Laptops in the field (was Re: (IAAC) Re: Uranometria)

> I must admit, however, that I've never attempted to use a
> PC in the field.  It seems to me that the amount of light emitted by the
> screen - even in red-mode - would preclude full dark adaptation.  After
> I'd certainly be interested in hearing about anyone's experiences using
> PC's/laptops in the field.
> Clear skies,
> Don

Hi Don!

I place several layers of rubylith over the screen. I don't think my dark
adaptation is hurt anymore than by a red flashlight of sufficient brilliance
to illuminate your chart. But you may be right. I have not done an

My laptop will run on it's own battery for at least 2 hours (4 if I take out
the CD and buy a 2nd internal battery). I also use a heavy 34amp/hr
"jumpstart" like device with a small built-in inverter ($79). It'll go all
night and recharge from the truck or an AC outlet. Or I can run it literally
for nights at a time on a heavy deep cycle and the inverter. I have such a
beast as well for multi-night star parties. I use a soft sided cooler that
acts as a case for it as well as all the cables and inverter. So I never
forget any items needed. The computer (and SkyMap Pro) can flip, mirror,
scale, rotate, filter, add stars, remove stars, add objects, remove them,
identify objects, and find fields of view dare I say faster than one can
find the right chart in U2000 or MSA 2000. Plus it can give me instant
positions of asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects like Pluto, comets, and
more. No waiting for another night to compare fields of view.

Oh and one other item I should mention, I normally observe out at my club's
site where power is available. :)

Obviously I am true believer. :) I love the printed atlas, and as I said,
_always_ take U2000 with me "just in case". Funny, I have, and don't use,
GOTO on both my EQ mounts. I like the computer as my atlas, but not as my
telescope. Weird.

Clear, dark, and quiet skies,

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