View Full Version here: : What makes a telescope Comfortable & Efficient to view from?
06-05-2011, 08:55 AM
I thought seeing as you guys do a lot of observing in here, you might be in the know on this topic:
What makes a telescope comfortable & efficient to view (visually observe) from?
Fork Mounted,alt alz, chairs, side by side mounted, ep's, eye patches .........et....But could we please get some pro's on Con's on some of the answers as well and perhaps how some of you combine these different aspects
Quite a few things I am sure, but the BEST thing I have bought in the last year is a gas lift stool from Office Works - so easy and comfy!! You can alter as ya sit there and swivel around, instead of getting up and moving and adjusting. Loooove my chair. :love:
06-05-2011, 10:02 AM
Heres a start
Being warm with comfortable clothing
Adjustable stool set to the right height
Use of a turret to rapidly change EPs (change magnification)
Good optics with high quality EPs - great contrast and sharp views
Wide apparent field of view EPs for that immersive experience
Good company that enjoys everything
Either knowing your way around the sky or having GoTo to navigate you way around
Perfect Polar alignment and a good sync so no drift and GoTos are accurate
Being set up properly beforehand rather than fussing all night until you are too tired to get it right (a permanent Obs helps !)
Warm drink available when you need it
A computer planetarium or charts that you know how to read being handy
Not having to worry about clumsy people tripping over gear and bumping your rig out of alignment
No bright lights shining from anywhere (including head torches beamed into your eyes)
Being familiar with your gear so everything you need to do is second nature in the dark (you know where your EPs are, how to adjust focus by feel etc)
A pleasant night always help
Good seeing conditions
A good list of objects and having an expert on hand to describe what you are seeing (or rtaher what you should be seeing when it comes to faint fuzzies) in interesting detail and be able to tell a story is the best. Otherwise it can just be case of just more stars and lots of missed galaxies
06-05-2011, 10:04 AM
i got one of them about a year ago too, think it was about $35 at the time, so a real bargain and works like a charm.
A right-angled correct image 8x50 finder.
No more neck straining to look through the finder. And as an added bonus, everything is the right way up from your maps to the finder. Through the EP it doesn't matter.
Recently bought a refractor that came with a straight through 8x50 finder. What a pest! I spent nearly all my time kneeling on the ground trying to look through it. Have since exchanged it for another right-angled one.
06-05-2011, 02:11 PM
Seated comfortably, head/neck in a good position, eyepatch on non-observing eye, hands in some comfortable position, feet not frozen.:thumbsup:
12-05-2011, 11:48 AM
Fork mounted alt/az is comfortable to use once it's set up, but in larger sizes can become too heavy to carry (for some).
I moved away from fork mounts to a Discmount DM-6 for my C11 which has these advantages: heaviest component is half the weight of a fork mount; no motors or Go-to to break down; silent operation (push-to); you can't get any backlash or vibration from the mount; the Discmount will never wear out. The Sky Commander pointing is simple, easy and accurate to use - older Sky Commander units were geared towards the northern hemisphere but the current model has plenty of southern stars to align with.
A tweaked dob is almost as good as the DM-6 with C11, though the dob doesn't have as much flexibility with eyepiece positioning (can rotate diagonal on C11) and I can't store a dob optical tube inside the house. The tripod of the DM-6 copes better with uneven or wet ground.
The observing chair should be adjustable in small increments to get your back and neck in the most comfortable position. I've been using a home-made Denver observing chair which is very good but not perfect - I have had the occasional fast ride to the bottom and it's a little heavy. In the lowest position it is very comfortable for power naps (hint: make the back support a few inches longer if this is important to you).
Binoviewers make it easier to look at an object for a longer period of time since both eyes are more relaxed when looking at the same thing, assuming bino's work for you - some have trouble with one eye fighting for dominance - you need to be able to relax and forget that you're using two eyes.
RID mosquito repellant on hat and clothing but nowhere near optics - nothing interrupts observing more than biting insects. It's a pleasure to be rid of the little monsters in this cold weather.
Accessory case big enough to take everything I might need to the back yard - sunglasses should I need to go back into the house for some reason.
A laser pointer is great for rough pointing of the scope and handy for checking the naked eye location of an object that you're viewing through the scope.
Some form of dew control.
16-05-2011, 06:46 PM
The chair, warm cloths, comfortable placement of eyepiece and finder as well as bug spray and dew control are all discussed. I'll speak for efficiency only and the top 3 things that I find great for the field.
Numero Uno Efficiency Tip:
Telrad sight and a planitarium program that shows telrad patterns. OR better yet is pre-printed out charts with telrad patterns on them and then a close in field (40 minute across) for star-field confirmation. (I assume no goto because you might enjoy the hunt like I do). Telrad is a #1 ticket to efficiency (if you have no setting circles). If you do use goto I suggest some of the time on easier to find targets try it with telrad and this will help you when your battery dies ... ;)
A second key tip for efficiency:
Two or three eyepieces with one fairly broad one for initial finding and one or two of your favorite higher mag eyepieces so you span a range of magnitudes and here is the important bit ... All three must be right with you while you are seated. This can be done with an eyepiece rack mounted on your scope in a place where scope position does not cause them to fall out :eyepop: I also like a waist pouch for eyepieces and keep 5 or so right there on my waist for fast access. If you are doing some messier marathon or out for absolute max targets per night consider a 20 to 8mm zoom (loose quality but gain speed of acquisition/viewing).
Tip #3 that you may have never even considered yet I love this one:
When working a specific area with several targets you want to veiw (like Markarian chain or galaxy clusters) I have found a sturdy music stand to hold my chart with magnets on the metal music stand invaluable. I use that to hold charts OR my light netbook with MegaStar planetarium and a red LED gooseneck lamp to see the charts. Plus a pencil. EXTREMELY handy as you can set it up like a table or have it angled depending on netbook use or just paper OR even your insulated cup of hot drink.
Gotta throw in my bias on efficient scopes too:
Oh, and my scope preference for absolutely fastest setup and tear down and target acquisition for medium aperture for folks early on in aperture fever stages is without question a 10 to 12" Dob and an adjustable chair. 5-minute setup/pack, done. Mega-efficient on setup time for medium aperture scopes with no need to find polaris and no need for battery and cables. Sweet.
I don't know the budget but for efficiency on the above mentioned dob solution digital setting circles with something like Sky Commander readout I use a lot on my big Dob for re-observations or targets that are far away from visually detectable stars (for telrad find). This too is about efficiency VS thrill of the hunt so you don't have to use it but it is there when you want to view large numbers of targets (I recently re-observed most of the herschel 400 list for example and did not want to re-find all of them manually). When I was in Australia a year ago all I had was a Telrad and finder on a 12" dob and I was having a blast finding hundreds of the great southern sky targets I cannot see from my +36 degree North location.
24-05-2011, 04:22 PM
My red-dot finder has to go - the contortions required are a major disincentive to using the telescope.
A question for Astrospotter and others with experience with a Telrad - are they a better choice than a 10x50 Right-Angled finderscope? (Similar prices for these two items.)
(I know Telrads are highly thought of, but it seems a little too similar to the red-dot finder!)
24-05-2011, 06:14 PM
One of my most used items is a humble garden chair much like this one
only with that woven plastic stuff as a seat for my 12" dob
I reverse it and lean into the sloping handles at differant points to get at the eyepiece , yes your still standing but I find I can keep my back and shoulders fairly straight and hold a steady comfortable view for quite some time , one knee sometimes on the seat for a little lower height , or steadier view ,and its easily flipped around in a second to sit in the sucker or moved completely out of the way with one hand .
I made one of those denver chairs and while it worked fine
I never found it a joy to use and it eventually got claimed by the garden
25-05-2011, 02:56 PM
I have a correct image 9x50 finder as well as the telrad I like having both as they have their own advantages depending on the situation. For a ultra-portable rig I have the ability to attach a small red-dot finder to my 9x50 finder because a scope or two of mine only has one finder bracket so that gets me a red-dot and the finder (but no telrad).
Something that is very nice about a telrad (over red dot alone) is a telrad you can place relative to other brighter stars a few degrees away because the outer circle is a 2 deg radius, mid-circle is 1 deg radius. So I get a mental picture of naked eye visible stars around the telrad pattern centered on my target that most star chart programs can put on the screen OR SkyAtlas 2000 has on a sheet of plastic. Sometimes you gotta hop and that is a different topic but you would be surprised how many times no hop is required if you can see a lot of stars (dark skies).
The Telrad on a Dob is one thing but I think your discussion of contortions is maybe with a 'view out the back' sort of scope like SCT or refractor? Yes this is a problem and is the reason the diagonal was invented for refractors and SCTs. For nights with little or no dew I had in the past used a little make-up mirror attached to mechanics wire angled 45 degrees and stuck to the telrad so I could look towards my scope body but still see out the telrad heads up display (sorry this is hard to describe) but basically, use a mirror instead of contortions. I don't use that anymore as few contortions are required with a dob and telrad way up high near the mouth of the scope generally.
25-05-2011, 06:08 PM
I have tried Telrad, RA and straight through finders and a green laser. Now only use the laser and the RA finder. Very quick, easy to move from scope to chart and back, neck is never craned.
The other thing I have done is build a little rack to hold my main eyepieces and invested in dew controllers. Have enough straps to handle 4 EPS, a secondary heater, heaters on objective and EP of the finder and 2 straps wrapped around the laser pointer (they don't like the cold, anything under 10deg C and they stop working). There is nothing worse than dew!!
Also have a Bintel observing chair and a little portable table for my charts etc. At star parties I have a toilet tent that I put my table and charts in, and at the end of the night I put it over the scope.
25-05-2011, 06:37 PM
On my Skywatcher 12" Dob I've replaced the finder with a Telrad. I also have one on the 20" as well. They are great. I have an 80mm right angle finder on the 20" but rarely use it in favour of the Telrad.
26-05-2011, 05:49 PM
Thanks again for the detailed information. I found out about the Ocular plugin for Stellarium, so have been trying a virtual Telrad for myself! I can see how it would help to find objects, and so in some ways makes the RA finder redundant, especially with a low-magnification eye piece.
I like the mirror idea.. although an even simpler suggestion from a friend was to raise the entire scope off the ground a bit.. would make observing and finding both easier.
Either way I think i will start with the Telrad. Thanks again!
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