Date   

Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

Dean S
 

I have the Gemini on my MI-250 that I bought while on the long wait for a AP900 a couple years ago and have decided to keep at this point. I use an external gps that plugs into the Gemini at start up, and automatically sets the time and location. Handy and easy to get the right time, but I still have to know my UT offset.

For a mount (permanent)that does not have an internal clock, like my LX200gps scopes, having the gps get the time is great for the accuracy and will get my first star on the chip most times from a parked position. My Gemini has a built in clock and I only use the GPS if I have moved to a new location and again mainly for the time as location really doesn't matter that much if you are polar aligned correctly.

So for me the GPS is mainly for time during the first set up, then the internal clock keeps time well enough that I my gotos are accurate the next time I start up from park.

Do the AP mounts have internal clocks? That would be important to me.

And cost is an issue like Joe said, when I upgrade to a 1200 I hope not to have to mortgage my house :)

And I really like the idea of an OnStar like button directly to Roland's cell phone :))


Dean
(future owner)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@rogers.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2007 9:54 AM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount


Hi Marj,

Please ignore my previous, obviously confused reply. I was too tired to think straight. Of course, I was confusing "calculating" local sidereal time - not setting up the UT entry. Without a computer, LST does require knowing one's precise longitude within a time zone, and GPS would be an occasionally used asset. However, GPS coordinates can just as easily be obtained clicking on Google Maps, for the intended destination observing site.

I have considered GPS, but the portable one's are getting so cheap in the local electronics store, that I wouldn't want to waste money and firmware space for such a trivial item on-board. Even my digital Kodak DCS PRO SLR/n camera has an option for a GPS module inside. If you fish, you might already own a GPS based fish finder, which can be used for mount data setup as well. I don't know if it is possible yet, since I don't own one, but cell phones should be able to display GPS coordinates. New units are required, by the authorities, to have GPS capability. If not displayable, then placing a call to a GPS capable site, should be able to text you back (or by automated voice), the coordinates where you are calling from - perhaps that could be made a "geocities or Yahoo" capability. It would be nice to use the cell phone for GPS info at setup - which in most cases, for a new observing site, would only be a one time requirement anyway. Then again, a car's GPS navigator would suffice as well, with dual use - if you don't trek too far through the woods, from where you parked. Or, press your ON_STAR button, if you are already paying for that service, and ask the operator: "Where the heck am I ?"

However, in the end, I have found that before a trip, I can Google Map zoom down - even to the nearest tree - and use those GPS coordinates when I get there.

There may be more desirable improvements, like USB, and "nice-to-haves" like a power on/off switch, perhaps a nice compact "AP embossed" roto moulded travel case, mount levelling bubbles, (or getting rid of that redundant North-South switch on the panel). An on-going "improvements suggestions" file on this group, might be useful.

Otherwise, there isn't much else to improve on such a fine instrument like my AP900. You also have to be cost conscious - too many add-ons, and the mount will be even less attainable in most amateur's lifetimes.

Cheers,
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@rogers.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 8:28 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount


Hi Marj,

Just one question about "time precision". I think the GPS unit might give you the EXACT time at your precise location - give or take 10 metres I believe, for the non-military GPS. If so, the GPS time won't be in agreement with your usual "Time Zone" which is one hour wide. If your observing site is right in the middle of a time zone, then they agree, but if you set up +/- 30, minutes away from the centre of the zone, doesn't the GPS give you that exact time, rather than the time zone standard time? So, while the UT is always correct, the rest of the world is on a one hour wide approximation of actual time. There are only 2 correct time references - GPS time, and the Right Ascension of the star overhead - both are accurate for the site geographic Longitude.

In the olden days, B.C. (before high speed electronic confusers), we would calculate time for the geographic spot, with a lot more care, perhaps. It would be interesting to compare the time displayed by a GPS unit and the observer's local time. Then again, the GPS works only in UT, so site coordinates are irrelevant, for this.

Consider this. An AP mount owner goes out and has to enter the GMT into the controller. Not having a GPS unit, he looks at his wrist watch, adds or subtracts his Time Zone correction, and declares this to be the exact UT. However, he may be +/- 30 minutes away from the centre of the zone, so the setup is way out.

The question here is whether we are supposed to add the time zone Latitude delta ourselves, or does the AP's GTOCP3 controller look at the observer's site coordinates and compensates for the "site's longitude difference" for us? I don't think this is stated anywhere in the manual. I suspect that the GTOCP3 does not compensate, so the GPS based UT would be exact, even 30 minutes different from the standard non-GPS based mount setup.

Marj, at the very least, the AP firmware should make the corrections for the user entered time zone based, UT. It's such a hassle to pencil in the local time zone delta, to the wrist watch based time. That's where the GPS would be valuable.

But ... I don't know if all that exactitude really matters, in most cases.

Joe



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Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Marj,

Please ignore my previous, obviously confused reply. I was too tired to
think straight. Of course, I was confusing "calculating" local sidereal time -
not setting up the UT entry. Without a computer, LST does require knowing
one's precise longitude within a time zone, and GPS would be an occasionally
used asset. However, GPS coordinates can just as easily be obtained clicking
on Google Maps, for the intended destination observing site.

I have considered GPS, but the portable one's are getting so cheap in the
local electronics store, that I wouldn't want to waste money and firmware
space for such a trivial item on-board. Even my digital Kodak DCS PRO SLR/n
camera has an option for a GPS module inside. If you fish, you might already
own a GPS based fish finder, which can be used for mount data setup as well. I
don't know if it is possible yet, since I don't own one, but cell phones
should be able to display GPS coordinates. New units are required, by the
authorities, to have GPS capability. If not displayable, then placing a call
to a GPS capable site, should be able to text you back (or by automated
voice), the coordinates where you are calling from - perhaps that could be
made a "geocities or Yahoo" capability. It would be nice to use the cell phone
for GPS info at setup - which in most cases, for a new observing site, would
only be a one time requirement anyway. Then again, a car's GPS navigator
would suffice as well, with dual use - if you don't trek too far through the
woods, from where you parked. Or, press your ON_STAR button, if you are
already paying for that service, and ask the operator: "Where the heck am I ?"

However, in the end, I have found that before a trip, I can Google Map
zoom down - even to the nearest tree - and use those GPS coordinates when I
get there.

There may be more desirable improvements, like USB, and "nice-to-haves"
like a power on/off switch, perhaps a nice compact "AP embossed" roto moulded
travel case, mount levelling bubbles, (or getting rid of that redundant
North-South switch on the panel). An on-going "improvements suggestions" file
on this group, might be useful.

Otherwise, there isn't much else to improve on such a fine instrument like
my AP900. You also have to be cost conscious - too many add-ons, and the mount
will be even less attainable in most amateur's lifetimes.

Cheers,
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@rogers.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 8:28 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount


Hi Marj,

Just one question about "time precision". I think the GPS unit might give
you the EXACT time at your precise location - give or take 10 metres I
believe, for the non-military GPS. If so, the GPS time won't be in agreement
with your usual "Time Zone" which is one hour wide. If your observing site
is right in the middle of a time zone, then they agree, but if you set up
+/- 30, minutes away from the centre of the zone, doesn't the GPS give you
that exact time, rather than the time zone standard time? So, while the UT
is always correct, the rest of the world is on a one hour wide approximation
of actual time. There are only 2 correct time references - GPS time, and the
Right Ascension of the star overhead - both are accurate for the site
geographic Longitude.

In the olden days, B.C. (before high speed electronic confusers), we
would calculate time for the geographic spot, with a lot more care, perhaps.
It would be interesting to compare the time displayed by a GPS unit and the
observer's local time. Then again, the GPS works only in UT, so site
coordinates are irrelevant, for this.

Consider this. An AP mount owner goes out and has to enter the GMT into
the controller. Not having a GPS unit, he looks at his wrist watch, adds or
subtracts his Time Zone correction, and declares this to be the exact UT.
However, he may be +/- 30 minutes away from the centre of the zone, so the
setup is way out.

The question here is whether we are supposed to add the time zone
Latitude delta ourselves, or does the AP's GTOCP3 controller look at the
observer's site coordinates and compensates for the "site's longitude
difference" for us? I don't think this is stated anywhere in the manual. I
suspect that the GTOCP3 does not compensate, so the GPS based UT would be
exact, even 30 minutes different from the standard non-GPS based mount
setup.

Marj, at the very least, the AP firmware should make the corrections for
the user entered time zone based, UT. It's such a hassle to pencil in the
local time zone delta, to the wrist watch based time. That's where the GPS
would be valuable.

But ... I don't know if all that exactitude really matters, in most
cases.

Joe


First images with AP1200 GTO

bcoote37
 

Hi All
As the proud owner of a new/second hand AP1200 GTO and a clear night I just had to try it out.
Nothing too challenging. Living in Australia there is really only one choice, the eternal magnet Eta Carinae.
Living in the bush this is actually the first AP mount of any type I have seen.
I was a little suprised in that is wasn't quite as petite as I had imagined from the illustrations and images I have seen

I am trying to implement lessons from Adam Block's DVD tutorials and have made a 3 image htm with images of Ha-HaRGB, straight RGB & straight Ha.
These show some halos around the stars in colour but at least I am not clipping the data (much) any more.
This is at:-
http://www.bcoote-astro.com/eta_tri_panel.htm

If you are on dial-up this is a rather large load and you would probably be better to skip it.

Any comments or suggestions welcome
Brian Coote


http://www.bcoote-astro.com/default.htm


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

elraeburn <eraeburn@...>
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Marj" <marj@...> wrote:

I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every
other month or so........

How about just adding one of the handheld units, that Paul referred
to, to the AP catalog?

-Eric




Marj Christen
Astro-Physics, Inc
11250 Forest Hills Road
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone: 815-282-1513
Fax: 815-282-9847
www.astro-physics.com
Please include this e-mail with your response.

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com]On
Behalf Of Paul Sterngold
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 10:16 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount



As I see it, the key benefit for GPS is obtaining accurate location
and time info when setting up in the field. But this can be done with
a handheld unit, which offers more versatility than a dedicated unit
attached to my mount. The only benefit to the dedicated unit is that
it directly uploads this info to the mount, as opposed to the few
seconds it takes me to act as the interface device and manually enter
the information into the mount's handbox. All things considered, I do
not believe that GPS is a significant selling point for an AP mount.
Your mounts are typically used by more knowledgeable astronomers and
astroimagers, versus, for instance, Meade and Celestron mounts that
are often used by newbies. For them, simplicity and turnkey operation
is probably more important. Just my $0.02 worth.

As others have suggested, there are other areas to invest R&D
dollars that offer true benefits to your users. I think the ideas
already suggested- USB and Bluetooth- would be excellent new features.

Cheers,
Paul Sterngold


ayiomamitis < ayiomami@otenet. <mailto:ayiomami%40otenet.gr> gr> wrote:
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups. <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> com,
"nfoldager" <nf@> wrote:


I don't care about GPS on the mount. However, Rolando, listening to
ones wife ...
Me too. GPS is not an issue for me ... but an added expense and one
more thing to go wroung.


Best regards,

Niels Foldager
Denmark

P.S. I do, however, use a handheld GPS as an acurate clock input
for my
laptop when tracking satellites.
Exactly. If I need GPS, I can pick up a unit from eBay brand new and
quite cheap.

Anthony.

---------------------------------
Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with
Yahoo! FareChase.











Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

woodworkjkt <woodworkt@...>
 

Steve may be right on modeling being better left to a laptop, as much
as I hate to admit it. Still, I have to wonder if there are others
like myself in the DSLR crowd who want to cling to the illusion that
we may someday be able to do useful imaging sans-laptop once in a
while... and on-board modeling is a little piece of that illusion.
(Just like I keep hoping someone will release a compact, light, truly
self-contained autoguider with fewer boxes and cables than previous
generations.) Of course, as Steve points out there are plenty of
other options, if the tradeoffs are too bad.

--Ken T.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Reilly" <sreilly@...> wrote:

I have to agree with Bill here. There are way too many times when
people
ask for features that are of little use but because the inferior
mounts have
them they are expecting them in the best mounts. It matters very
little how
little difference these gadgets actually do because these same
people do not
understand the mechanics of the mount. These same companies that produce
these mounts would be doing their customers a better service by
improving
their mounts mechanically than adding more electronics likely to cause
issues we don't need or want to deal with. I honestly think that these
companies add these catchy devices to give an impression of added
value when
in all reality they offer no improvement in mechanical ability. But
they do
know where they are! Sorta like having motorized collimation. Can you
imagine the nightmares when they go?



Let's keep the AP mount mechanically excellent as they are and leave the
toys out. Marj, AP can't honestly be having a decline in sales due
to these
type of questions can they? If people want GPS, offer a line of hand
held
units they can carry to the site and input the data. If this doesn't
satisfy
then can they really appreciate the value of an AP mount? I have to
say that
the same goes for modeling as well. If someone is imaging, they
already have
a computer available to use and there are several excellent
softwares out
that can model your mount. If they are doing visual, unless they are at
extreme high powers, how accurate do they need? The less that can go
wrong
the better.



Just due to the excellent reputation and quality of AP products, their
future should remain bright for as long as they could want. They are
a class
in themselves.



Steve





From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of
William R. Mattil
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 7:29 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount



Marj wrote:
Dear Paul,

I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every
other
month or so........




Hi Marj,

I suspect that it has to do with the new runs of mounts being delivered
to those having had "other" mounts that either had GPS or allowed a
connection to one. And they then perceive the lack of GPS as a
detriment. Completely untrue mind you. But it's human nature.

An AP mount doesn't need GPS. my $.02

Regards

Bill

--

William R. Mattil : http://www.celestial-images.com







Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

Steve Reilly <sreilly@...>
 

Another issue no one has addressed is the additional cost for the extra
"Fluff". Personally, I'd prefer to pay for a good mount as it is and not
have to pay extra for those things I don't need and will be subject to fail
in the future. If there is an improvement to what an excellent mount should
do, great, by all means it should be on these excellent mounts. I really
don't want my AP mount to emulate anything Celestron or Meade makes!



Steve







From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
chris1011@aol.com
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2007 6:28 PM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount



In a message dated 6/15/2007 6:30:18 PM Central Daylight Time,
wrmattil@ix.netcom.com <mailto:wrmattil%40ix.netcom.com> writes:

Marj wrote:
Dear Paul,

I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every other
month or so........
Hi Marj,
I suspect that it has to do with the new runs of mounts being delivered
to those having had "other" mounts that either had GPS or allowed a
connection to one. And they then perceive the lack of GPS as a
detriment. Completely untrue mind you. But it's human nature.
An AP mount doesn't need GPS. my $.02

Regards

Bill
The new people who are buying a GEM for the first time do not realize that
the reason for GPS in their previous mounts was to allow them to calculate
tracking rates - because their previous mounts were most likely Alt-Az
forks. As
such, they cannot work properly without GPS because their tracking rate is
variable and entirely dependent on their location on the earth. By contrast,
a GEM
has a fixed tracking rate, sidereal, and this is the same everywhere on the
earth.

Rolando

**************************************
See what's free at http://www.aol.com.


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Marj,

Just one question about "time precision". I think the GPS unit might give
you the EXACT time at your precise location - give or take 10 metres I
believe, for the non-military GPS. If so, the GPS time won't be in agreement
with your usual "Time Zone" which is one hour wide. If your observing site is
right in the middle of a time zone, then they agree, but if you set up +/- 30,
minutes away from the centre of the zone, doesn't the GPS give you that exact
time, rather than the time zone standard time? So, while the UT is always
correct, the rest of the world is on a one hour wide approximation of actual
time. There are only 2 correct time references - GPS time, and the Right
Ascension of the star overhead - both are accurate for the site geographic
Longitude.

In the olden days, B.C. (before high speed electronic confusers), we
would calculate time for the geographic spot, with a lot more care, perhaps.
It would be interesting to compare the time displayed by a GPS unit and the
observer's local time. Then again, the GPS works only in UT, so site
coordinates are irrelevant, for this.

Consider this. An AP mount owner goes out and has to enter the GMT into
the controller. Not having a GPS unit, he looks at his wrist watch, adds or
subtracts his Time Zone correction, and declares this to be the exact UT.
However, he may be +/- 30 minutes away from the centre of the zone, so the
setup is way out.

The question here is whether we are supposed to add the time zone Latitude
delta ourselves, or does the AP's GTOCP3 controller look at the observer's
site coordinates and compensates for the "site's longitude difference" for us?
I don't think this is stated anywhere in the manual. I suspect that the GTOCP3
does not compensate, so the GPS based UT would be exact, even 30 minutes
different from the standard non-GPS based mount setup.

Marj, at the very least, the AP firmware should make the corrections for
the user entered time zone based, UT. It's such a hassle to pencil in the
local time zone delta, to the wrist watch based time. That's where the GPS
would be valuable.

But ... I don't know if all that exactitude really matters, in most cases.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marj" <marj@astro-physics.com>
To: <ap-gto@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 7:12 PM
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount


Dear Paul,

I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every other
month or so........


Marj Christen
Astro-Physics, Inc
11250 Forest Hills Road
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone: 815-282-1513
Fax: 815-282-9847
www.astro-physics.com
Please include this e-mail with your response.

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
Paul Sterngold
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 10:16 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount



As I see it, the key benefit for GPS is obtaining accurate location and time
info when setting up in the field. But this can be done with a handheld
unit, which offers more versatility than a dedicated unit attached to my
mount. The only benefit to the dedicated unit is that it directly uploads
this info to the mount, as opposed to the few seconds it takes me to act as
the interface device and manually enter the information into the mount's
handbox. All things considered, I do not believe that GPS is a significant
selling point for an AP mount. Your mounts are typically used by more
knowledgeable astronomers and astroimagers, versus, for instance, Meade and
Celestron mounts that are often used by newbies. For them, simplicity and
turnkey operation is probably more important. Just my $0.02 worth.

As others have suggested, there are other areas to invest R&D dollars that
offer true benefits to your users. I think the ideas already suggested- USB
and Bluetooth- would be excellent new features.

Cheers,
Paul Sterngold


ayiomamitis < ayiomami@otenet. <mailto:ayiomami%40otenet.gr> gr> wrote:
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups. <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> com,
"nfoldager" <nf@...> wrote:


I don't care about GPS on the mount. However, Rolando, listening to
ones wife ...
Me too. GPS is not an issue for me ... but an added expense and one
more thing to go wroung.


Best regards,

Niels Foldager
Denmark

P.S. I do, however, use a handheld GPS as an acurate clock input for my
laptop when tracking satellites.
Exactly. If I need GPS, I can pick up a unit from eBay brand new and
quite cheap.

Anthony.

---------------------------------
Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with Yahoo!
FareChase.













To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto
Yahoo! Groups Links




Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

William R. Mattil <wrmattil@...>
 

Marj wrote:
Dear Paul,
I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every other month or so........


Hi Marj,

I suspect that it has to do with the new runs of mounts being delivered to those having had "other" mounts that either had GPS or allowed a connection to one. And they then perceive the lack of GPS as a detriment. Completely untrue mind you. But it's human nature.

An AP mount doesn't need GPS. my $.02


Regards

Bill

--

William R. Mattil : http://www.celestial-images.com


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

 

Dear Paul,

I agree, but the GPS question keeps coming up in this group every other month or so........


Marj Christen
Astro-Physics, Inc
11250 Forest Hills Road
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone: 815-282-1513
Fax: 815-282-9847
www.astro-physics.com
Please include this e-mail with your response.

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Paul Sterngold
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 10:16 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount



As I see it, the key benefit for GPS is obtaining accurate location and time info when setting up in the field. But this can be done with a handheld unit, which offers more versatility than a dedicated unit attached to my mount. The only benefit to the dedicated unit is that it directly uploads this info to the mount, as opposed to the few seconds it takes me to act as the interface device and manually enter the information into the mount's handbox. All things considered, I do not believe that GPS is a significant selling point for an AP mount. Your mounts are typically used by more knowledgeable astronomers and astroimagers, versus, for instance, Meade and Celestron mounts that are often used by newbies. For them, simplicity and turnkey operation is probably more important. Just my $0.02 worth.

As others have suggested, there are other areas to invest R&D dollars that offer true benefits to your users. I think the ideas already suggested- USB and Bluetooth- would be excellent new features.

Cheers,
Paul Sterngold


ayiomamitis < ayiomami@otenet. <mailto:ayiomami%40otenet.gr> gr> wrote:
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups. <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> com, "nfoldager" <nf@...> wrote:


I don't care about GPS on the mount. However, Rolando, listening to
ones wife ...
Me too. GPS is not an issue for me ... but an added expense and one
more thing to go wroung.


Best regards,

Niels Foldager
Denmark

P.S. I do, however, use a handheld GPS as an acurate clock input for my
laptop when tracking satellites.
Exactly. If I need GPS, I can pick up a unit from eBay brand new and
quite cheap.

Anthony.

---------------------------------
Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with Yahoo! FareChase.


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

masterson_harold <hfm5022@...>
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "roundycat" <den22har@...> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

Hello All,

So what exactly does GPS offer to a GEM (it won't help you to polar
align)?
Any thoughts from the advanced users out there?

Rolando

If I go on the road I will use the GPS in my car. In my observatory
I
think GPS is just a bit unnecessary. 'Nuff said!

Dennis
I agree with Rick, sooner or later you will need to address replacing
the serial connection. Today you can buy a basic GPS receiver which
includes display, case, control buttons etc. for about $130.00. When
you do the engineering to redesign the serial interface you could look
at the delta cost in parts to embed GPS capability. You may find that
it is very small. It could be a selling point even if the benefit is
limited.


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

woodworkjkt <woodworkt@...>
 

Well, I'm brand new to this group, having just moved from a previous
Gemini based system to an AP900. However, I can say that my one and
only trepidation in making the switch had nothing to do with GPS, but
rather the absence of an on-board alignment modeling program a la
T-Point or Gemini's equivalent. It certainly wasn't enough to keep me
with a Gemini based product, and this isn't intended to be a complaint
of any sort, but if you're looking for feedback from customers who
have used or considered "alternative options," I'd say that's a much
bigger deal than GPS.

In contrast, GPS seems more gimmicky than something really useful.
Frankly, I used to use a handheld GPS for geocoords (and time check)
with my Gemini, but never even found it worth my time to order the
relatively inexpensive cable I could have used to hook the two
together. That should say something. Moreover, the fact that I can
store multiple locations in the AP900's memory (e.g., our club's
various dark sites), and then just pick them based on which one I am
at, beats the heck out of trying to synch up with GPS every time.

On the USB discussion, I do have a suspicion that before too long, all
the manufacturers in this industry will have to go USB vs. RS-232
serial. You can't find a laptop any more with a built in serial port,
and who knows how many years are left before people will stop making
quality USB to RS232 adapters (or equally important, reliable software
drivers for our ever evolving operating systems). Like many of AP's
customers, I purchased from AP because I was willing to make a
substantial investment in a mount that I have confidence will last far
longer than any computer I own. From that perspective, I think it
does make sense to consider what sort of computer people are going to
want to use with the mount 5 or 10 years down the road, and what sort
of interfaces that computer is likely to have available.

Again, my new 900 is a fantastic product, so please don't take any of
that as criticism of it (especially from a newbie)... but since you're
discussing possible tweaks for future versions, I thought I'd go ahead
and add this.

--Ken T.

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

Hello All,

Marj informs me that our main competitor has now offered a GPS for
the Gemini
GoTo system. I realize that GPS is vital for Alt-Az mountings, since
tracking
rate of any object in the sky is variable and directly affected by your
location on earth. However, since the tracking rate of a polar
aligned GEM is
always fixed at sidereal, I question the need for this added
complication to the
system (another thing to go wrong out in the field). Myself, I think
of it like
having anti-lock brakes on a speedboat, however Marj is totally
convinced that
we will need this vital bit of technology in order to not be left
behind by
the competition.

So what exactly does GPS offer to a GEM (it won't help you to polar
align)?
Any thoughts from the advanced users out there?

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


One more widefield emission line image from baader filters

Richard Crisp <rdcrisp@...>
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 8:37:44 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


Excellent news Rolando. I knew you sold a lot of Baader products
so
that tells me that they have to be top notch.

I wasn't aware you are selling the filters but you just can't
beat
the bang for the buck.
I just got the complete set in. The 7nm H-alpha was the first
prototype.
Production units will follow soon. I took some images with the set
last night H-a,
O3 and S2. Baader also has a narrow band H-beta as well as other
wavelengths.

I also received one of the Hbeta filters recently and the wider
Halpha too. testing time is precious right now, but it is on my short
list.

Here is another new widefield image from wed night using the same set
and 150mm lens on the IMG6303 and AP1200GTO


http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/sharpless_2155_p150_6303_baader_s2hao
3_page.htm

and a map

http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/cave_map_page.htm

the object IDs are being worked now...


OT: Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the 1200...

Richard Crisp <rdcrisp@...>
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "ayiomamitis" <ayiomami@...> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Crisp" <rdcrisp@> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 5:00:59 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@ writes:

Excellent news Rolando. I knew you sold a lot of Baader products
so
that tells me that they have to be top notch.

I wasn't aware you are selling the filters but you just can't
beat
the bang for the buck.
This is very true Richard! Baader offers great quality at a very
good
price. It is about time they introduced a (complete?) narrowband
line.

Now if they can do something similar in Infra-Red. I remember Don
Goldman's article in S&T surrounding his IR set for nearly
$1000 ... I
sprayed the coke all over the computer screen.

Filters are the smaller problem in infrared in my opinion. The bigger
one is sensor technology. and depending on the wavelengths of
interest, having a transmission "window" through the atmosphere is
also important. none of us are likely to be using scopes in space....

The KAf sensors have some sensitivity in IR but they have RBI issues
(residual bulk image) and may show MTF degradation due to thermal
diffusion of carriers created in the field-free regions outside the
depletion region.

many people that don't understand semiconductor device physics
incorrectly diagnose the MTF issues as optical issues but they are
different. Here's an example of what I am discussing:

http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/field_free_a_page.htm

and here's a bit on RBI:
http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/rbi_page.htm

and how it happens:
www.narrowbandimaging.com/images/residual_bulk_image_traps.jpg


The pricing you mentioned is very high. But when you aren't a
manufacturer and outsource the design and manufacturing it is hard to
be price competitive with those that can do it all in-house.

now that the market has been demonstrated, it is attracting actual
manufacturers. Nature abhors a vacuum and we all benefit from the
competition.


Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the ...

ayiomamitis
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 8:37:44 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


Excellent news Rolando. I knew you sold a lot of Baader products so
that tells me that they have to be top notch.

I wasn't aware you are selling the filters but you just can't beat
the bang for the buck.
Rolando,

I just got the complete set in. The 7nm H-alpha was the first
prototype.
Production units will follow soon. I took some images with the set
last night H-a,
O3 and S2. Baader also has a narrow band H-beta as well as other
wavelengths.
This is awesome. Can you please confirm or deny (:-) ) about these
three being 7nm, 8nm and 8 nm respectively? Also, what is the
bandwidth on the prototype h-beta? Finally, do you have a possible
price range?

Thanks for the great news surrounding these filters.

Anthony.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the 1200...

 

Dear Anthony,

These are new items for us and are not on the website yet. It will be one of our next projects.


Marj Christen
Astro-Physics, Inc
11250 Forest Hills Road
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone: 815-282-1513
Fax: 815-282-9847
www.astro-physics.com
Please include this e-mail with your response.

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of ayiomamitis
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 5:59 AM
To: ap-gto@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the 1200...



--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups. <mailto:ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com> com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 5:00:59 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


these two recent images were taken using a medium format pentax 150mm
takumar lens, FLI DF2 focuser, FLI CFW1 Filter wheel and the FLI
IMG6303E camera. Filters were the new Baader Planetarium [SII]/Halpha
and [OIII] filters. Since Baader is the actual maker of these filters
instead of being a middleman, he is able to significantly undercut
the pricing of others and still ship a no-excuses product.
Rolando,

I just attached my 2" Baader narrow band set into the STL11K camera
filter
wheel today. If it's clear tonight or tomorrow, I will be shooting
with these
filters also. What's nice about these is that they are parfocal with
my other
SBIG filters, which is not the case with another brand H-a filter
that I was
using before.
Thanks to you and Richard for this thread! Can I trouble you for
further details in relation to the Baader narrow-band filters? I
checked the AP website and I am not sure I see everything.

I need 1.25" narrowband filters for my CFW10 ... more specifically,
H-a, SII and OIII.

I am delighted to see them being parfocal to the SBIG filters. This is
excellent!

I read a message the other day on the SBIG Yahoo list with very good
comments about the Baader 7nm filter. So much so that I would like to
pursue the Baader line IF it is complete (H-a, SII and OIII).


I also want to mention that Astro-Physics does sell these filters as
well as
other Baader products.
Can you please ensure the AP webpage is completely up-to-date?

Thanks.

Anthony.


Rolando


**************************************
See what's free tat
http://www.aol. <http://www.aol.com.> com.




Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

Paul Sterngold <psterngold@...>
 

As I see it, the key benefit for GPS is obtaining accurate location and time info when setting up in the field. But this can be done with a handheld unit, which offers more versatility than a dedicated unit attached to my mount. The only benefit to the dedicated unit is that it directly uploads this info to the mount, as opposed to the few seconds it takes me to act as the interface device and manually enter the information into the mount's handbox. All things considered, I do not believe that GPS is a significant selling point for an AP mount. Your mounts are typically used by more knowledgeable astronomers and astroimagers, versus, for instance, Meade and Celestron mounts that are often used by newbies. For them, simplicity and turnkey operation is probably more important. Just my $0.02 worth.

As others have suggested, there are other areas to invest R&D dollars that offer true benefits to your users. I think the ideas already suggested- USB and Bluetooth- would be excellent new features.

Cheers,
Paul Sterngold


ayiomamitis <ayiomami@otenet.gr> wrote:
--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "nfoldager" <nf@...> wrote:


I don't care about GPS on the mount. However, Rolando, listening to
ones wife ...
Me too. GPS is not an issue for me ... but an added expense and one
more thing to go wroung.


Best regards,

Niels Foldager
Denmark

P.S. I do, however, use a handheld GPS as an acurate clock input for my
laptop when tracking satellites.
Exactly. If I need GPS, I can pick up a unit from eBay brand new and
quite cheap.

Anthony.






---------------------------------
Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with Yahoo! FareChase.


Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the ...

Roland Christen
 

In a message dated 6/14/2007 8:37:44 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@earthlink.net writes:


Excellent news Rolando. I knew you sold a lot of Baader products so
that tells me that they have to be top notch.

I wasn't aware you are selling the filters but you just can't beat
the bang for the buck.
I just got the complete set in. The 7nm H-alpha was the first prototype.
Production units will follow soon. I took some images with the set last night H-a,
O3 and S2. Baader also has a narrow band H-beta as well as other wavelengths.

Rolando


**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


Re: GPS on a German Equatorial Mount

ayiomamitis
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "nfoldager" <nf@...> wrote:


I don't care about GPS on the mount. However, Rolando, listening to
ones wife ...
Me too. GPS is not an issue for me ... but an added expense and one
more thing to go wroung.


Best regards,

Niels Foldager
Denmark

P.S. I do, however, use a handheld GPS as an acurate clock input for my
laptop when tracking satellites.
Exactly. If I need GPS, I can pick up a unit from eBay brand new and
quite cheap.

Anthony.


Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the 1200...

ayiomamitis
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Crisp" <rdcrisp@...> wrote:

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@ wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 5:00:59 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@ writes:

Excellent news Rolando. I knew you sold a lot of Baader products so
that tells me that they have to be top notch.

I wasn't aware you are selling the filters but you just can't beat
the bang for the buck.
This is very true Richard! Baader offers great quality at a very good
price. It is about time they introduced a (complete?) narrowband line.

Now if they can do something similar in Infra-Red. I remember Don
Goldman's article in S&T surrounding his IR set for nearly $1000 ... I
sprayed the coke all over the computer screen.

Anthony.


My Pentax lens has some color error so I haven't seen the parfocality
you mentioned but I will likely see that property when I hook it up
to the mighty AP180EDT. I sure plan to use it on the '180. Trouble is
that I am having so much fun with the 150mm lens I may not get it
onto the '180 for a few weeks....




**************************************
See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Re: two new widefield emission line images shot at 150mm on the 1200...

ayiomamitis
 

--- In ap-gto@yahoogroups.com, chris1011@... wrote:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 5:00:59 PM Central Daylight Time,
rdcrisp@... writes:


these two recent images were taken using a medium format pentax 150mm
takumar lens, FLI DF2 focuser, FLI CFW1 Filter wheel and the FLI
IMG6303E camera. Filters were the new Baader Planetarium [SII]/Halpha
and [OIII] filters. Since Baader is the actual maker of these filters
instead of being a middleman, he is able to significantly undercut
the pricing of others and still ship a no-excuses product.
Rolando,

I just attached my 2" Baader narrow band set into the STL11K camera
filter
wheel today. If it's clear tonight or tomorrow, I will be shooting
with these
filters also. What's nice about these is that they are parfocal with
my other
SBIG filters, which is not the case with another brand H-a filter
that I was
using before.
Thanks to you and Richard for this thread! Can I trouble you for
further details in relation to the Baader narrow-band filters? I
checked the AP website and I am not sure I see everything.

I need 1.25" narrowband filters for my CFW10 ... more specifically,
H-a, SII and OIII.

I am delighted to see them being parfocal to the SBIG filters. This is
excellent!

I read a message the other day on the SBIG Yahoo list with very good
comments about the Baader 7nm filter. So much so that I would like to
pursue the Baader line IF it is complete (H-a, SII and OIII).


I also want to mention that Astro-Physics does sell these filters as
well as
other Baader products.
Can you please ensure the AP webpage is completely up-to-date?

Thanks.

Anthony.


Rolando


**************************************
See what's free tat
http://www.aol.com.