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Nexstar 8se - First Light

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#1 ben2112

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

All I can say is WOW!!! What a great scope. I couldn't do the auto align because I don't know my stars and were I was located in my front yard. I couldn't see Polaris due to my house being in the way. My daughter was getting kind of antsy. So I was like, forget it. I'll just do it the kind of old fashion way. I pulled out Google Sky Map. Found out where Jupiter was and slew the scope over to where Jupiter was. After doing some slewing around, I found Jupiter :jump: :cool: :thewave:. And I was like "WOW!!". I put in my 15mm eye piece and got pretty close. I showed my daughter. She looked and then looked as me with her jaw dropped. She then ran into the house and got mom. By the time the wife came out, Jupiter moved so I had to switch eye pieces and found Jupiter again. The wife was like, "WOW!!" We viewed Jupiter for a little while manually following it. Then we decided to find something else. So we slewed over to Orion and found M42. We put in the 32mm eye piece and was completely amazed. We followed it for a while. I had to stop because my back was really hurting. So my next purchase is going to be an observing chair. Also, the wife asked me if there were wider viewing eye pieces. I told her yes. I want to go to 2in eye pieces and get a nice 40mm. She asked how much. I told her it would be like $250 to $300 for a nice one. She said, we need to get that.

I wish I could have stayed out all night long. It's 49 here so the cold wasn't that bad. Just my back was giving up the ghost.

Just for the 1 1/2 hours of viewing, it was worth it. Not only is my daughter very interested, but the wife is interested in it also.

Also, I need to get some blinds. The cars coming and going from my neighborhood was kind of annoying. Thinking of building something out of PVC and some tarps or black plastic.

#2 ke4kso

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:59 PM

Hi Ben you know you can do a solar system align on Jupiter, and if your tripod is level it will track pretty well, and get you close to the other objects you want to view, other objects may not be in the eyepiece with solar align but very close. and it will take you right back to Jupiter when you tell it to. David

#3 Midnight Dan

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:18 PM

Great first light report! Glad you got the whole family excited. :waytogo: Always good to have some support! Sounds like you're hooked! :grin:

-Dan

#4 Thanatos78621

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:40 AM

The 8SE is a great telescope to start with. I bought one last year and loved it (since upgraded to an NS11GPS). I'm in the market for a viewing chair as well since I have a bad back and the pain after a few hours of viewing can be distracting.

#5 ben2112

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:34 AM

I did some research and looked around the net. I have decided that I am getting the Stardust Observing Chair. I like the locking ladder setup more then a friction one. Already got permission to order on next payday.

I just can't get that image of Jupiter out of my head this morning. I can't wait to get to a darker area so I can see other great objects. I am so hooked now. I have decided to keep the scope in the garage covered up so I can drag it out on clear nights. Mars and Saturn are my next planets I want to see..

#6 Peter9

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:08 AM

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your report. Good to see that all the family are getting involved.
Persevere with alignment. Once mastered, it will add so much more to your enjoyment.

Regards. Peter.

#7 Thanatos78621

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:42 AM

Jupiter is an amazing sight to see for the first time. I knew I made a good purchase last year when I saw Saturn for the first time with the 8SE.

This past week I took a couple of quick photos of M42 through my 'new to me' NS11GPS and that was pretty amazing as well.

Its a hobby worth getting into and I'm glad to hear the family is onboard as well.

#8 ben2112

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your report. Good to see that all the family are getting involved.
Persevere with alignment. Once mastered, it will add so much more to your enjoyment.

Regards. Peter.


Peter - I think that a lot of people get frustrated with the technology of these Goto scopes but aren't familiar enough with the heavens to use it manually or know how to manually use the scope. What kept me at it, besides my own interest, was for my daughter's interest. She was so excited about setting it up. I didn't want to let her down. But like a lot of people, they think these things can just magically find stars. They have this idea when they buy a GoTo scope that they can just set it up and VOILA!! It will magically start finding stars and planets. But that isn't the case. It has to get bearings on where you are located and then through calculations, it can then start finding objects in the sky. I am glad I understood that before I even bought the scope. Lots of research including reading a ton of posts here on Cloudynights. I had a grasp of the controls and understanding how it worked before I even set it up. The only thing that I had to adjust to when I was manually adjusting the scope for objects in the eye piece was the direction I was adjusting. Down on the controller was up, left was right. But that was very minor, I was able to over come that pretty quickly. I will be keeping my eye on the weather. I can't wait to get out there again. Even though I am in a light pollution *BLEEP* hole, I can still enjoy what objects I can see.

#9 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

Ben
You can do an alignment without pointing at any star. From the alignment menu, select One Star Align. Select Polaris as your target then slew the scope to true north and elevate to an angle equal to your latitude. Hit Enter then Align and you're finished. Be sure that your time and location are entered correctly.

#10 hopskipson

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:21 AM

I've used the 3 star auto align plenty of times w/o any issues. You don't need to know the names of the stars you are pointing at, just keep away from planets.

Glad to see you had a good first light and your family is supportive.

#11 jturie

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

I did some research and looked around the net. I have decided that I am getting the Stardust Observing Chair. I like the locking ladder setup more then a friction one. Already got permission to order on next payday.

I just can't get that image of Jupiter out of my head this morning. I can't wait to get to a darker area so I can see other great objects. I am so hooked now. I have decided to keep the scope in the garage covered up so I can drag it out on clear nights. Mars and Saturn are my next planets I want to see..


Great first light report, and I'm glad you are excited about your new toy. I love my 6SE, and am glad I picked it as my first telescope. Regarding a cheaper alternative for an observing chair:

http://www.bhphotovi...u=253081&Q=&...

A couple of folks have recommended this item. It's a lot cheaper, and the $$$ you save will go a long way to that dark hole that is eyepieces.

The auto two-star align works well....just take a few minutes to become familiar with some of the brighter stars, and you'll be slewing around in no time. Good luck

#12 Skip

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

+1 on James' comment, except I don't think it is called "3 star auto align". At least I've never seen it like that. I think it is called "Sky Align". But it doesn't matter what you call it - do as James says, any three bright stars (not planets). Some have had lousy luck with Sky align, I've had very good results with it.

Another thought would be to download Stellarium (free). Using that to learn the location of one bright star that is up at the time you want to observe. Then when you go out use the Auto 2 Star Align (A2SA) method. With that all you need to know is the location of that first star (which you got from Stellarium) and the name of one star close to the other side of the sky, which you can also get from Stellarium (you don't need to know its exact location). The A2SA is the most reliable and popular alignment method used by all of us on this forum. It won't take you long to get it down pat. The whole process from switching the scope on until alignment is complete is ~ 2 minutes.

BTW, Saturn is up early in the morning right now. If you liked Jupiter, you will LOVE Saturn!! So will the wife and daughter.

Mars is almost directly on the other side of the sun right now, so up during the day and not visible. I believe it will be visible this fall early in the morning. Also, it is quite a distance from Earth and a very small target. Shoot, at its closest it is still small - tiny little planet, but still fun to look at when closest.

#13 ben2112

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:24 PM

+1 on James' comment, except I don't think it is called "3 star auto align". At least I've never seen it like that. I think it is called "Sky Align". But it doesn't matter what you call it - do as James says, any three bright stars (not planets). Some have had lousy luck with Sky align, I've had very good results with it.

Another thought would be to download Stellarium (free). Using that to learn the location of one bright star that is up at the time you want to observe. Then when you go out use the Auto 2 Star Align (A2SA) method. With that all you need to know is the location of that first star (which you got from Stellarium) and the name of one star close to the other side of the sky, which you can also get from Stellarium (you don't need to know its exact location). The A2SA is the most reliable and popular alignment method used by all of us on this forum. It won't take you long to get it down pat. The whole process from switching the scope on until alignment is complete is ~ 2 minutes.

BTW, Saturn is up early in the morning right now. If you liked Jupiter, you will LOVE Saturn!! So will the wife and daughter.

Mars is almost directly on the other side of the sun right now, so up during the day and not visible. I believe it will be visible this fall early in the morning. Also, it is quite a distance from Earth and a very small target. Shoot, at its closest it is still small - tiny little planet, but still fun to look at when closest.


I am going to try the Sky Align and the others tonight. I have Stellarium. I use it to help plan my nights viewing. That is how I knew Jupiter was going to be available for viewing. It's going to be partly cloudy tonight, but I am still willing to give it a try. I am also going to use an old task chair with a missing back as a chair tonight.

#14 hopskipson

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

Your right Sip it's Sky Align. I couldn't think of the name. And after you get a confirmed alignment you can get the names of the stars you used by pressing undo and then scroll with the 6 and 9 buttons

#15 ben2112

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

Well.. It's super cloudy out tonight.. So I am not going to the scope out. It's also going to do nothing but rain for this week.. But if the weather channel is right, next weekend should be nice. So I'll set it up again then.

#16 Skip

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

Your right Sip it's Sky Align. I couldn't think of the name.



:lol: I had exactly the same problem. For me, old age I guess. Like when you walk into a room and stand there looking around trying to figure out what you came in there for? It took me several minuites to remember it was called Skyalign. And then I wasn't sure. :p :gramps:

#17 ben2112

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

I know the feeling. It's terrible when you start getting old.

I did play around with the different alignments indoors. I think I am ready for next time. I also got the scope working with my laptop.

#18 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

I do own a Stardust...BUT check this one out from Amazon a fellow club member purchased...

I honestly can not see any difference between the 2 chairs ether structurally of cosmetically...

http://www.amazon.co...p/B0052PJF5E...

Darn good buy if you ask me...I'm thinking of buying one so I can have 2 chairs in the observatory ...one on each side of the scope...(Ok I'm lazy...lol)

Bob G.

#19 BigC

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:07 PM

I do own a Stardust...BUT check this one out from Amazon a fellow club member purchased...

I honestly can not see any difference between the 2 chairs ether structurally of cosmetically...

http://www.amazon.co...p/B0052PJF5E...

Darn good buy if you ask me...I'm thinking of buying one so I can have 2 chairs in the observatory ...one on each side of the scope...(Ok I'm lazy...lol)

Bob G.

I can understand not wanting to pick up the chair each time you change viewing positions.

Anyway,I have just ordered one of the V chairs.Way more than I normally would spend on such a minimalist chair but am really tired of back pain during or after observing.Funny thing is there are several very good scopes here that cost(used) less than this chair!!!

But perhaps viewing comfort will be worth it.My resin lawn chair works well for only a limited portion of the sky.

#20 BigC

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

Ben,

Sounds like you are off to a great start.

My first views through an 8SE were very nice ,and I used SkyAlign because I didn't know the stars.

It is terrific that your wife and daughter are interested.

#21 ben2112

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

BigC - How did the SkyAlign work when you used it?

#22 hamdul

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:23 PM

Ben,
Somewhere in the archives is an article by "Tel" on alignment. It has Great tips on thing to do that are not clearly explained elswhere. I know it helped me a lot. I'll look around an see if I can find it. If I do I'll post it to you.
Fred

#23 BigC

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

SkyAlign work(s)(ed) well for me.

#24 hamdul

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

Ben,
Here's that alignment articl be Tel that I mentioned previously -

Both Francois and Mark have provided excellent suggestions and tips on how to improve the GoTo accuracy of your Nexstar 8SE. For my part, I'm not exactly sure what I can add in these terms so perhaps the best I can do is take you through the whole setting-up and follow-up procedures which I (personally) find, works extremely well for me.

Before starting, you need to balance your 'scope tube away from the mount.

Having therefore placed all accessories, (finder, diagonal, eyepiece etc.) on the tube, rest it on a pencil on a flat, (table top), surface and find the point at which it balances. Mark the point and replace the tube on the mount arm so that there is a little fore-end weight bias.

Now with your 'scope switched on, select "Menu" and then "Scope Set-Up". Press "Enter" and then, by toggling either the 6 or 9 button, find "GoTo Approach".

Press "Enter" to find the "Azm Approach" which must be set to POSITIVE. Then similarly, find the "Alt. Approach" Approach". This might be set to NEGATIVE, the default setting. If it is not on default, set it so. You can always change it following experimentation at a later date. The purpose of this exercise is to get you up and running NOW !

As already mentioned, you now need to ensure that your antibacklash settings are optimised for both the altitude and azimuth axes.

To achieve this, (and the operation can be carried out in broad daylight),keep you 'scope loaded with all usual accessories, (finder, diagonal, eyepiece etc.), level it and, as Venus is currently available in the daytime sky, perform a "Solar System Align" on this planet.

Note there is no need to seek it out, you are merely trying to achieve "Align Success" on the screen of your hand controller. This will ensure the 'scope is tracking which is necessary to antibacklash adjustment.

Thus just point your 'scope to approximately where you think Venus to be at the (daytime) time and date you have entered, press "Enter" and "Align" buttons and your 'scope will be tracking thereafter.

Now slew your 'scope around and focus it on a distant brick wall or a tiled (shingled) roof. The idea behind using a brick wall or tiled area of a roof is to provide an improvised grid pattern on which to work.

Now select "Menu" and by means of pressing either the 6 or 9 button, select "Scope Set-Up". Press "Enter" once again and use the 6 or 9 to toggle to "Antibacklash". Press "Enter" once again.

Let's assume that "Azm. Positive" appears on your hand controller's screen.

Press "Enter". A figure between 0-99 will be seen on your screen.


Set your slew rate to 3 or 4 and then move your scope HORIZONTALLY ONLY across the brick or tiled grid pattern noting how long it takes before the 'scope begins to move, whether the movement is at all jerky in its action and whether, when you have traversed the grid by a reasonable distance, the motion stops when you take your finger off the direction button.

Move the 'scope several times back and forth across the grid in order to get a "feel" for what how it responds. If the drive take up is exceptionally slow, (and allow a few seconds here and there), or the motion is jerky either on drive take up or on stopping, adjust the shown figure in say, increments of 5.

When you are satisfied that you have a smooth action, that there is no great delay in drive take-up and that your 'scope stops when you take your finger from the direction button, then "Enter" the figure you have chosen and move to "Azm. Negative", repeating the exercise once more.

You should have now set both the Azm. Positive and Negative antibacklash.

Now move to adjusting the Alt. Positive and Negative antibacklash in exactly the same way but this time, moving the 'scope tube ONLY UP and DOWN. You will however probably find that the vertical (altitude) axis is much more sensitive in its response to adjustment of the Positive and Negative figures.

The above should now put you in a position to make accurate alignments.

ALIGNMENT:

Choose the "Auto Two Star" method. (This method appears by concensus, to be the most reliable).

Thus with your 'scope tube pointing North and with the mount arm on your left as you stand behind the instrument. Switch on your 'scope and enter all relevant data, Time, Date etc. (I assume from your previous posts that you are acquainted with the procedure and the necessity for the relevant accuracy here).

Irrespective of what your hand controller offers, choose Polaris as your first star. (I make the assumption that you can see it). If it is not the first star on offer, you will need to toggle either the 6 or 9 buttons to produce it on screen.

Now locate it in your finder and, having done so, press "Enter". You should now see it in your eyepiece, (a 25mm will be quite sufficient), although it may not be in focus.

Keep it defocused as I think Francois suggested, so that it looks rather like a large doughnut. This shape allows you to centralise it in your eyepiece far more easily since your eye is very susceptible to the concentricity of rings.

Thus, by comparing the position of the doughnut with the edge of the field of view, you should be able to centre it very accurately.

However, the doughnut may not be in the the centre to start with. No matter ! Using the direction buttons on the hand controller, move it to the bottom left quadrant of your eyepiece.

Now from this position, move it right and upward to centralise. If you overshoot, take it back to the bottom left quadrant and begin again. When you are satisfied that you have it centralised it, press "Align" and you will be offered your second alignment star.

This star should be between 30 and 70 degrees in altitude and at least 90 degrees from your first choice; Polaris.

Let's assume it has chosen or that you have chosen Altair.

Press "Enter" and your 'scope will automatically slew to this star. If it "lands" nowhere in the vicinity of Altair you will know immediately that something is wrong, but all being well it should be near. Now merely go through the same procedure as you did when aligning Polaris and you should have a good alignment.

Note that your 'scope will be now tracking in sidereal time and that the "Cordwrap" feature will now be "On" by default. (I choose to operate with it "Off" but I leave that to you. If you leave it "On", you may need to set a "No Cross Line").

Now for the GoTo and tracking performance of your 'scope.

If your alignment has been successful, any object you "GoTo" should be within the field of view of a 25mm eyepiece although not necessarily in its centre. Thus if you wish to bring it to centre, (as is normal), use the same movement (bottom left to the right and up) as used when you aligned, to do so.

There is a caveat however:

This procedure should keep your 'scope tracking well when operating between North and South through East but you may find that objects may begin to slip from the field of view in very short time when operating the 'scope between South and North through West. If this occurs, simply align or realign the "slipping" object by placing it in the UPPER left quadrant of the eyepiece and recentralising it by moving it to the right and DOWN.

I have attached the paper describing this method and its effects to this post which I hope will help you further.

Hoping though that this helps overall,

Best regards,
Tel

#25 ben2112

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

Thanks Hamdul. I'll do the setup part tomorrow during the day to make sure things are setup properly. Then I'll do the alignment part when I get another clear night.






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