Again - another comment provided by previous users. Maybe small to some - but important enough to others. Maybe you?
> Tracking! This is what you wanted correct!? This is the most important feature. This is why the money will be spent!
Platform: track time will be from 35 - 90 minutes. Then you have to reset the platform. Using a DSC? Your DSC will need to support this reset need in order to stay aligned. Some would say - not that big a deal to move the scope, reset the platform, and re-acquire the object you were on (dang - and it took me sooo long to find it the first time!) and oh - does the platform your considering support latitude adjustment and if so by how much!? How is it done?
Do you really want to HAVE to change this JUST because you drove somewhere different?
ServoCAT: track time - always - anywhere you observe! Period. No resetting, no re-acquiring. Just use the scope as you intended.
Does this platform have GOTO capability? Not something youll use right? Not important to you - correct?
Or is it? Why not have this capability!? Why spend 60 - 100+% of the cost of a ServoCAT and NOT have this if you later DO choose to use it? GOTO any of your DSCs objects easily - up to 100,000+ objects or more! The ServoCAT supports FULL GOTO from either the Sky Commanders 9000+ object database, the Argo Naviss 30,000 object database or Megastar5s 100,000+ object database! (Now GOTO from The Sky, Astro Planner, Pilot Planet [PDA] and more.)
Slew Capability. (and for that matter Jog).
Can this platform Slew where you want to go? At speeds of 5 - 6+ degrees/ sec - with ease? Can you PROGRAM the speeds the scope moves - in REAL units - customized to YOUR scope and desires. Want to GUIDE at 4 arcmins/sec? Jog at 2 deg/sec, Slew at 5.3 deg/sec? Easily done with the ServoCAT. AND you have 2 sets of each to choose from (great for when you go to high power operation and want a slower GUIDE rate for example).
If you cannot find an object - the DSC is not aligned well enough in the area of interest... how do you find it?
Give up and go on? Move around, and around, and... how well does that work - really? The ServoCAT adds a Spiral Search capability that will glide its way in an ever widening spiral - at a constant linear speed and path width! Two speeds/paths available (for different field sizes!). This will cover as much as 6 full degrees of sky search area if left to finish the spiral. Great for both finding objects or for exploring areas of the sky that are interesting (North American, Virgo, Sagitarius, etc). [You can also use the Local Sync feature built into the ServoCAT to provide high accuracy in an area of the sky].
There is nothing better for serious large DOB owners than to have a program like Megastar ONLINE at the scope showing EXACTLY what you should be able to see - exactly what is there AND nearby. EVEN to the extent of showing REAL images! This will increase your ability to find faint fuzzies to the extreme. Increase your enjoyment level. Increase your friends enjoyment level as well the public standing there in line - wondering what they will be looking at... try it once - you will love it. NOTE: If you have a platform with a DSC you will also be able to provide planetarium support - so there are no differences there. It is mentioned here as it is so nice! And if using Megastar 5 you can click on an object and do a GOTO from there (oops-sorry that leaves the Platform out again.)
Yeah, but what happens when the batteries go dead? What then? What then indeed! How about flick a toggle release clamp and your back to EXACTLY the same scope as without the motors and gearboxes installed! If an Obsession - you are FULLY back to its normal buttery feel. NOTHING to drag, nothing to hinder using it this way - AND you STILL have your alignment in your DSC!
Public Viewing Sessions
Do a lot of public viewing? The CAT provides you with another neat feature. What invariably happens when you have an object in view, a long line waiting to see it... and then the little 6 year old gets up there and PUSHES the scope away! What then? With the CAT all you need to do is push a handpad function and the scope automatically returns to where it was! No re-searching, no holding everyone up. No getting back on the ladder even!
Considering a Platform? (continued)