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Poll: GOTO / Push To or Find it yourself ?


Simple question: GOTO / Push To or find it yourself ?  

89 members have voted

  1. 1. As per the thread title. I am interested to see where the balance lies these days.

    • I often / always use a GOTO or Push To system
      61
    • I do not use a GOTO or Push To system.
      28


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As per the poll heading, I am interested where the balance lies these days.

Thanks if you feel able to respond 🙂

I have posted my vote.

Edited by John
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I only use DSCs when I'm trying to track down unfamiliar targets or moving targets like Uranus and Neptune.  Most of the time lately, I've been comparing equipment and experimenting, so I look at mostly showpiece objects that I'm very familiar with.

In my younger days, I spent a lot of time using DSCs to track things down.  Once I knew where they were on the sky, I needed them less and less.  Uranus, Neptune, and comets don't fit that model very well, so I tend to still use DSCs sometimes for them if I'm having difficulty tracking them down.  I was able to find C/2022 E3 (ZTF) several times without DSCs thanks to it being fairly bright, high in the sky, and near bright stars/Mars.

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Good question.  I just got a go-to and I'm still making my mind up about it.   I'm going to cast my vote for the goto as I have been using it more.  I do enjoy and miss the star charts though.

 

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50/50 i think

Grab 'n' Go >> find it. Part of the simple pleasure of GnG and satisfying.

Bigger kit >> 90% DSC/push-to. It's my own fault but RDF's and straight through finders are practically ornaments after alignment. Plus on these nights i want to maximise time on target as it were.

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I've been flying manual since I got the Scopetech Mount Zero, but I do intend to eventually set up my EQ6-R when I have a house and garden in a year or so. I actually made a mistake buying the EQ6-R in my current circumstances (too many flights of stairs, too long to set up etc.). I reckon the AZ version would also have been a better choice even when I do have the space to setup properly. 

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Never used goto. I had considered getting encoders to see what its like, but decided against it, I have done well enough for decades without them. I’ll save my money. 

Edited by Moonlit Knight
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I don’t use any kind of push or goto currently. The new Celestron Starsense packages look really interesting though. I have been thinking about either upgrading to a 10” dob or scavenging the cradles from one of the cheaper refractor packages to fit to my setup.

Edited by IB20
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i started of with a homemade dob, upgraded that with a setting circle and angle gauge, now ive moved it up to a skytee2 on a tripod with a setting circle and same angle gauge, i enjoy the hunt. like the first time i saw the pup and many others. i find that more satisfying than a goto system, but its a case of everyone to their own. so its nudging for me.

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Manual 99% of the time for me. I occasionally use my SkyProdigy for fun. My CG5 only gets used for EAA, not for visual. I have always hankered after a Celestron C8 Evo with Starsense - that could possibly work for me as minimal set up time (no cables, polar alignment, counterweights, etc), but for now my manual setup is fine, especially with my 4” APO. Interesting to see which way the voting is going at the moment.

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Always a manual mount for me, but the poll does not reflect my choice.

I often use no aids, but at times, depending on my mood and conditions I used push to guidance.

So I cannot vote on the above poll, wish I could.

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EQ/AZ manual and/or tracking motors my whole life. Never had a goto mount but have recently acquired an SXD2 with Starbook Ten, so am having a play with goto right now. The SBTEN is an amazing piece of kit and I am still finding out what it can do, yet I still feel more comfortable running the SXD2 via the Starbook One controller just for simple dual axis control. I am very conscious of annoying my neighbours with the constant sound of goto slewing in the dead of night.

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19 minutes ago, Franklin said:

Probably more a reflection on the amount of folk imaging rather than just visual.

As @John is a Visual observer, unless his interest has suddenly changed, think that bias may not be the case in this instance.

But I cannot comment with accuracy as I am not the pollster 

Edited by Alan White
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20 minutes ago, Franklin said:

Probably more a reflection on the amount of folk imaging rather than just visual.

I use goto exclusively - with limited time and light pollution I will take any aid I can to get my scope aligned and find objects - but I would really like the time and the dark skies to learn the night sky. When we have trips away to dark sites (an essential for any holiday booked in the UK), I do enjoy sitting back with a pair of binoculars and just exploring the sky even though I may have a telescope with me.

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I have recently done some research on this matter for an up coming paper I'm presenting.

There is a broad spectrum of observers who range from those who purely enjoy the 'hunt', though to those who hit the 'Next' button on their goto as soon as they have glimpsed the object.

I've found that these preferences broadly match one's overall personality type (eg Myers-Briggs), but are influenced by the observer's 'Goals'. For instance I'm a Myers-Briggs 'INTJ' and my goal is to push my telescope, eye and brain beyond what is conventionally accepted as the visibility limit. So my current need is to spend as much time 'on target' as possible. Knowing I'm 'on target' is important which influences my design of goto. (ie plate-solving for visual use).

When I attended the Texas Star Party, the goal was to finish that year's Advanced Observing Programme (aka Challenge). For this it's 95% about the hunt and goto is frowned upon, plus the objects arent in most catalogues. I really enjoyed doing this. So I'm not fixed either way.

Some observations I have made....

  • Those not using goto, tend to stick to (and enjoy) looking at the classic objects, some call them the 'lollipops'. Part of this seems to be down to often a lack of tracking function which makes finding challenging objects even more challenging.
  • Many goto users have become 'sofa surfers' akin to skipping between channels.
  • Many find the goto doesnt work as advertised. Usually down to poor initial alignment but also some poor mounts. Celestron StarSense is trying to address this market, but comes with its own issues.
  • Experienced observers with observing goals, tend to use what they are familiar with.

Last autumn at a star party I managed to see Planetary Nebula BV 5-3. I would never have seen it without a very good goto. I was chuffed, a few others were also glad to have a look, and a few others couldnt care less! Each to their own!

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@John was this intended as a general, "across the board", question or more aimed at visual ?  I only ask because I think the call for using goto is far more likely to be employed by imagers I think.

I think that the majority of imagers will tend towards goto these days as many use plate solving which goes hand in hand with a goto system. This is certainly the case for myself who generally does AP as often I want a specific framing and rotation (use automatic rotator) if the image I want is nearly filling my FOV, or maybe I am adding to a previous sessions data and again want the framing to be as precise to the original FOV as I can so again platesolving is really just the best way to go. Another call for using platesolvng is that due to my restricted view I may want to image more than one target in a night when the original target goes out of my view and can then just add to the target list in the imaging software. I guess all this automation is maybe a bit lazy compared to how people would have done imaging some years ago, I myself am fairly new to it so seems quite normal.

Any visual I do is really with my very manual Dob and I can understand why so may observers do prefer a manual approach as it is far more interesting and very much part of observing.

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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I'm also going to have to give a non-definitive answer.

I use goto most of the time, even now that I know the sky better. I value it because it speeds up target acquisition and maximises the observations in the available clear spells. If I lived in the Atacama, I might do more hopping. But it's only the pointing function I really need, push-to would do me as well (and I often use the mount that way now).

However, I also value the tracking, in particular because I often share sessions. So overall, it makes sense to have goto+tracking.

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Manual (non-decoder?) "Push To" systems work well. A "few deg" (non-Dob cardboard scale?!?) in Azimuth? 🙂
But e.g. my (and once favourite) "Wixey" type Electronic Level can do a LOT better (<1deg) re. Altitude?
You can than "scan in Azimuth" using the main scope... Or via an intermediate Optical Finder.
You still need some kind of "computer" to calculate instantaneous Alt-Az's tho! 😏

Edited by Macavity
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I always GOTO, except when I am on holiday and have to take a small portable mount with me. 

I do know my way around the sky as regards major stars though, but maybe not by star hopping.  But finding those dim Deep sky objects for imaging I could not do it without a GOTO.  Many imagers use Platesolving which analyses the stars and if you're not in the right place it will send you there, but I never got that to work.  Probably antiquated computer and my lack of IT knowledge.   I find if I align on a nearby bright star and put in the co-ordinates (or catalogue number) it will find it quite easily.

Carole  

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