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Stargazing Telescope and astronomy questions

  1. Dec 21, 2007 #1
    My friend has a telescope that I think is controlled with a motor. Does this kind of telescope have to be hooked up to a computer or something. Were going out to look at mars and I don't really know anything about setting up telescopes or anything. What kind of computer program would I need and is there a nice website out there that shows whats in the sky in my area at any given time and how to find it. I was looking at the sky chart at www.heavens-above.com and I'm not sure if thats it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2007 #2


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    Few telescopes need to be hooked up to a computer in order to be usable. We cannot tell you anything about how to set up the telescope, because you've told us nothing at all about it. Your best bet in terms of finding objects is to go to a bookstore for a copy of a printed star atlas, make or buy a dim red flashlight to read it, and bring it with you when you go out. You obviously won't need a star chart in order to find Mars, though -- it's hard to miss.

    - Warren
  4. Dec 21, 2007 #3
    Sorry, I don't know a lot about the telescope. I have never used it before. I don't understand how a telescope could have a motor on it and not be hooked up to some kind of computer with software to control it. I guess I should get more information then. thanks
  5. Dec 21, 2007 #4


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    Well, one kind of "motor" is simply a tracking motor, which just turns very slowly -- exactly once per day. It requires no electronics at all, but just a power supply.

    Other mounts have all kind of motors to aim the telescope, track objects in two dimensions, etc. These much more complex mounts do require some kind of computer control, but it's usually included with the telescope.

    Only a very small portion of "consumer level" astronomical equipment requires a PC to operate.

    - Warren
  6. Dec 21, 2007 #5
    Some telescopes have one or two motor drives. One being a declination drive, the other being right ascension.

    They can be manual or computer controlled. The older manual drives are simply geared to drive one revolution per day. The new computer controlled usually have a 'go to' mode where the motor drives will position the scope at a particular object, input by the user.

    Having a motor I assume the telescope is on an equatorial mount. This mount has to be adjusted to the observers latitude then has to be positioned to 'point' at Polaris the north star.

    After proper adjustments, one can point the telescope an object and the scope should drive to keep the object in view.

    So, in other words you could put the star 'Rigel' in the eye piece, leave, the return in an hour and the star should still be visible in the eye piece.

    However, you should still not have a problem using the scope moved manually and making observations.

    The big plus with using motor drives is astrophotography and making long exposures.

  7. Dec 21, 2007 #6
    good job wave form you said every thin i was thinking
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