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  #1  
Old 08-09-2008, 11:10 AM
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erick (Eric)
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Argo Navis - if you're happy and you know it clap your hands...

Got my AN working last Friday night. Been waiting for what seems like ages for the opportunity.

I had refitted the encoders to the 12", and done the daytime encoder testing. I had experimented with the OTA on a nice flat concrete driveway to see what vertical angle it would get to. Less than 90 deg - hmmm. OK, remove the big rubber bumper I had put in place and discovered that the good Dr Tannehill had carefully placed a felt bumper so the tube stopped bang on 90 deg! So I could move ahead with MODE FIX ALT REF and test the alt encoder sense. Do you think I could get a clear night so I could do a two star align to test out az encoder sense! Tried to do it one night, peering into sucker holes. NOTE TO SELF - don't misidentify stars for alignment - the outcome is not pretty!

So last Friday night at Snake Valley, clear beckoning skies, dob plonked down on the grass (well on my half bricks) so probably not particularly level (I didn't check - I will next time), MODE FIX ALT REF'd on +90 deg with auto adjust on, and away I went to align on Antares and Archenar with a 12mm illuminated reticule eyepeice, then off to check az encoder sense.

This isn't working?? OK, switch to MODE RA DEC to see what was happening. OK, it helps if you plug the alt encoder in! I have to remove and reinstall the Alt encoder for each packup/stepup.

OK, back to az encoder sense. OK, I can see clearly what is happening - reverse it and try FIX ALT REF and ALIGN STAR again. Hey this all looks right! Dialed in MODE IDENTIFY, pointed at the brightest object in the sky after the Moon - look, I've found Jupiter. I didn't do any more with the alignment, but just started to tour around between fog banks rolling in and out. Pointing was not too bad (I stuck with objects that were readily visible), coming up in my 30mm eyepiece FOV was no problem. Somewhere in the middle, I worked out how to tweak the pointing arrow direction in az around the right way. I could easily move the scope to 0.0 and 0.0 in alt and az and stop there while I inspected the view for the object.

AN unit was dripping with dew but didn't miss a beat. I still have lots to learn since it intelligently keeps track of what you have done to allow returning to tours etc. which confused me at times.

But a tour of globular clusters in Tucana brought up NGC 121 which I hadn't seen before. Not surprising given NGC 104 (47 Tuc) is so close, it's hard to look elsewhere in the field of view!

So this is great! Need to concentrate on having the base closer to level and then on performing a more accurate alignment. Then to learn (by doing) the AN's capability.

Very happy. Thanks to Gary and Mai for such a great bit of kit!
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2008, 11:42 AM
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Starkler (Geoff)
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Eric the argonavis certainly is a fantastic piece of kit that multiplies the observing utility of the basic dob. You will see so many more objects than otherwise unless you're extremely proficient in starhopping and finding objects with charts.

When you do your initial 2 star alignment, it is actually effectively calculating the virtual orientation of your scopes base, making levelling of the base unnecessary. The fix alt-ref step provides that reference point.

In choosing alignment stars, you want to pick a pair that give you a good separation in both azimuth and altitude, without getting too close to zenith, so that sufficient encoder ticks are counted to provide sufficient resolution of the position differential in both axis.

I enjoy using mine in tour mode. Do a globular tour, planetary neb tour, galaxy tour. It helps to divide the sky up into segments by setting the " find objects within" say 60 or 90 degrees of the starting point. Make it too big and you'll spend a lot of time zigzagging back and forth as the objects appear to be presented in order of angular distance from the starting point.

With a little bit of practice you'll quickly get the hang of the menus and discover what a fantastic and powerful tool the AN is for deep sky viewing.

Congrats
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2008, 11:56 AM
gary
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Thumbs up Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by erick View Post
Got my AN working last Friday night. Been waiting for what seems like ages for the opportunity.

I had refitted the encoders to the 12", and done the daytime encoder testing. I had experimented with the OTA on a nice flat concrete driveway to see what vertical angle it would get to. Less than 90 deg - hmmm. OK, remove the big rubber bumper I had put in place and discovered that the good Dr Tannehill had carefully placed a felt bumper so the tube stopped bang on 90 deg! So I could move ahead with MODE FIX ALT REF and test the alt encoder sense.
Hi Eric,

Thanks for the post and great to hear you are up and going.

Now that you have established the encoder direction sense signs, we recommend
you now start using AUTO ADJUST ON. This then makes setting the ALT
REF point at 90 degrees not so critical, as it will refine it for you based on
your two star alignment.

To set it up, DIAL up MODE SETUP, SETUP ALT REF and enter +090.000.

Then when you perform the FIX ALT REF STEP, use ALT REF=+090.000 AUTO
ADJUST ON.

Perform your two star alignment as normal. The WARP factor should then
be 0.00 (A) where the (A) indicates the ALT REF point was automatically
adjusted. If you see a non-zero WARP factor when AUTO ADJUST is ON or an
(X) instead of an (A), it means something is amiss, such as a
misidentified star or cable not plugged in. Keep in mind that though a
WARP factor of 0.00 is a prerequisite for good pointing performance, it
does not necessarily guarantee good performance. The reason is that the
AUTO ADJUST mechanism bends over backwards to correct the ALT REF point
so as to produce a WARP factor of zero wherever possible, even if you
have misidentified the alignment stars.

If you are curious, push the OTA back to the vertical stop and DIAL up
MODE ENCODER after you have performed the two star alignment. The right
hand displayed value is what AUTO ADJUST calculated your reference point
to be.


Quote:
Somewhere in the middle, I worked out how to tweak the pointing arrow direction in az around the right way. I could easily move the scope to 0.0 and 0.0 in alt and az and stop there while I inspected the view for the object.
You may have come across the MODE SETUP, SETUP GUIDE MODE menus.
These allow you to reverse the sense of the arrows to suit your preferences
and are independent of the encoder direction sense signs. You might also
like to set GUIDE DIGITS to 2 DECIMAL PLACES.

Quote:
AN unit was dripping with dew but didn't miss a beat. I still have lots to learn since it intelligently keeps track of what you have done to allow returning to tours etc. which confused me at times.
Say you are in the middle of a TOUR and then decide to view some other
object that is not going to be in the TOUR. Press EXIT, use MODE CATALOG or
MODE IDENTIFY to go to your new object. When you wish to return to
MODE TOUR, press ENTER and the word FIND will be flashing. Spin the DIAL
one click and it will change to REJOIN LAST TOUR. Press ENTER. You have
now rejoined your tour at the point you previously left.

Quote:
But a tour of globular clusters in Tucana brought up NGC 121 which I hadn't seen before. Not surprising given NGC 104 (47 Tuc) is so close, it's hard to look elsewhere in the field of view!
This is the type of story we like to hear.


Quote:
Very happy. Thanks to Gary and Mai for such a great bit of kit!
Thanks Eric. We appreciate your kind comments and hope that you have many
great nights ahead.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au

Last edited by gary; 08-09-2008 at 11:01 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-09-2008, 12:22 PM
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erick (Eric)
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Thanks Gary, I'll follow through on your guidance. Two decimal places will test the steadiness of my hand and quality of the teflon/ebony star bearings, I expect!

Thanks Geoff - good hints for effective touring! Eric
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  #5  
Old 08-09-2008, 12:41 PM
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netwolf
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Eric I too have recently joined the club and got myself a used AN. And even though mine is a used unit i have had A+ service and support from Garry. With replies to my emails coming in the late hours of the night on a Weekend.

The product in itself is excellent, but more than the product I think we can all agree that the support from Gary is what makes this product outstanding. He is more than happy to share his wealth of knowledge with anyone who picks up the phone and calls him. Hats off Gary.

I have not had first light with my AN yet due to the weather, but i hope soon i will be able to get it up and running with my Sitech controller.

Regards
Fahim
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  #6  
Old 08-09-2008, 12:51 PM
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erick (Eric)
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Yep Fahim, mine was second-hand as well but Gary did not hesitate to help with the few questions I had and promptly supplying the cable I needed. I monitor the Yahoo News Group as well so see the breadth of support Gary gives to his product. Instead of saying "read the fla..... manual" he retypes out the basic setup instructions time and time again to we newbies! Well done, Gary.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2008, 02:16 PM
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Tannehill
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Argo Navis

Hey Erick, glad to hear you got an Argo. It'll quadruple the pleasure of any scope.

Cheers

Scott
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  #8  
Old 08-09-2008, 03:51 PM
CoombellKid
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Congrats on the new addition Erick,

I'm about to give mine it's first setup and test tonight.

regards,CS
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  #9  
Old 08-09-2008, 10:02 PM
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wavelandscott (Scott)
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clap clap...top marks to the Argo Navis...it makes my limited time under the stars more enjoyable!
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  #10  
Old 08-09-2008, 10:17 PM
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AstroJunk (Jonathan)
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'nuf said...
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  #11  
Old 08-09-2008, 10:31 PM
dsscse (David)
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Argo Navis

Good to hear!
I am still waiting to try and give mine it's first setup and test but for the last few weeks its been un-doable. I have never had such a bad period before and even the nights with just a few clouds, like tonight .... there are gale force winds that turn the dob into a wind-sock and it behaves like its equiped with Go-Away. Ah well the weather may calm down before I die of old age and then I will finally get to MODE FIX ALT REF then watch me pull an all-nighter
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2008, 04:42 PM
Craig.a.c (Craig)
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I need to start putting some cash aside to get one around christmas time. I find starhopping a down right pain in the butt.
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  #13  
Old 09-09-2008, 09:46 PM
dsscse (David)
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Do it Craig!
It makes life a lot easier and you can spend quality time on the parts of the sky you like, instead of slowly star hopping your night away.
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  #14  
Old 09-09-2008, 10:09 PM
CoombellKid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsscse View Post
Do it Craig!
It makes life a lot easier and you can spend quality time on the parts of the sky you like, instead of slowly star hopping your night away.
Dont knock star hoping, there is alot to learn and things to see on the way
plus some people enjoy the hunt. And mostly it doesn't matter how good
your go-to is or what variety it is, star hoppers tend to look for more exotic
objects through their endevours. We then use the advantage of modern
technology like computer control systems to complement what we already
know and the coordinates we want to look at.

It is where one wants to take ones enjoyment.

regards,CS
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2008, 01:50 PM
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Tannehill
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Star Hopping vs Argo-ing

I'm with you on that....I don't knock star hopping, but man, I am SOOO screwed when it comes to time-at-eyepiece these days. Work, family, etc. Every minute is precious. So I confess my star hopping skills have atrophied accordingly. I call it star-staggering now. But the Argo gives me more enjoyment per unit time under sky, and I use it always.

unless I'm looking at the moon

which I can still find by myself

usually


Scott
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2008, 09:40 PM
dsscse (David)
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Sorry if it sounded like I was rubbishing Star Hopping, I wasn't. Its just that these days we seem to have less time on our hands than in years gone bye (didn't they say in the sixties that we would have very little work and huge amounts of leasure time come the turn of the century. But we are now work accessable 24/7) and I have star hopped since my father first taught me how in 1967 (6yrs old) untill now. I have so many demands on my time that I was no longer giving time to the sky and Argo Navis has given me my sky time back. So yes you do see more by star hoping and when I have time I will do it, but I will also take full advantage of new tech seeing how it was the other new tech that has stolen my life and family from me and allows my higher ups to contact me at night, the weekend and on holidays. AAAAAAGH! :-)

Last edited by dsscse; 10-09-2008 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Capital letter input
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2008, 12:30 AM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Hi Eric,

Glad you are enjoying your Argo Navis and getting the hang of it. I think it's such a great piece of gear I own 2 of them

I just wanted to confirm Geoff's comments that levelling the base is a totally unneccessary step with the capabilities of Argo Navis. Just put the scope down somewhere and away you go. With some of the older DSC systems it was a requirement that the scope base be level. Not with Argo.

Quote:
But a tour of globular clusters in Tucana brought up NGC 121 which I hadn't seen before. Not surprising given NGC 104 (47 Tuc) is so close, it's hard to look elsewhere in the field of view!
NGC 362 (Caldwell 104) in Tucana on the Southern edge of the SMC is a wonderfull 6th magnitude globular that never gets the accolades it deserves because it has that other "searchlight" right near by

Cheers,
John B
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  #18  
Old 11-09-2008, 06:24 AM
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erick (Eric)
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Thanks John, yes, I'm clear now - no need to level.

NGC 362. I found it in my early binocular days and would always look for it - testing that I could locate it from memory. Big sister NGC 104 is overwhelming and stunning, but 362 is very nice itself and further away from NGC 104 than NGC 121.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2008, 08:05 PM
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Kevnool (Kev)
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Still havent given the AN a run yet Gary , I wish I could stop driving around the countryside ( i got home from Forbes today. )

This sat night is on the may be list if it dont eventuate it will have to wait till weekend after because driving off to Sydney again ( No i,m not a truck driver). I dont want to take it out the front yard as i want its first run to be out in the stix and memorable

Cheers Kev.
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2008, 08:35 PM
gary
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Thank you

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank those who posted. We greatly
appreciate your support and your kind words.

Best Regards

Gary Kopff
Managing Director
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
Phone +61-2-9457-9049
Fax +61-2-9457-9593
sales@wildcard-innovations.com.au
http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au
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