Last updated: 30 April 2004

This is a "User Opinions" page where YOU can express YOUR opinions. Contributions are welcome of course.

Subject:	EX. 70 AT
Sent:	Saturday, April 24, 2004 14:52:23
From:	"Terry Byatt" (
As an old man (60 years) what's wrong with throwing out all the ETX "Go
to" stuff buying "Norton's Star Atlas" and really leaning the night

Or, are we now breeding a generation that needs setting circles to find
the Moon! ;-)

Give me a clear sky (now rare) and a good telescope mount and you can
throw away the batteries and the plastic gears!!!

It seems to me on visiting your website (you are doing a great job) that
most people should spend less time worrying about alignment and software
updates and more time actually looking through the eyepiece!!



"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned
skyward for there you have been, and there you long to return"

 Leonardo da Vinci

Mike here: Yes, learning the night sky pays many dividends, not the least of which is more fun. But society today demands instant satisfaction and that is what the GOTO telescopes try to provide. But as one who learned the night sky back in the 1950s and 1960s, I can say my enjoyment is certainly enhanced by knowing my way around.
Subject:	Go to telescopes
Sent:	Monday, April 26, 2004 03:51:35
From:	"Terry Byatt" (
Thanks for reply.

Yes, you are right we live in an age when people must have it NOW!
Hence, the need for Go To telescopes and not having to learn the night

I, like you, learnt my night sky in the late 50's & 60's Happy days J

In many respects, I think some of the fun has gone out of back yard
astronomy. Now it's "You can see it all" if you throw enough money at
it! To my mind what's the point of using the telescope to get digital
images from a web cam etc.. Put your eye to the scope and see it for
real and leave the pretty pictures to the professional scopes.

But then, I'm just an old dinosaur.

Have to go to get my speculum re-polished ;-)


Subject:	"Goto" - do we need it?
Sent:	Monday, April 26, 2004 15:25:55
From:	"Niall Saunders" (
Hi Terry,

I think that the BIGGEST advantage of the new breed of 'GoTo' telescopes
is that they actually get people OUT of their sofas and armchairs and
into their back yards and gardens.

For the last 25 years, I have had a miserable little 2.5" refractor that
has sat gathering dust wherever it has had the misfortune of having been
left. I have vague recollections of (laughingly) trying to use it to
observe the return of Halley's Comet (way back whenever) - but virtually
NO use since then.

However, spurned on by my next door neighbour's acquisition of a Meade
LXD55 8" SCT, I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming reacquainted with the
wonders of the night sky. I am now even more familiar with
constellations and DSOs than I ever was.


Because although it is (barely) possible to use a GoTo scope to skip
blindly (and often aimlessly) around the sky - it is also very
satisfying to be able to actually LOOK for something, knowing that the
effort you have put in to acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to
PROPERLY align and drive your new computerised scope is about to pay
off. I really doubt whether the 'average' user of a GoTo scope would be
able to POSITIVELY identify one of our asteroid neighbours, or a faint
comet, or be able to differentiate between Enceladus and some obscure
dot of starlight (for the uninitiated, Enceladus is one of Saturn's
moons - sometimes just visible at Mag 11.5).

Yes, in today's throwaway society, there are hundreds of folk who will
buy the latest ETX-gadget, use it a couple of times, and decide it just
wasn't worth all the time and trouble - and who will eventually move on
to another 'fad' hobby.

But, fortunately, their loss is often our gain - with the likes of eBay
full of tremendous telescopes at bargain prices. Ideal for those who
also want to perhaps try out a new hobby. And even better for those who
become 'hooked', and who then settle down to really use the tremendous
power their new 'toy' has to offer, soon realising that their scope is
more 'tool' than 'toy'.

Surely the quality of images in Mike's Visitor's Gallery is testament
enough to the dedication of at least some of these 'GoTo' users? And,
given the choice, would I want to regress back to a 'point and hope'
scope? No thanks. And, as I have also done many times, I can still
'star-hop' without using ANY power on the scope at all - just release a
bit of tension on the clutches and away we go.

No, the GoTo scope is here to stay - and has almost certainly not yet
come of age. Just wait until the next quantum leap in the processing
power arrives - with full feedback from (and PEC of) the drive axes.
Yes, at THAT point, folk might stop HAVING to know their way around the
sky - but it will surely just give yet others the ability to 'learn' the
sky to satisfy their own desire for knowledge.

Niall Saunders

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