a Nexus to connect to Skysafari which would give you great push-to functionality. Very easy to align.

I would not bother putting it on a mount, the eyepiece position just gets too awkward, certainly with an EQ. One of the bigger AltAz AYO mounts would probably cope with it, but I still think sticking with the dob and enhancing it is the better choice.

The encoders have my interest Stu, but I would want to have this for my Dob and Giro type Sabre as both suffer lack of actual finding.
But these are far more expensive than I thought as well, the encoders and a computer are somewhat expensive.

The problem with all this is, perhaps I have too many variables and just need one set up going forward, hence the question on mounts themselves.

The Sabre encoders from Altair look to be vapourware and a fantasy at best,
so two setups would be needed perhaps, something I cannot afford.

Edited by Alan White

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Sorry, you asked for thoughts on mounts. ?

I'd use a RACI finder too as well as a red dot finder that you already have. Whilst I accept you cannot see stars below a certain magnitude with naked eye in bad sites, you can see e.g. Vega and other mag 1 or two stars and with an optical finder you'll not have much trouble tracking things down. 

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I've had similar problems- 3 things helped me: using a RACI finder, using a Rigel (both covered already) and using the fov simulator in Sky Safari. I hang my phone on the scope with a hands free mount and have a circle on ss to match my finder and move a fov-width at a time. It's very rare that I can't find any stars in the RACI finder, so this works really well.

For really faint stuff I shrink the FOV to the size of the ep I'm using. I got most of the way round Markarians chain earlier this year with this technique.

Also- when something is just too faint to see in your conditions, you know you've got the scope looking in the right place and can stop searching and save it for a better night/location.

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This might help too. Especially the bit about cutting little circles to match your optical finder.

 

 

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I’m not sure what your budget is Alan but a Nexus is very flexible.

You’d only need one unit (Nexus II) and a smart phone or tablet to control it. Unless you wanted to use them both at the same time. You would however need encoders on both the Dob and the giro, or a new giro type mount such as AYO mounts, which makes it dearer.

Have a look at Astro Devices website for their kits.

Hope you can resolve it.

 

Edited by Scooot
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You really need a GoTo (or maybe digital setting circles, which is unlikely to be any cheaper) I've tried the Wixey and circles option, and it didn't work for me - not accurate enough.

Swapping the whole thing for a 10" GoTo Dob might be the most economic option.  Or get a 9.25" Celestron GoTo SCT  - slightly smaller,  probably dearer but an advance in compactness and ease of use.

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1 hour ago, R26 oldtimer said:

Azeq6??

That actually might end up being a very good suggestion if you want to juat have one setup. 

If Alan rules out encoders then it would definitely take the weight and would avoid the need for two sets of encoders. Not sure if you can just add the Wi-Fi module and connect to Skysafari, do suspect not, you probably need a Nexus or SkyFi still.

One of the bigger AYO mounts with encoders is another thought as has been suggested already.

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Thanks folks, food for thought and balanced opinions from all.
It has helped confirm my thoughts, sadly all options other Shanes star hop guide (which is great thanks @Moonshane),
re possibly out of budget for now, unless of course I find something used or the work lottery syndicate wins big.

As a Luddite to date, I have found that working hard to find things rewarding, however I am now not finding that so much the case,
is it my brain not coping so well (hope not at 52!)
Or have I just gone past the point of persevering with my light pollution.
Also I am now juggling glasses to see, read star charts and then wear none to observe as well.

Whatever is the case, I do seriously wonder if this Luddite now needs to embrace some technology.
 

Edited by Alan White
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OK the Luddite has gone and had a cuppa to recover from his thought process, felt like I might need a lie down too though.

If I went for digital setting circles as suggested by many and part of my previous thoughts, where do you get them from and fit them to what?
For instance on my OOUK 10" Dob mount?

Also will the Nexus ii for instance talk to a laptop via a local wifi connection?
So I could run Stellarium and see where the scopes going?

Sorry if I sound a divot, just that it's all rather new to me.

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4 minutes ago, Alan White said:

OK the Luddite has gone and had a cuppa to recover from his thought process, felt like I might need a lie down too though.

If I went for digital setting circles as suggested by many and part of my previous thoughts, where do you get them from and fit them to what?
For instance on my OOUK 10" Dob mount?

Also will the Nexus ii for instance talk to a laptop via a local wifi connection?
So I could run Stellarium and see where the scopes going?

Sorry if I sound a divot, just that it's all rather new to me.

Get it direct from Serge at Astro Devices, just email him. He’ll know exactly what you need as he supplied me with the gear for my OO dob. I’m not sure about the laptop because you’ll need to use Sky Safari, although I think thats available via windows now? I don’t know about steliarium but I’d be surprised if you can’t use it.

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The WiFi module is designed to plug in and replace any of the later SynScan hand controllers. So I imagine the AZ-EQ6 would work just fine with it. FLO or Harrisons will no doubt be happy to confirm.

The AZ-EQ5 takes the Skywatcher WiFi module and it can then be controlled from SkySafari on a phone/tablet. Android is definitely OK but there is a question mark over using iPhones, to do with Multi-tasking. You need to run Skywatcher's own app for the actual connection to the WiFi module and control the scope, and then SkySafari actually connects to the Skywatcher app, so they both need to be running at the same time. (I am not sure, but believe some iPhones don't actually multitask, instead putting any background apps to sleep)  So as long as the AZ-EQ6 works the same way it would be great. 

I had previously been finding things manually for decades and was (mostly) happy doing so. Not quite a luddite - I have used a tracking EQ mount (with a 10" newt) for the last 15 years or so, but it wasn't GoTo (older EQ6).  That was up until this year when I got the AZ-EQ5 (and a smaller scope).

And, whisper it very quietly, I am a convert. The whole set up frequently drives me mad when it doesn't all work, but overall the increase in actual observing, as opposed to grovelling on my knees with maps and charts trying to figure out if I am looking in the right place, has been a massive improvement! A bit of a revelation, to be honest.

Reading this back, it all sounds a bit involved, but really it's OK. It's been a bit of a learning experience, but I'm getting there ?

Gordon

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What Gordon said.

Goto is the difference between time wasted looking for  :cussing: against the time well spent looking at.  :biggrin:

Luddites came from an agricultural background where light pollution wasn't a problem and they never left the village. ?

While city people are grateful for street lamps so they can find their dropped eyepieces before somebody steals them. :crybaby2:

Looking for :cussing:is like owning a Ferrari but never leaving the garage because you are always searching for the keys. :cussing:

Planetarium software doesn't need a torch, while holding your out of date star map, upside down, in front of a dewed up mirror.  :blush:

99% [of those who expressed an opinion] preferred looking at :thumbsup: rather than looking for :cussing:[something.]  :wink2:

 

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@Alan White 

Alan - As you can see from my "Kit List" I have a Dob and 2 Alt/Az Mounts with Encoders. I also have both derivatives of Serge's Nexus system. A DSC and a Nexus II. All work with SkySafari.  If you ever wanted to see them in action, daytime or night time, just holler...

Silent easy "Push To" when required (so long as one can see 2 stars to align on). But manual finding is equally possible if one wishes to indulge one's inner Caveman...

Edited by Stargazer McCabe
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You probably have seen my 2 encoder set ups as well which are an AYOII and a Tecnosky Elle. I so much wanted someone to make an encoder set for the Sabre when I had one and even sent Serge a video and we discussed it on the phone. Sadly it was not viable and it seems a shame that the Altair solution does not look like coming to fruition. You would think that a push to set up would be cheaper than GOTO but does not seem to be the case. 

For your OO mount Serge should have something,  if not speak to Gary at wildcard innovations there is a huge long list on his site of mounts they can convert. Remember a Nexus DSC or Argo Navis can be used with more than one scope and you don't have to use add on tablets, PC etc as the units are loaded with as many catalogues as you like. I prefer to use them that way as it cuts down on stuff to take to a dark site and it just works. Observe in silence, minimal power requirements, fast slewing, and due to LP if i can't see a target it is not because I am pointing the scope into the wrong place. 

Worth saving for but yes the suggestions of goto will be cheaper. 

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On 27/11/2018 at 13:37, Moonshane said:

This might help too. Especially the bit about cutting little circles to match your optical finder.

 

 

This is all good advice from Shane, worth a look and following for those who struggle.

The one thing I have done immediate term is add two means of finding.
A RACI 50mm finder and then a Rigel Quickfinder, and wow this made things work better for me.
Made the hops far more attainable, but only when I went of in the correct direction of course!

Two finders used together are far better than one,
now I need a second finder for the Dob as my Refractor has it back.

In reality this was from a darker site, not home; so I may still need some tech to help.
The push to is still most tempting as an addition and when I am struggling.

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As the final step in following @Moonshane advice with a RACI and RDF I have purchased a second RACI for my 10",
so both the 103 Vixen and Dob have dedicated RACI's and Rigels.
When the cloud goes in 2020 I will have another play.

IMG_3375.thumb.JPG.3dbcf1f899373bbd0a73ec29f7a4d4ea.JPG

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