Since getting the equatorial platform, my observing has changed quite a bit.
used to have casters mounted on thhe bottom of my mount and just roll
my scope out into the driveway and observe away. I was very pleased to
be able to go from nothing to observing in minutes.
those days are over. I had to remove the casters and put the original
feet back on so the scope will sit on the EQ platform. That means going
through a multi-step process to get from nothing to observing.
1) Lay out the EQ platform and rough align it. Takes perhaps 2 minutes or less.
2) Take my scope off of the mount and put it on the ground
3) Put the scope mount on the platform
4) Put the scope on the mount
5) Fine tune the tracking
There is way more if I want to try and take a picture. I won't go into that though.
Observing Quality - very significant
I will say this though: the quality of observing is absolutely worth every extra minute of setup time.
been observing again for every clear night (5 or 6 of them in the past
few weeks). I have toyed with taking pictures, learned more about
dialing in my EQ patform, and for the most part, observed
favorites from the past 2 years looking at them afresh.
sure it is true that the EQ platform makes all the difference. I see
far more detail then I did before. I can use more power than before. I
can take in an object longer than before.
tonights observation session I could see the faint, tiny shadow of
Europa transiting the great planet. I could see more detail in the
storm bands then I've ever seen before. And tonights seeing conditions
were ony mediocre at best.
M29 - Cooling Tower Cluster
I looked at M29 at 300 power. I've never done that before. At that
power I saw more stars then I realized were in that cluster. From an
open cluster standpoint, I was never much impressed by M29 but
tonight's session made a big difference. It is a wonderful object to
view and has much more shape and character then I'd ever noticed before.
M57 - Ring Nebula
Not on this night, but last week I was looking at the Ring
Nebula at 400 power and for the first time I saw the central star. And
it was using *my* scope, from *my* backyard! Without the tracking I may
never have seen it.