It has been sometime.....


howard lazarus <lazhow@...>
 

Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and improves accuracy...love it. There were not increases in the object library and the computer chip that we have heard about may not be but be in the form of web site downloads which sounds very exciting.
Here in Florida (south Florida) the weather has only been fair , very cloudy but if one waits pass 11P.M. the light pollution tones down somewhat and the cooler air permits for fairly good observing.
 
I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects hit the center or close to it everytime.
 
I have Beta tested the new version 3.0 of Digitsky Voice software, it is very complete far more items added and the voice commands have been reduced somewhat...but to me I just love working with the keypad and not having a computer in the field.
 
Well clear skies to all
Howard Lazarus


GrayFox65@...
 

Hello all,

Howard Lazarus wrote:
I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects
hit the center or close to it everytime.
It is indeed fun to get to the point Howard describes. The down side, at
least for me, is that I've become an alignment perfectionist; nothing less
than objects centered in a 3mm Radian FOV will do!

It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at or
near center of a high power eyepiece field all evening long). These are the
methods I recall. Has a new one been added recently?

1. Polaris and one other star
2. Two star method (does anyone still use this one?)
3. Simulated star drift (flip scope from east to west, adjust half way, etc.)

On another subject, does anyone occasionally wish for more double stars in
the GTO ADS catalog? Ever since I discovered that one can glimpse elongation
of doubles well below the Dawes limit with a 3mm Radian (no doubt a
well-known fact to experienced observers), I've wished for more choices.
Also wouldn't mind an open cluster catalog; there are several good ones that
aren't in NGC or IC.

Mike Masters


Rich N. <rnapo@...>
 

Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are
going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were
with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and
improves accuracy...love it.
-snip

Ok, my two cents.. AP shipped my 900 GOTO mount this October,
right on their originally scheduled ship date. I've had it out twice.
I haven't used the GOTO once. ;-) It moves nicely by hand the paddle.

The only thing that seems a little odd, the damper knobs seem to have
very little effect on the movement (by hand) even with the clutch knobs
not tightened. The dampers have so little effect they hardly seem worth
putting on the mount. Maybe they aren't working correctly?

Rich


Dan Knauss <dknauss@...>
 

In response to Howard Lazarus:

I haven't had anything to contribute to the group because I am
waiting for an opportunity to order a GTO 1200 (I am on the waiting list).
I live in Tucson, Arizona, and have an observatory with a 13.1" Newtonian
and an Apogee AM4 CCD camera. I am really looking forward to getting a 1200
mount. My sky here is generally good but light pollution makes it difficult
to quickly find much beyond the Messier objects which really slows down my
acquisition rate. Since I have the luxury of not having to set up and break
down for every observing session, I can spend as much time as needed to
improve pointing accuracy. I can't tell you how much I look forward to the
ability to automatically point the telescope.

One thing I've learned in the hobby of astronomy since I was eight
years old (I am substantially older now) is patience. I can wait for an AP
quality mount. In the meantime, I enjoy reading about the experiences and
questions current owners of the AP mounts have.

Dan Knauss



Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are
going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were
with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and
improves accuracy...love it. There were not increases in the object library
and the computer chip that we have heard about may not be but be in the form
of web site downloads which sounds very exciting.
Here in Florida (south Florida) the weather has only been fair , very
cloudy but if one waits pass 11P.M. the light pollution tones down somewhat
and the cooler air permits for fairly good observing.

I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects
hit the center or close to it everytime.

I have Beta tested the new version 3.0 of Digitsky Voice software, it is
very complete far more items added and the voice commands have been reduced
somewhat...but to me I just love working with the keypad and not having a
computer in the field.

Well clear skies to all
Howard Lazarus


Jim Fakatselis <jfakatse@...>
 

Hi Howard,
Was wondering when AP is going to get around to officically announcing
the upgrade. I got my AP 600E back in November '98 and am waiting to
upgrade. Is there any disadvantage to upgrading now? I suspect the only
thing not ready is the Web based upgrades.
Jim

howard lazarus wrote:

Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things
are going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements
were with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more
fun and improves accuracy...love it. There were not increases in the
object library and the computer chip that we have heard about may not
be but be in the form of web site downloads which sounds very
exciting.Here in Florida (south Florida) the weather has only been
fair , very cloudy but if one waits pass 11P.M. the light pollution
tones down somewhat and the cooler air permits for fairly good
observing. I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a
snap and objects hit the center or close to it everytime. I have Beta
tested the new version 3.0 of Digitsky Voice software, it is very
complete far more items added and the voice commands have been reduced
somewhat...but to me I just love working with the keypad and not
having a computer in the field. Well clear skies to allHoward Lazarus


howard lazarus <howardlazarus@...>
 

Hi Mike;
You are 100% right...I too would like a more extensive double cat. and a
more extensive cluster cat. and that was the reasoning brhind the chip and
web site. But, just based on my contacts with Marj I think we are many many
months away from that situation.Version 2.6 which I now have is nice to have
only due to the alignment process and the assitance one gets from having the
scope slew back to the original star selected or anyother star one wishes to
perfect the alignment process.
But point well taken , Mike.
Howard L

----- Original Message -----
From: <GrayFox65@aol.com>
To: <ap-gto@egroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 8:05 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....


Hello all,

Howard Lazarus wrote:
I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects
hit the center or close to it everytime.
It is indeed fun to get to the point Howard describes. The down side, at
least for me, is that I've become an alignment perfectionist; nothing less
than objects centered in a 3mm Radian FOV will do!

It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at or
near center of a high power eyepiece field all evening long). These are
the
methods I recall. Has a new one been added recently?

1. Polaris and one other star
2. Two star method (does anyone still use this one?)
3. Simulated star drift (flip scope from east to west, adjust half way,
etc.)

On another subject, does anyone occasionally wish for more double stars in
the GTO ADS catalog? Ever since I discovered that one can glimpse
elongation
of doubles well below the Dawes limit with a 3mm Radian (no doubt a
well-known fact to experienced observers), I've wished for more choices.
Also wouldn't mind an open cluster catalog; there are several good ones
that
aren't in NGC or IC.

Mike Masters

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howard lazarus <howardlazarus@...>
 

Dan,
Having the 600E GTO and having used the 1200 mount all I cna tell you is the
wait is worth it. You will be every very happy.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Knauss <dknauss@azstarnet.com>
To: <ap-gto@egroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 7:39 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....


In response to Howard Lazarus:

I haven't had anything to contribute to the group because I am
waiting for an opportunity to order a GTO 1200 (I am on the waiting list).
I live in Tucson, Arizona, and have an observatory with a 13.1" Newtonian
and an Apogee AM4 CCD camera. I am really looking forward to getting a
1200
mount. My sky here is generally good but light pollution makes it
difficult
to quickly find much beyond the Messier objects which really slows down my
acquisition rate. Since I have the luxury of not having to set up and
break
down for every observing session, I can spend as much time as needed to
improve pointing accuracy. I can't tell you how much I look forward to
the
ability to automatically point the telescope.

One thing I've learned in the hobby of astronomy since I was eight
years old (I am substantially older now) is patience. I can wait for an
AP
quality mount. In the meantime, I enjoy reading about the experiences and
questions current owners of the AP mounts have.

Dan Knauss



Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are
going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were
with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and
improves accuracy...love it. There were not increases in the object
library
and the computer chip that we have heard about may not be but be in the
form
of web site downloads which sounds very exciting.
Here in Florida (south Florida) the weather has only been fair , very
cloudy but if one waits pass 11P.M. the light pollution tones down
somewhat
and the cooler air permits for fairly good observing.

I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects
hit the center or close to it everytime.

I have Beta tested the new version 3.0 of Digitsky Voice software, it is
very complete far more items added and the voice commands have been
reduced
somewhat...but to me I just love working with the keypad and not having a
computer in the field.

Well clear skies to all
Howard Lazarus


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Robert Kuberek <rkuberek@...>
 

Dan Knauss wrote:

In response to Howard Lazarus:

I haven't had anything to contribute to the group because I am
waiting for an opportunity to order a GTO 1200 (I am on the waiting list).
I too am waiting for a GTO mount--the AP900. Expecting it in Dec. and
really looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I've been imaging with my AP600 and, mostly, the 6"
f/7 AP refractor. I have gotten a portable pier (for the 900, on order) and
AP made me an adapter for the 600 that I already have. I highly recommend
the portable pier, it is rigid and very steady.

Recently, I tried imaging with a 4" refractor using the 600 mount, with
some encouraging results. Even though the pixel scale is over 3 arcsec,
the overall quality is pretty good. Some of these newest images are at

http://sciastro.net/flashca

Bob Kuberek


Robert Kuberek <rkuberek@...>
 

GrayFox65@aol.com wrote:


It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at or
Mike,

I am using the N-polar method. If I spend enough time on it and take care
to make several runs on more than one star, I get pointing to within a couple
of minutes, all sky, and this is plenty good for me to find stuff and position
objects on a ccd.

The two-star method has totally defeated me, and I haven't tried the simulated
drift method.

What I did discover, which has helped a lot with imaging, is that I can train
the PEC using the autoguider. This has given me full period tracking error of
less than +/- 5 arcsec reliably.

Bob Kuberek


Charles Sinsofsky <strfire@...>
 

Hello All,

I thought I would drop a note here to explain what is up at DSV Labs and
the A/P GTO Hand Controller code, and of course the much talked about
internet updateing faciltiy.

Ok 1st. DSV 3.x (sorry Howard) but there is not one command less voice
wise, but actually many many more new ones, including the Whats Close
command something like whats up only it deals with your immediatly area of
the sky the scope is pointing at. DSv 3.00.06 will be online this week.,
fixing some major bugs that I did not notice at first with the
auto-advancing tour mode. beta_setup6.exe will be online THIS WEEK already
done, I have to just upload it. Look for it any of my beta testers. Also if
you would like to become a beta tester for version 3.x and are already a
registered DSV user please send me email

Ok The hand controller, a major upgrade to the hand controller is coming
soon. I have been tied up with many aspects of this project ie: DSV, the web
sites mine and a/p's and other things that the net code release now 2.7 was
put on slight hold but that should be corrected very soon. Well what will
this new one have, well there is going to be changes with regards to the
planets menu, new features for astrophotographers dealing with mount side
switching, and YES we can consider more double stars..I talk to roland about
that one.

Ok the internet updater, well I want this online to...remember I have three
mounts myself. (hahah) anyways yes it is a great idea we (A.P and myself)
want to do this as soon as possible it was planneed for eariler this year
but things got in the way. I can tell you the back ground code is done, all
that needs to be done is the web interface, I know how I want to approch
this to make it easy, and will be started very soon. along with the 2.7
upgrade for sure. Users will need a new chip in their mounts though to use
this feature. I belive all mounts that have been shipping in the last few
months already have the correct chip. If you do not have the correct chip
and Marj knows who you are, the matter of changing the chip is really easy
more on this at a later date.

Anyways thats the latest scope on whats happening...I am sorry for any
delays, I am trying to get the code out as fast as possible. But we also
want it to BE GOOD so I do not like to rush it too much (a good example, I
really wanted to get online beta_setup5.exe (or 3.00.05) and rushed it on to
the web site and did not notice a bad error in the tour area when I had
thought I correct it, thank god this is beta software...anyways
beta_setup6.exe or 3.00.06 will be online soon enough that corrects for this
problems.

Oh yes, if anyone here is a Starry Night Pro or Deluxe fan the DSV link
bridge for that software has been added to a new 2.x and 3.x to be uploaded
later this week.

Enjoy

- Charles Sinsofsky
www.digitalskyvoice.com
aka: strfire@attglobal.net

----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Kuberek <rkuberek@ix.netcom.com>
To: <ap-gto@egroups.com>
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 2:10 AM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....


GrayFox65@aol.com wrote:


It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at
or

Mike,

I am using the N-polar method. If I spend enough time on it and take care
to make several runs on more than one star, I get pointing to within a
couple
of minutes, all sky, and this is plenty good for me to find stuff and
position
objects on a ccd.

The two-star method has totally defeated me, and I haven't tried the
simulated
drift method.

What I did discover, which has helped a lot with imaging, is that I can
train
the PEC using the autoguider. This has given me full period tracking error
of
less than +/- 5 arcsec reliably.

Bob Kuberek


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Terry Johnson <tjohnson@...>
 

Bob, What is the problem with aligning the GTO mounts? I will be receiving a 600GTO in December. I have read the literature that says I can align the scope with two stars and the alignment will be very precise.  Is this true or not true?
 
Thanks for your help in this matter...Terry Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Kuberek <rkuberek@...>
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Date: Sunday, November 14, 1999 11:11 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....

GrayFox65@... wrote:

>
> It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
> alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at or

Mike,

I am using the N-polar method. If I spend enough time on it and take care
to make several runs on more than one star, I get pointing to within a couple
of minutes, all sky, and this is plenty good for me to find stuff and position
objects on a ccd.

The two-star method has totally defeated me, and I haven't tried the simulated
drift method.

What I did discover, which has helped a lot with imaging, is that I can train
the PEC using the autoguider. This has given me full period tracking error of
less than +/- 5 arcsec reliably.

Bob Kuberek

click here Click here! eGroups.com Home: http://www.egroups.com/group/ap-gto
www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications


Terry Johnson <tjohnson@...>
 

Mike, how long did it take you to get to the point where you are dead center on your alignment process with a GTO mount?
 
Thanks...Terrry Johnson.

-----Original Message-----
From: GrayFox65@... <GrayFox65@...>
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Date: Saturday, November 13, 1999 5:05 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....

Hello all,

Howard Lazarus wrote:
> I have reached the point now where Polar alignment is a snap and objects
> hit the center or close to it everytime.

It is indeed fun to get to the point Howard describes.  The down side, at
least for me, is that I've become an alignment perfectionist; nothing less
than objects centered in a 3mm Radian FOV will do!

It would be interesting to see how many people use each of the various
alignment methods---and how many are satisfied with the result (i.e. at or 
near center of a high power eyepiece field all evening long).  These are the
methods I recall.  Has a new one been added recently?

1.  Polaris and one other star
2.  Two star method (does anyone still use this one?)
3.  Simulated star drift (flip scope from east to west, adjust half way, etc.)

On another subject, does anyone occasionally wish for more double stars in
the GTO ADS catalog?  Ever since I discovered that one can glimpse elongation
of doubles well below the Dawes limit with a 3mm Radian (no doubt a
well-known fact to experienced observers), I've wished for more choices.
Also wouldn't mind an open cluster catalog; there are several good ones that 
aren't in NGC or IC.

Mike Masters

click here Click here! eGroups.com Home: http://www.egroups.com/group/ap-gto
www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications


Marj <astrophy@...>
 

Rich,
The dampers are working. They act to push the shaft into full contact with
the bearing inner races to prevent play in the shaft. They are not meant to
be clutches.
Marjorie Christen
Astro-Physics

-----Original Message-----
From: Rich N. [mailto:rnapo@znet.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 4:39 PM
To: ap-gto@egroups.com;
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....




Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are
going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were
with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and
improves accuracy...love it.
-snip

Ok, my two cents.. AP shipped my 900 GOTO mount this October,
right on their originally scheduled ship date. I've had it out twice.
I haven't used the GOTO once. ;-) It moves nicely by hand the paddle.

The only thing that seems a little odd, the damper knobs seem to have
very little effect on the movement (by hand) even with the clutch knobs
not tightened. The dampers have so little effect they hardly seem worth
putting on the mount. Maybe they aren't working correctly?

Rich



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Rich N. <rnapo@...>
 

Yes I understand. I just sent you an email.

Rich

Rich,
The dampers are working. They act to push the shaft into full contact with
the bearing inner races to prevent play in the shaft. They are not meant to
be clutches.
Marjorie Christen
Astro-Physics

-----Original Message-----
From: Rich N. [mailto:rnapo@znet.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 1999 4:39 PM
To: ap-gto@egroups.com;
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: It has been sometime.....




Since I have not seen any comments on our GTO mounts and how things are
going I will just ramble out a few words. I recently had my keypad
upgraded(great service BTW) to Version 2.6....The major improvements were
with Polar alignment and two star alignment...much easier, more fun and
improves accuracy...love it.
-snip

Ok, my two cents.. AP shipped my 900 GOTO mount this October,
right on their originally scheduled ship date. I've had it out twice.
I haven't used the GOTO once. ;-) It moves nicely by hand the paddle.

The only thing that seems a little odd, the damper knobs seem to have
very little effect on the movement (by hand) even with the clutch knobs
not tightened. The dampers have so little effect they hardly seem worth
putting on the mount. Maybe they aren't working correctly?

Rich



------------------------------------------------------------------------
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GrayFox65@...
 

Terry,

I'm taking the liberty of responding to two messages at once, hope you don't
mind. Long time AP GTO owners might want to delete without reading further.

Bob, What is the problem with aligning the GTO mounts? I will be receiving
a
600GTO in December. I have read the literature that says I can align the
scope
with two stars and the alignment will be very precise. Is this true or not
true?
...
Mike, how long did it take you to get to the point where you are dead
center on
your alignment process with a GTO mount?
Thanks...Terrry Johnson.
First, let me backpeddle slightly and disavow that I align my GTO so
perfectly that objects are "always" dead center. Sometimes dead center, and
always close, but as they say, "never say never." And never say always!

Having said that, take heart. One can learn to align just about perfectly.
I know because I've made every mistake possible (I think!), even one night
forgetting to use my compass to get the mount initially aligned within the
several degrees of North that the Azimuth adjustment provides. I'm
embarassed to admit that it took me over half an hour to discover what the
problem was! And yet now it is easy, if time consuming. It takes me about
twenty minutes each night. That sounds like a lot, and there are other
mounts that align quicker, mostly I suppose because they don't have to be
physically aligned to the pole. But one aligned, the AP GTO is extremely
accurate.

There should be several good archived threads on the vicissitudes of
alignment. One of the best dealt with the fact that after one has done an
azimuth adjustment, tightening down the two azimuth lock bolts can cause the
elevation alignment to go off. Two good suggestions have come forward on how
to deal with this; don't know who to give credit to because I don't remember
the author of each. One method is to use two hex wrenchs instead of one and
to tighten both bolts at the same time. This helps a lot. The second
suggestion, recently made, is to use nylon washers underneath the azimuth
bolts in place of or in addition to (not sure which) the metal ones that come
with the mount.

Another problem has been the two star alignment method that accompanied early
versions of the controller box (not sure whether this method is still
available with newer versions). The two star method required starting with a
star in the eastern star and then slewing to any other star in the alignment
star list. A problem arises if one choses a star well into the Western (or
Eastern) sky for subsequent adjustments. If the telescope is laid over to
the West (or East), turning the elevation adjustment knob will translate into
a more-or-less horizontal motion of the alignment star in the field of view.
Since the azimuth adjustment always yields a horizontal movement, there is no
way to reliably correct for elevation errors with such stars. As a result, I
soon abandoned this method and suspect that others probably have as well.

The one-star-and-Polaris method doesn't have this flaw. Several people
report outstanding success with it and it is probably the method of choice
for most people. Unfortunately I can't use it because I have trees to the
East and to the North. As a result, I'm forced to use the third method, a
variation (provided by Roland Christen) of what the early owner's manual
called "simulated star drift." Once again, there should be an archived
thread on it. If you can't find it, I will be glad to send you a copy by
separate email.

Enjoy your 600E GTO. Once one learns how to align it, it is a delight to
use. It took me months to learn by trial and error, but hopefully you can
benefit from the contributions of others here on the egroup who took the time
to make helpful suggestions for the rest of us. There's no reason why one
can't become an expert in a few nights.

Best wishes,
Mike Masters
Fredericksburg VA