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Alignment tips here...

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#1 werewolf6977

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 06:07 AM

Just a couple alignment tips here.

1/ if your Nexstar does not have index pointers for getting the ota orthagonal(perpendicular to the vertical axis of the mount) make some. It's easy, and speeds up the alignment process.

2/ Most of the time, a 2-star alignment well done is just as accurate as the auto-align, and simpler to do. No lat/long entries to do, no finding North. However, if you use the 2-star method, it will NOT goto the moon/planets unless you go into the Menu, and input date/time.

3/ Best Pair is a great little Windows app for determining the best alignment stars for a given time/evening.

4/ Speaking of Alignment Stars, don't do what I was doing, and assume that the ones the scope would choose are the best ones. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. Play with it a little. For example with my N8, the old Vega-Arcturus pair is OK if you want to explore in, and around Lyra, but Altair-Arcturus gives better accuracy in, and around Cygnus, and coincidentally U Major.

5/ This is a big secret here: You DON'T have to use the goto universally! Yes, it's a great tool, but not critical. Try it the old fashioned way. Find your brighter objects with the star-pointer/finderscope. Starhop with it. Have fun. Above all, keep you sense of humor alive.

6/ That star-pointer can be replace with a magnifying finderscope relatively cheaply. No batteries to mess with, and it can help tweak a missed goto into view.

Just some tips for newb, and oldster alike. Pete :jump:
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#2 square_peg

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 08:32 AM

...
3/ Best Pair is a great little Windows app for determining the best alignment stars for a given time/evening.
...

Just some tips for newb, and oldster alike. Pete :jump:

Is 'Best Pair' available as freeware/shareware somewhere?

#3 b1gred

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 12:31 PM

You can get "Best Pair" at http://www.ilangainc.com/bestpair/

It is "freeware" but they ask that you register it.

#4 werewolf6977

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 08:20 PM

Sorry about that, my bad. I got mine from Michael Swanson's Nexstar site. Address is www.Nexstarsite.com . Pete

#5 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 12:07 AM

Hi Pete,

Do you mean to say you got the software to suggest alignment stars at my site? If so, you were either suggesting Jean Piquette's program for generating suggested lists of alignment stars (found in the Downloads section) or NexStar Observer List which suggests stars on the Alignment Star Chart (which can also be printed - both the all sky charts and the suggested pairs). Both are freeware.

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
http://www.NexStarSite.com

#6 werewolf6977

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 05:33 AM

Michael, I was speaking of Mr. Piquette's software. Extremely useful piece of code. Thank you for chipping in here sir. I will of course defer to your expertise with the Nexstar Series. :bow: Pete

#7 werewolf6977

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 09:40 PM

Wow! Can I kill a thread, or what? Pete

#8 square_peg

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 10:35 PM

Sometimes us little dogs have to fill in till the big dogs get here. Mike is Da Man when it comes to Nexstars. His site got me off to a good start. Still refer back to it when I'm not on CN.

#9 werewolf6977

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 07:16 AM

I have gotten a lot of good stuff off of Mike's site. I just figured a sticky with what I know would be helpful. If any of y'all got any tips feel free to chip in. share the wealth! Pete :jump:

#10 square_peg

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 10:30 AM

Agreed. Yours is a great list of alignment tips and will be very helpful for Nexstar users. The order of the tips is correct, too. Make orthagonal marks and do two-star aligns. I made my marks shortly before the Table Mountain Star Party. With just a two-star alignment, every Messier Object I attempted was in the FOV (near center) of my 30mm Ultima at 33×. That method really works great.

One thing I might add to your list is the importance of aligning the red-dot star pointer. This is easily done during the daytime by using an 'artificial star' like the red light on top of a radio antenna tower. With the pointer properly aligned, most objects are easy to find without goto (much more fun). Carefully study the objects position on a star chart and aim your pointer accordingly. If it's not in the FOV, try drawing imaginary lines through neighboring stars to more accuratlely place the red dot. This will help you learn the constellations and the names of stars to use in future two-star alignments.

Great thread, Werewolf! :waytogo:

#11 markf

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 05:06 PM

4/ Speaking of Alignment Stars, don't do what I was doing, and assume that the ones the scope would choose are the best ones. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. Play with it a little. For example with my N8, the old Vega-Arcturus pair is OK if you want to explore in, and around Lyra, but Altair-Arcturus gives better accuracy in, and around Cygnus, and coincidentally U Major.


Pete,

Can you expand on this? Is GOTO only acurate for certain constellations, depending on the alignment stars you choose?

Mark

#12 werewolf6977

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 06:39 PM

Mark see my response to your next post.

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 12:57 PM

Is there any way I can find out the Latitude and Longitude of where I live? For when I Align My scope?

#14 rustynpp

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:52 PM

Is there any way I can find out the Latitude and Longitude of where I live? For when I Align My scope?


I love this site. It's amazing how useful it is.

http://www.zipinfo.c...rch/zipcode.htm

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 02:01 PM

Is there any way I can find out the Latitude and Longitude of where I live? For when I Align My scope?


I love this site. It's amazing how useful it is.

http://www.zipinfo.c...rch/zipcode.htm



Thanks, I should have said but I live in England so I can't use that site! Thanks anyway :)

#16 werewolf6977

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 02:42 PM

I think Skies Above can help. run a Google, and see what you find. Pete

#17 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 02:57 PM

X: 419400m Y: 560000m
Lat: 54:56:03N (54.9343) Lon: 1:41:53W (-1.6981)


Thats what I get but how do I enter that into my HC as it displays a differnt format.

#18 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 08:27 AM

I think you have what you need there. 54 deg, 56 min 3 sec North, 1 deg, 41 min, 53 sec W.

FYI - for simple coordinate conversions, I use this freebie.. http://www.mentorsof...ie/FREE1198.HTM

#19 haleymon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 01:47 PM

This was a GREAT thread I leard quite a bit

Thanks Guys

Dave

#20 Chris Emley

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:42 AM

You oughta try Google Earth (a free download from Google). I gives aerial surveys of most of the globe. I found my own backyard on it, centered the cursor on the concrete pad where I set up to stargaze, and read the very precise coordinates. Sure improved my Goto results!

#21 HughBoy

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 06:14 PM

Mike has updated the info on alignment to include the later models/versions (with SkyAlign, etc.).

http://www.nexstarsi...lignmentFAQ.htm

Also, there's a helpful PDF: "The NexStar Alignment Guide".

#22 amys

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:41 PM

you can get lat/ long for your zipcode or town at http://www.zipinfo.com and for your street address at www.geocode.com.

#23 JHollJr

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 06:48 AM

Strangely enough, when I enter my coordinates from Google Earth the goto isn't as good as when I enter the city that is about 4 miles south of me. Go figure.

#24 Leo1

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:47 AM

I purschased my NexStar 8i in October 2003. I still use the same handset that came with the scope. I did purchase the CN11 GPS. I've heard about the newer handsets and claims that they are better for the alignment. But when I research into it, it just seems that my old one is better???? I only have to turn it on and press align. The scope then levels the OTA and slews to the north. Makes contact with the satelites and receives time and location. It then automatically slews to the first alignment star where I center it in the star finder and press enter then I center it in the eyepiece and press align. It then slews automatically to another star and I repeat the centering and press : align. It then says to wait a moment while it analyises the information then it will tell me "alignment successful" or "unsuccessfull. Ninety-eight percent of the time it will be a successfull alignment. This just seems a little easier to do than the newer ones????? :grin:

#25 b1gred

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:50 PM

I think the biggest difference in the old "north and level" and the new "sky align" systems, as far as accuracy of alignment are pretty small. The biggest difference between the two is with the older style you have to be able to identify the star that the scope THINKS it's slewing to and then center it up. With the new version you just center up any two prominent objects in the sky (stars, planets, or a combination of both) and it figures out what you've pointed at for you and does the alignment.






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