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Go to or not goto


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Asking around as many places as possible so apologies if seen elsewhere. Had a Capricorn 70mm for about 2 years and enjoying it but mainly moongazing as the eq mount doesn’t always stay on a small target .

looking to upgrade and budget of up to £800 as long as dear wife doesn’t see receipt lol. Lots of Goto scopes around at that price in various guises. However I reckon a goto seems to add about £150 to the price of a half decent scope and I could use that for a cheap camera . I also find searching for a target ( or just looking at something and trying to work out what it was afterwards is part of the fun ( maybe I am just strange) .  Would I be better going for an all singing GOTO because that’s the way the market is going ? 
my current thoughts are to get a Skywatcher AZ5 or EQ 3-2 and either a refractor or a Mak ( depending on what I decide is a priority for viewing)  , camera and better quality eyepieces with the budget.

I also considered the 200 m Dobs in Skywatchers catalogue but worry on 2 points ,

- Could I split it and carry into my shed after viewing ?

- I am over 185 cm (6’ 1 in old money) and wonder if I will be on my knees ,

 

your comments on any of the above greatly welcome .

 

 

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Hi there.

You have mentioned a camera a couple if times. If you intend to do any AP, you will need a mount that tracks the target. Away form the basic budget end, that means a GoTo mount, even if you only want it for the tracking facility.

On your last question, with a full-sized dob, you are best seated. I'm a couple of inches shorter than you but have never had an issue using an old drum stool. The stool doesn't lower far enough if I'm looking at something VERY low near the horizon, but a proper observing chair will. 

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Hello

The Skywatcher Skyliner 200p comes apart if needed for moving. You unscrew the bearing tension screws and lift out the OTA. It can be carried in 2 parts. Personally, for short 5 yard trips from house to patio, I pick it up by those bits and carry it as one. 

As for the height, I'm 6'5 and use a musicians stool for seated observing. You could use a camping chair or adjustable drum stool just as easily. 

Another option - I raised the height of my Dob base by putting it on a water butt stand. 

20210222_200358.thumb.jpg.bf07ea54b797a988d1e69a1fab25f3e2.jpg

Edited by Dark Vader
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I have used several goto mounts over several years.
In my experience the 'ordinary' or 'adds £150' class are better thought of as 'go somewhere in the general direction of'.

They can be good for finding a dim object. Then they will track the object while you find eyepieces, grab a cuppa, etc. - which is the bit I like.
They are not the 'push button and object appears' devices the sales literature would have you believe.

For visual use, you will be fine if you go through the levelling and setup, then use a low power EP after slewing to the target, to allow for tweaking.

If you do want to hang a camera on a scope, a guide is to choose a mount the next size up (or more) from that offered in a package.
I have seen (for example) quite a few people doing photos using HEQ5 size (and upwards) with an 80mm short-ish tube refractor

I'm not anti-goto. But hopefully being realistic.

HTH, David.

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It depends on what exactly you want to do, which is something only you can decide, not us.  You don't need a GoTo to find the moon.  GoTo can be helpful, and a greattime-saver for finding faint non-obvious objects.

2 hours ago, Ceebee58 said:

I also find searching for a target ( or just looking at something and trying to work out what it was afterwards is part of the fun ( maybe I am just strange) .

I know some people enjoy searching for objects manually and 'learning the sky' and 'star-hopping', but I have never seen the point myself. 🙂 Maybe the same people enjoy trying to navigate their cars on British roads without a sat-nav. But each to their own. Do whatever you enjoy. 🙂

You can have a mount that tracks (an equatorial) without going to the lengths of fitting GoTo to it.  A single RA drive motor will suffice.

If you have imaging in mind, you should think in terms of a full GoTo mount, and preferably not one of the cheaper lightweight ones. Should you want to secure, for instance, a live-stacked image of a 12th magnitude planetary nebula, an object more or less invisible or at least un-identifiable through a visual scope of modest size, you will have a dismal time without a GoTo to aim the scope at the right area, secure an image for plate-solving, platesolve and automatically correct the position to centre the PN in the camera, and hold the outfit very steady while a succession of images are taken and super-imposed.

As you move beyond the 'beginner scope' stage it becomes more important to decide what you want to do and buy equipment that best does it, or resign yourself to acquiring an ever-increasing collection of assorted telescopes, mounts and accessories.

 

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There are lots of tips on my site below referring to the 200P, and that includes adding a goto using a phone app and carrying the telescope. I find the Telrad and RACI combination ideal for locating objects. 

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6 hours ago, Dark Vader said:

Hello

The Skywatcher Skyliner 200p comes apart if needed for moving. You unscrew the bearing tension screws and lift out the OTA. It can be carried in 2 parts. Personally, for short 5 yard trips from house to patio, I pick it up by those bits and carry it as one. 

As for the height, I'm 6'5 and use a musicians stool for seated observing. You could use a camping chair or adjustable drum stool just as easily. 

Another option - I raised the height of my Dob base by putting it on a water butt stand. 

20210222_200358.thumb.jpg.bf07ea54b797a988d1e69a1fab25f3e2.jpg

Just a question on your Dob. Do you use it outside of your house or do you transport it in the car to go to less light polluted areas? Asking because I am looking at the Dob and I live in a light polluted area and I don’t have a garden or a useable back yard (too much light from house lights and motion sensitive cameras and the back street lights).

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I use it mainly in the garden but have transported it in the car to a society outreach session. The base fits in the boot and the OTA fits nicely across the back seat. I have an estate car. If you have to carry it up or down stairs and drive a smaller car, you may have issues.

I do have to contend with "security" and street lighting from my garden. I'm in a Bortle 6/7 suburban area, and have found that for planetary and lunar observation especially, house lights are not that much of a problem. 

They are quite big - I knew it was going to be big but it still surprised me when I put it together - and as long as storage and transport is doable they are very good scopes.

Andy

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9 hours ago, Dark Vader said:

I use it mainly in the garden but have transported it in the car to a society outreach session. The base fits in the boot and the OTA fits nicely across the back seat. I have an estate car. If you have to carry it up or down stairs and drive a smaller car, you may have issues.

I do have to contend with "security" and street lighting from my garden. I'm in a Bortle 6/7 suburban area, and have found that for planetary and lunar observation especially, house lights are not that much of a problem. 

They are quite big - I knew it was going to be big but it still surprised me when I put it together - and as long as storage and transport is doable they are very good scopes.

Andy

Hi Andy, currently that’s my issue, up and down stairs, I live in a flat about my clinic so the only options I have are viewing in the attack though my velux window or transporting it each time to a venue. Not sure which reflector model matches up with your Dob, I will have to do more research. 

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Viewing through open windows is really not recommended. It's way better to get the scope outside. The Skywatcher 200P Dob is a large, heavy beast and it will likely become a chore if you have to do stairs to use it. It sounds as though you'll be better off with something a bit more portable.

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2 hours ago, JAG007 said:

Hi Andy, currently that’s my issue, up and down stairs, I live in a flat about my clinic so the only options I have are viewing in the attack though my velux window or transporting it each time to a venue. Not sure which reflector model matches up with your Dob, I will have to do more research. 

The problem with viewing through the window is that the optics will be at room temperature rather than at the cool outside  temperature so may suffer from thermal issues, if the window is open.  Viewing through a closed glass window is not recommended.

The subject of goto has been debated on this and other forums for decades.  It's a tool.  It can help locate targets and help teach you the night sky.  Others think it's a costly cheat and navigation via star hopping should be the only way to use a scope.  It depends on your view point and if you are more likely to get frustrated spending hours trying to find targets rather then be placed in the ball park area and able to find the target in a wide field of view eyepiece.  Naturally these goto systems as several hundreds of pounds to the price of a non-goto version of the same scope. - The choice in every case is a personal one, based on finances, how you want to locate targets, and your patience span. 

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After some discusssion with FLO and considering what I want to do (wide field) I have settled on a Startravel 120 on an AZ Goto mount with a low end ZWO camera. Arriving today hopefully.  Upgraded the RDF . Hopefully there is a good night viewing on the 4th according to clear outside , maybe even a chance tomorroe night.

I am sure I will be back with more questions , thanks for the inputs.

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12 minutes ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I'm curious to know what mount.  At 6Kg the Startravel falls into a gap between cheap but inadequate GoTo mounts and adequate but very expensive alt-az GoTo mounts.

I think it's rated at 4.1 kg so something like the AZ GTI would be suitable.

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