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Old 27-10-2010, 07:04 AM
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Lismore Bloke (Paul)
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First session with the Argo

Finally some scope time after weeks and weeks of cloud and rain.
This one is just a list of objects (mainly bright ones) spotted to test the Argo in tour mode:

GALAXIES:
NGC 1097, NGC 1316, NGC 1365, NGC 289, NGC 253, NGC 134, NGC 55, NGC 134, NGC 55, NGC 7793, NGC 7713.

PLANETARIES:
NGC 7293 (Helix), NGC 7009 (Saturn), NGC 6818 (Little Gem), NGC 6853 (Dumbell), NGC 1360 (in Fornax). This last one was particularly striking and distinctly oval shaped. It will bear closer examination. I think an O-III filter might find its way into Santa's bag of presents this year ... if I'm good!!

GLOBULARS:
NGC 6934, NGC 7099, NGC 6981, NGC 7089. I think there were a few others as well.

Uranus and Neptune were also picked up.

Conclusions are that the Argo is an excellent aid in maximising my precious telescope time. It needs some fine tuning, as not everything was in the FOV, but it was close enough to be picked up. Thanks for looking, Paul.
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Old 27-10-2010, 07:24 AM
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sheeny (Al)
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Its a good bit of gear, isn't it Paul?

A little tip I use... not sure if you're doing this or not... but when I find an object is a bit off (particularly when you slew to a new piece of sky) when I find it, I exit the tour, do an align on it (in this mode it doesn't have to be a star), and then resume the tour.

There's nothing like an Argo, I reckon, for maximising the number of objects you can view in a given time.

Al.
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Old 27-10-2010, 08:05 AM
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erick (Eric)
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Which scope, Paul? and which eyepiece were you using as you moved to a new object?
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Old 27-10-2010, 08:25 AM
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astroron (Ron)
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Great stuff Paul you will never look back after getting the best out of your ARGO.
The best will come when you fine tune your technech
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Old 27-10-2010, 08:29 AM
Gas Giant (Andrew)
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I installed an Argo on my 25cm Dob some years ago. I've had this telescope 14 years and I've been looking at the latest large aperture go-to Dobs that cost about the same as my telescope did back then before the Chinese manufacturers of Skywatcher etc. got into the market. In 1996 I paid $2,200 for an Orion Premium Deep Space Explorer with a JMI Crayford focusser. Now for under $3000 I could buy a 14" Synscan Dob.

The trouble is, I don't want to say goodbye to the Argo Navis. If I ever sold this 'scope the main selling point is that it is fitted out for the AN.

I thought I would buy an auto-tracking Dob and get new encoders for the Argo - but unfortunately the encoders won't fit these 'scopes.

As you are by now probably aware, I'm a BIG fan of the Argo. I will use my old - but very good - scope a while longer while I ponder - preferably out under the clear night sky.

Happy hunting
Andrew
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Old 27-10-2010, 08:36 AM
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Lismore Bloke (Paul)
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Thanks everyone,

The main 2 EP's used were the Nagler 22 and 17. My alignment stars were a bit too close for my liking, Achernar and Al Nair (Grus). Everything else was below the horizon, behind the house or trees. I don't know if that affects accuracy.

Al, I was wondering if you could re-align on it or somehow reset it. It seemed to be off by about the same amount, but only in one direction. I might email Gary if the book doesn't shed any light on it. Overall though I'm very impressed by the system. Gary needs to revise the book though, as there are lots of posts asking about setup and other basic issues. Seems to indicate that the instructions are not worded clearly enough.
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Old 27-10-2010, 08:44 AM
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Sorry Eric, the scope was the GSO 12" dob bought from Andrews in Sydney.
I used the 22mm and 17mm to ensure a wide field. I usually use the 12mm for galaxies unless the targets are big units like NGC 4945.
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Old 27-10-2010, 10:27 AM
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Hi Paul. I think you'll find that the manual is clear but we just don't quite "get it" on the first few reads in some bits.

I asked about the scope because I suspect your dob base might be a bit "sloppy". The older GSO ones were. Watch for flexing of the two side walls as the scope is elevated and lowered. Also look to see whether the tube unit is moving a bit along its altitude axis (the axis through the trunions) as you move it up and down. I found that a little mechanical work on the base to deal with both these problems assisted.
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Old 27-10-2010, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for the reply Eric. Sounds like a bit of bracing might stiffen the structure up a bit. These dob mounts are not exactly precision engineered!!
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Old 27-10-2010, 11:38 AM
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Good to see a post from you again in this section Paul, it seems a long time - more so for you if clouds have kept you from observing. Quite an impressive list - clearly the benefit of the Argo. Looking forward to more reports
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Old 27-10-2010, 12:46 PM
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Sounds like it was a great night. With so little time to spend observing these days I really will have to invest in the Argo also.
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Old 27-10-2010, 01:20 PM
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Thanks Patrick and Andrew,

I know there are some who don't really agree with devices like the Argo, thinking that one should learn the sky by star-hopping. While I respect those views, my telescope time is rather precious and anything that will help me find things quickly, and spend quality time at the eyepiece is worth having. I saw more in that short session than in any 3 normal sessions trying to find things by map, torch and star-hop.
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Old 27-10-2010, 02:23 PM
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Did my time star-hopping. Worthwhile for everyone cutting their teeth on that, I think. I find it sad when someone just wants an NGC number to punch into a Go-to, and has no idea of where in the sky the object is - and what is in its vicinity. But after long searches to find the Blue Planetary (should have been easy )and Hind's Crimson Star, I thought - if there is a tool to maximise viewing and minimise searching, why not employ it?

With regard to the GSO base, I effectively did two things:-

1) I tied the two vertical supports rigidly together closer to the open end (rather complicated given the OTA has to go in and out of this gap)

2) I added two metal plates that kept the trunions from riding back and forwards across the teflon pads. (pretty easy)
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Old 27-10-2010, 02:53 PM
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I think the question of time is very important (BTW I'm pretty sure that you know the sky quite well by now). I feel that I have quite a lot of time for observing under good dark skies and so feel quite luxurious about mucking around finding things. If you don't have this luxury Argo is the way to go. So I imagine your obs reports are going to be quite a bit longer now - excellent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lismore Bloke View Post
Thanks Patrick and Andrew,

I know there are some who don't really agree with devices like the Argo, thinking that one should learn the sky by star-hopping. While I respect those views, my telescope time is rather precious and anything that will help me find things quickly, and spend quality time at the eyepiece is worth having. I saw more in that short session than in any 3 normal sessions trying to find things by map, torch and star-hop.
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Old 27-10-2010, 05:29 PM
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sheeny (Al)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erick View Post
Hi Paul. I think you'll find that the manual is clear but we just don't quite "get it" on the first few reads in some bits.
Exactly.

Al.
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Old 27-10-2010, 06:20 PM
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[QUOTE=erick;650137]Hi Paul. I think you'll find that the manual is clear but we just don't quite "get it" on the first few reads in some bits.

You're dead right guys, I'm just impatient. Fortunately Gary from Argo seems to be a very helpful and obliging chap. He helped me at all sorts of odd times, business hours or not. Outstanding customer service and dedication to supporting his product.
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Old 27-10-2010, 06:23 PM
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sheeny (Al)
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[QUOTE=Lismore Bloke;650274]
Quote:
Originally Posted by erick View Post
Hi Paul. I think you'll find that the manual is clear but we just don't quite "get it" on the first few reads in some bits.

You're dead right guys, I'm just impatient. Fortunately Gary from Argo seems to be a very helpful and obliging chap. He helped me at all sorts of odd times, business hours or not. Outstanding customer service and dedication to supporting his product.
You're not alone there, Paul. We're all like that when we get new toys!

Al.
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Old 27-10-2010, 10:56 PM
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Hi Paul,

Good to see you've joined the "Argo" club and you can see the benefits already -- more (much more) productive observing!

I'm confident you get the small pointing errors fixed up pretty soon -- don't sweat it. On my 18", about 70% of the time my targets land in the inner half of a 12mm Type II Nagler field that is 27 arcminutes across. Therefore, most of the time, the pointing error is about 7 arcminutes or better and that is impressive in a home-made truss-tube dob that (like all long telescopes) will sag a fraction depending on where they're pointed.

Yep the customer service is 1st class. It'd be hard to beat anywhere in the world.


Best,

Les D
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Old 28-10-2010, 09:54 AM
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Lismore Bloke (Paul)
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Thanks for the encouragement Les,

I think I'll add a couple of brackets to brace the inside of the side plates. perhaps another couple to stop the alt trunnions from squirming about.
The closeness of the alignment stars (Achernar and Al Nair) probably contributed. Need more alignment stars for the Argo!

Cheers, Paul.
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Old 28-10-2010, 10:10 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Oh you lucky, lucky boy!

We expect much more extensive reports now, mate!
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