GOTO mounts

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GOTO mounts

Postby jonathan turner » Thu May 29, 2014 6:45 am

I find the cost of the Skywatcher Goto upgade kits a rip off.For the EQ5 its £299,since this is "old" technology and the workings are nothing really special,its over valued.
Maybe Skywatcher should drop the price or someone brings onto the market their own kit at a much lower price tag.I can buy the EQ3 PRO at £385 all in which will carry my scope very well.
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby dave.b » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:36 pm

True, but then they are in different market segments. Just look at the cost of a dovetail bar or tube clamps! The trouble is that accessories are in a small diffuse market and therefore demand a higher margin for their low turn over. The cheapest way to get a new mount, or tube, is to buy a packaged telescope, which will certainly be less than the sum of its parts.

Dave B.
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby SkyWatcher17 » Mon May 04, 2015 9:31 pm

If I upgrade my Mak 102 to a 127 one day I would consider a GOTO.
Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M, EQ5 Deluxe, AZ5 Deluxe, SkyMax 102mm, SkyMax 127mm, Orion/SW ST80s (both modified), Vixen Porta II/Vixen SXG Hal-130, Orion 90mm StarMax , Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25", TS Optics/GSO: SVD series 150mm, f/6.
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Supercooper » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:48 am

I'm not a fan of Go-To telescopes. I prefer to be an 'amateur astronomer' rather than a 'telescope user'.

There's nothing wrong with SkyWatcher's pricing - When I was just starting out a 4" Refractor would set you back £1500 minimum - Now you can get a 120mm brilliant refractor from SkyWatcher for £399. That's a whackong drop in actual terms and a very big drop if you take inflation into consideration (I was earning £50 a week in 1980, now I'm on £350... Can afford it in a week - Not a year!).

They are excellent scopes too - Just read the SaN reviews.

I have a guide about Go-To telescopes on my telescope advice site.

Cheers, Barry
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Aratus » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:06 pm

Supercooper wrote:I'm not a fan of Go-To telescopes. I prefer to be an 'amateur astronomer' rather than a 'telescope user'.


It just shows you how different people see things. I bought a 'goto' telescope 11 years ago for exactly the same reason you don't like them. :) Previously I was a 'telescope user' because I spent most of my time using the telescope to find objects! Previous to 2005 I have dozens of log enties of frustration of not being able to find dim objects. The cloud is rolling in or my fingers are rapidly becoming numb with the cold, or simply feeling I was wasting my time. Star hopping etc, works fine for a lot of objects, and I still use it for comets and asteroids etc, but so many objects don't have convenient visible stars nearby. Also, observing Mercury and Venus during the day with a 'goto' is easy and very much safer. Previous to a 'goto' it was fraught with danger, and required a good knowledge of the planet's relative distance and angle to the sun. Very occasionally I managed it, but most times not. In contrast, last year I was able to follow Venus throughout its inferior conjunction with no hassle or danger. Here is an image of Venus taken at inferior conjunction. There is no way I would dare do that manually.
Image

Now instead of using/operating the telescope I can be what an amateur astronomer would like to be - an observer through it!

The issues surrounding 'goto' technology is of course more complicated than that, and I would never say a 'goto' was 'better' or 'essential', but personally, in my situation, no way would I go back to a manual mount. Life is too short, and I have never seen the point of wearing a hair shirt. :D
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Supercooper » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:32 pm

Aratus,
You have pointed out a very good case for the Go-To telescope. Finding objects when it's not dark and keeping your eyepieces (and your eyes) safe from the Sun is an excellent pro-Go-To agrument. I hadn't considered this and I have to admit I would rather have a Go-To on my side than guesswork.

In my defence, I do say, in my guide, that these are useful to the experienced observer - I just don't recommend them to beginners because of setting up and relocation. (Some people have to move their scope around the garden to see what they want to observe - This means setting up again and again.)

Personally, because all the objects I've sought were visible in the finder (ie Mag 10 and brighter) I haven't had too many disappointments using the old steam powered EQ and won't be rushing off to buy a Go-To - But, your point is a bood one and I will alter my stance. :o)

Beautiful picture by the way - Very cool.

Cheers, Barry.
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GOTO mounts

Postby Aratus » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:06 pm

You make your case well, Barry. Setting up a 'goto' can be a tedious task if you have to do it more than once, (although lining up an equatorial on the pole star can have its moments!) I think the biggest downside to a 'goto' is that someone can actually use the telescope without having the slightest idea where an object is in the sky. I have seen some folk align on 2 bright stars, (not knowing their names), and then spend the rest of the session looking through their telescope and never once look up into the sky. Some modern systems don't even require that you find any stars for alignment.

Does that matter? Well, a few years back I tried to give someone advice for finding a comet through binoculars. I started off by telling them to 'find M42' (Dumbbell Nebula). They didn't know where that was. So I said 'Well, start with the constellation "Sagitta".' They didn't know where that was. I tried starting with Delphinus and even Cygnus without any recollection on their faces! On another forum someone once posted the question why didn't their telescope 'goto' the Orion nebula yesterday evening? - in September!!

Am I a grumpy-old-man, or are some people missing out on an important step with today's technology? :cry:

EDIT: Thanks for the comments about the photo. It actually showed me that the telescope was slightly out of collimation. (which I corrected a few days later) It still annoys me a little whenever I see the image because the moment had gone by - but at least it pointed out the problem. The telescope performed significantly better after than :) .
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Supercooper » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:02 pm

Hi,

That's precisely what I was trying to avoid. People not knowing the sky. From what you were saying it wouldn't be impossible for someone to have spent years under the heavens and still not know which one is Polaris!

It also irks me when people say something like, "Saturn is supposed to be really good on the 29th"... Why then? What's wrong with the rest of the month? The planets can be on view for eleven months and become 'comfortable' for viewing in the evening for a few months at a time - Not just on one night!

Education is key, and I don't think the Go-To mount helps the beginner.

Cheers, Barry
Last edited by Supercooper on Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Using fab Helios f8 150mm Achromatic Refractor on SkyWatcher EQ5 - enjoing the views!
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Supercooper » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:04 pm

Aratus wrote: I started off by telling them to 'find M42' (Dumbbell Nebula).


When I was a kid the Dumb-bell was M27 - Must be metric now, eh? (Wink) :D
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Using fab Helios f8 150mm Achromatic Refractor on SkyWatcher EQ5 - enjoing the views!
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Re: GOTO mounts

Postby Aratus » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:58 pm

M42 ! :oops: It must have been a hard day! Either that or my fingers typed out something different from what my brain with telling them:)

I think you are making a couple of different points here. Knowing one's way around the sky is a learning curve. It's one that takes effort and practice. A 'goto', although it makes life easier in the short term, it does run the danger of disconnecting the observer from the sky they are looking at. (I say 'danger' because it all depends on the attitude of the new observer. It is quite possible that someone using a 'goto' from the start will still learn their way around the sky anyway.) In the past you had to learn the constellations and the position of deep sky objects otherwise you never saw anything you wanted to. Today the hobby can be all about operating a telescope rather than engaging with the sky itself. However, I consider that a danger to look out for, not a reason to boycott a 'goto'.

The other point you are making is about accurate reporting and understanding of astronomical events. Of course you are correct, and I can roll off dozens of howlers I've heard over the years. Unfortunately, they are increasingly from science journalists who ought to know better. That's a different topic though.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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