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Thread: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have it?

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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have



    Quote Originally Posted by billp View Post
    I have the AD8 with the setting circle. In my case I bought the setting circle after a month of frustration at not being able to find anything in my metro-Atlanta red-zone driveway.

    The setting circle change the hobby for me. Before buying it, I spent 80%-90% of my time trying to find something and 10%-20% of my time looking at what I found. Now, I spend 10% of my time finding and 90% looking.

    It was the best $189 I've ever spent in terms of enjoyment per dollar.
    Awesome, thanks billp! I'm likely going to make the purchase in the next few days.
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Smonohan View Post
    Any case, it agree with Bryan, Neil, and Gcisko that a go to or even intelli-computer are necessary. However, setting circles might be worth the investment. Not sure as I don't have them but have given serious thought to putting them on mine.

    Clear skies!
    Ok. I am sure Bryan and Raymond understood what I meant in the above quote. Just for those others, I meant that intelli-scope or go to are NOT needed. I do believe the autocorrect gremlins are out to get me.....
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  3. #23
    dschleicher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Smonohan View Post
    Ok. I am sure Bryan and Raymond understood what I meant in the above quote. Just for those others, I meant that intelli-scope or go to are NOT needed. I do believe the autocorrect gremlins are out to get me.....
    I knew what you meant Smonohan -- thanks. Probably the auto-correct gremlins are in cohoots with their brethren in the GoTo systems.
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  4. #24
    dschleicher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Smonohan View Post
    Ok. I am sure Bryan and Raymond understood what I meant in the above quote. Just for those others, I meant that intelli-scope or go to are NOT needed. I do believe the autocorrect gremlins are out to get me.....
    I knew what you meant Smonohan -- thanks. Probably the auto-correct gremlins are in cohoots with their brethren in the GoTo systems.

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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Quote Originally Posted by dschleicher View Post
    Thanks Michael. As I think I mentioned on a previous post, I used to live out your way. I think I have less LP now than I would have had when I was in Berkeley (if I looked up more often back then)... though you can probably make out decently in the hills or a bit east of the Caldecott Tunnel. When I was out there my hobby / way of life was coaching youth baseball (spent much of my time on Willard Jr High School's field), but now my arm is shot and it's time for a different hobby.
    My property backs up onto Tilden Park and I live about 1/2 mile from the Lawrence Hall of Science. I've also spent some time coaching baseball - Menlo Park LL back when I lived in Atherton. It was a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy the scope!
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    One thing I've learned based on my (limited) experience, I think that a goto or intelliscope is more necessary in LESS light pollution. This is based solely on the fact that in my backyard with LP, I can make out several specific stars that I know. From there, star hopping isn't too hard.

    Now, getting out of the LP to a dark sky? I couldn't even do the 2 star alignment on my intelliscope due to it being near impossible to find the star in my finder that I was looking at with my naked eyes! So...many...stars! I did resolve that issue by getting a green laser pointer mounted to my scope. No longer a problem at all!
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Quote Originally Posted by dschleicher View Post
    All -- thanks very much for the helpful replies. I really appreciate that experienced users on this forum are willing to take the time to respond to questions from newbies like myself.

    I will likely proceed with buying the 8" Dob from Apertura, with the pre-installed setting circle. It also includes an 8X50 RACI finder scope.

    I'm keeping in mind that if I really run with this hobby, there may be another telescope or two for me somewhere down the road, and if so there'd be another opportunity to try out a GoTo scope on an equatorial mount.

    P.S. "hobby" almost seems too trivial a word, given the profundity of what's involved, but I'm not sure what other word to use...
    Great choice. And learning the whole setting circle thing will make you a big time observer. I somehow think it may be a lost art. But good luck!
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Excellent choice of scope. Others have provided some really good advice in this thread. Pretty much all I have to add is encouragement. I completed the entire Messier list from a red zone with the AD8 and stock eyepieces without setting circles. I did use SkySafari for iOS, which I find invaluable for star hopping. You can set up the FOV in the app to provide exactly what you'll find in your RACI and each eyepiece. The FOV of the RACI is pretty close to 5.6° and I find it very easy to star hop with. That combined with your setting circles should have you finding things very quickly.

    I would recommend you get the 2x barlow from Apertura while you're at it. It makes collimation much easier with the laser (look up barlowed laser collimation) and really helps on planetary views with the stock eyepieces. I went almost 2 years before getting another eyepiece because I was so pleased with the views the difference combinations give.

    Congrats on your purchase! I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    Yup analog setting circles are just as good as goto and a whole lot easier to use. I made mine using my printer and added a foldable stand with leveling feet. Your AD8 comes with it, good choice.
    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Default Re: Newbie in light-polluted skies: Do I need GoTo even though I'd prefer not to have

    I understand your concern about light-pollution (LP). I live in one of the brightest areas of the country... just two miles south of the Las Vegas strip. While the dark desert is a fairly short distance away, the majority of my viewing time is spent in heavily LP'ed skies.

    See that M70 award above this post? Every one of those was observed and recorded from my "supernova" backyard without a goto scope.

    Now, that I'm wound up, I'll preach a bit about "Urban Astronomy".

    The "Bible" is Rod Mollise's famous book entitled, "The Urban Astronomer's Guide"... Amazon ~ $24. An active member of this forum (rmollise), "Uncle Rod" is the icon of urban astronomy. His book goes into every detail, from simple light shields to sophisticated techniques, in a straight-forward, no "fluff" manner. I highly recommend it... I've re-read it many times and always learn something new.

    Regarding NELM...
    After you get started, you find that it is at times very helpful to evaluate the skies in different directions around your viewing area. Here's a blog I put together that describes a logical, objective manner of quantifying the situation(s). It's not for everyone, but is still "nice to know" information.
    http://www.astronomyforum.net/blogs/...iscussion.html

    Regarding scopes...
    Frankly, you need a GOTO like a hog needs a songbook. There's an old saying that when it comes to DSO hunting, aperture rules and Dobs rule aperture. In light-polluted skies, you need to gather as many photons as possible before you can deal with them. I never recommend anything less than 6" of aperture in a highly LP'ed environment. Sounds crazy, huh?

    The AD8 that you are considering is an excellent scope. With the "Tweaker's Package", come a lot of really nice features that will serve you well. The setting circle and included digital inclinometer will put you on very dim targets quicker than two cats. Star-hopping techniques are easily accomplished if you have stars to see, and the included 8x50 RACI is light-years ahead of any red-dot pointer offered with many other Dobs.

    My bottom line on target acquisition is this... Don't let your ego get in the way of enjoying our hobby. Star hopping is not rocket surgery, but one needs ALL the tools available on-board the scope. If the situation calls for star-hopping, do it. If you can't see enough stars to make even a five degree "jump", then by all means whip the data on an azimuth circle and inclinometer and enjoy the view. When you gain experience, all of the "methods" will come together, and you won't even think about them.

    Sooner or later after getting started with your AD8, you're gonna post a thread about adding eyepieces to your arsenal. While the AD8 comes with two pretty decent eyepieces to get you started, it's natural to want to fill in the gaps. I'll offer the following advice ahead of time... Get 82 degree eyepieces. Why? Two reasons... they cost the same as 68 deg eyepieces of the same brand, and DSO hunting is much easier with a wider True Field of View (TFOV). (We'll help with the "math" later.)

    I'm climbing off my soapbox now. Pull the trigger on the AD8. You'll find David Giles at Opticsmart to be about the nicest guy in the world. Don't hesitate to get him on the phone before or after the sale.

    Clear, Dark Skies
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