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List of Alignment Stars, grouped by Constellation

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#1 Muleya

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:53 AM

I have attached a list of the Nexstar alignment stars in an Excel Spreadsheet that is grouped by Constellations. When I was out the other evening in my front yard where I rarely observe (more trees and too many lights), I could not find a spot in my yard where I could see Polaris AND the alignment stars I normally use. And as I scrolled down through the list in the Hand Controller, I didn't know most of them! Frustratingly, I could not find three I knew that I could see! And to boot, a neighbor had come over to join me...it was more than a little embarrassing!

So the nextg day I searched to find any list that grouped the alignment stars by Constellation, which seems to me the easiest way to identify a useful alignment star! So I looked up all the stars in the list and put them in an Excel Spreadsheet that I could then sort by Constellation. Then I also added the Greek Letter designation for each star so that I could easily find them in my Pocket Atlas, regardless of whether the name is shown on the atlas or not (and a number are not).

I thought perhaps someone else would benefit from this, so I have attached a copy. There are two worksheets, one for the first list, and then for the second list of stars on the other side of the meridian.

While I think it's pretty accurate, I do not guarantee it is error free, or that it lists every star in the Nexstar list. But since it's a spreadsheet, it can easily be modified! You can also let me know if you find errors and I'll be happy to correct and repost.

I will have to say, a couple of those stars are very hard to find...many did not show up in Sky Safari+ when searched for, and a number didn't even show up in a Google search! Almost no one references Mululizu...the more common name is Zuben Elakribi. Only after multiple searches did I find a page that referenced it as Mulu-lizi! Why the heck would Nexstar use such an obscure name??!! There were a couple other stars that I discovered had multiple names, and the one Nexstar showed did not seem to be the more common names. Made this process harder than it really needed to be!

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#2 Muleya

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:56 AM

And here is a PDF version, if you'd like it but can't open an Excel Spreadsheet. Of course, this is not editable, but like I said, I think it's fairly accurate. This is the first list

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#3 Muleya

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:01 AM

Here is the second list in PDF format.

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#4 mclewis1

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 05:27 PM

You mean a list like this? - http://www.nexstarsi...StarObjects.zip

Ok, you'll have to sort on the constellation column.

Nice addition of the Greek letter designations.

Not sure why C would add Mululizu as an alignment star ... it's awfully faint at mag 5.

#5 dmdouglass

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 08:49 PM

How very interesting...
Interesting because I have been researching this very issue, for much of the same reason as the OP...
By the way Jonathan... be careful about your lists, relative to the meridian.... that list would change every night with the sky rotation !

Anyway, a couple nights ago, i found this article on the Celstron website... Article ID: 2415
http://www.celestron...se&_a=viewar...

Quoting a portion of the text:

***************
Can all named stars listed in the hand control be used for alignment?

No. Only stars brighther than or equal to magnitude 2.5 (bright stars) can be used for alignments with Celestron’s NexStar computerized mounts.

Even though there are about 250 named stars in the hand control database, only 82 can be used for alignment and related tasks (calibration, etc.)

Here is the list:
*************************

At the bottom of the article is a link to download the entire list of the named stars: (There are 248, which is the other list referenced in the post above mine...)

http://downloads.cel...Named-Stars.xls

#6 Muleya

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:56 PM

Mark - I did see this list on the website, but it was just list on an html page, so couldn't be sorted. While marginally more helpful, still not quite what I was looking for. I did not see the spreadsheet...though that definitely would have saved me some time!!

David - I wondered if how those lists might change based on certain factors. I just turned on the Nexstar and listed all the stars that showed up for the first alignment star, then listed all those that showed for the last alignment star....though as I played around with it, the list did seem to change a little. But I'm not too worried about what's on the first list and what's on the second. I assume between the two lists, it covers most of the possible alignment stars and I should be able to find something useable!

It is interesting that article says there are only 82 that can be used as alignment stars, because every one of those on my two lists was a choice my hand controller provided specifically for alignment. My hand controller is Version 3, so maybe that has something to do with it??

Anyway, I don't expect my list to be infallible, but I do expect to find it helpful!

#7 Muleya

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:01 PM

Now I see Celestron has a link at the bottom of that article for the whole list as an excel spreadsheet! That really would have saved some time! Though I think I prefer having the Greek symbol rather than the name.

#8 mclewis1

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 12:12 AM

Interesting comment from Celestron ... because I've even used DSOs (Messier) for doing calibration, and they're an awful lot fainter than mag 2.5. I wonder if the comment is related to letting the HC choose a suitable star. I've just about always chosen my own alignment and calibration targets.

I use a Mallincam and can do alignments with many brighter DSOs (globulars for example) in a twilight sky (saving time). Of course stars are the preferred choice but there have been times when I've been viewing a DSO and used it to add to or update my calibration stars.

To aid my choices of alignment and calibration target stars I took a number of suitable (well spaced) named stars and identified them on a series of printed all sky maps, one for every two months. A quick glance at a suitable map and I'm ready to choose appropriate targets for my initial alignment (like most folks I have trees blocking some areas of my sky).

If you are using the Celestron sky maps printed at the back of the user manuals be careful of the July/August map. There's an error on that map that's been there for ages ... Navi in Cassiopeia is miss identified on that map.

Jonathon, There may have already been a few lists around (which would have indeed saved you some time) but your lists are indeed a benefit to many folks ... thanks for that.

#9 Muleya

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 08:24 AM

Thanks, Mark. I think marking the stars on maps like that is also a great idea. I may still do that. One reason I went this route, however, is that it's just two pages rather than a page for each month, or several pages at least. As it is I can just stick these in a page protector in my EP/Accessories case, which always has my atlas in it as well.

Anyway, ultimately I made them for myself and debated posting them here, but thought someone else might find them useful, too. If someone does, then great! :)

#10 TonyDralle

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:27 PM

Hi, Jonathan,

Thanks for a handy list!

The situation you found yourself in in your front yard -- trees and lights rendering much of the sky unidentifiable -- is one in which the Sky-Align alignment procedure is useful. You just align on three reasonably bright stars, whether you know their names (designations) or not. The mount will figure out what they are.

The other use for Sky-Align, of course, is for the beginner who doesn't know the star names at all.

- Tony

#11 Muleya

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the idea Tony, but unfortunately, I don't think my Version 3 HC has the Sky Align feature.

#12 evodev

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:12 PM

I just bought a Nexstar 5Se. I use my phone apps to identify my stars to help with the alignment. However, occasionally, I find the name list in the handset is not on the apps (Google Sky, Night Sky Tools, SkyView...). For instance, I tried doing a Precise Goto to Neptune and was asked to align with Acamar. I couldn't find it on the apps. Is there a specific naming convention these handsets use? Or is it just that these apps don't have that kind of detail. I usually find that Night Sky Tools is the most complete. Thanks.



#13 Beat-tu

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 02:02 PM

I like to use Best Pair http://www.ilanga.com/bestpair/ with the star list edited to show ones available in NexStar.


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#14 Tel

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 02:47 PM

HI Evodev and a very warm welcome to CN and to this forum. Congratulations also on getting your 5SE  :bow:  :bow: .

 

May I suggest you forget your iphone, apps, etc, etc. etc.. at least for the time being. If you are new to the workings of your 'scope, (and forget the promotion of this commercial link), here's a means by which you can set it up. It's written around the Celestron 8SE but is equally applicable to the 5SE.

 

http://www.cloudynig...&Number=6217911

 

and secondly, if you are not that familiar with the sky, may I further suggest you download the pure and simple, Stellarium Planetarium which will tell you precisely which stars and objects are in your particular sky at any time of day or night thus enabling you to choose your alignment stars etc. 

 

http://www.stellarium.org/en_GB/

 

These should get you up and running.

 

Best regards,

Tel


Edited by Tel, 17 December 2015 - 02:58 PM.


#15 evodev

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 01:50 PM

HI Evodev and a very warm welcome to CN and to this forum. Congratulations also on getting your 5SE  :bow:  :bow: .

 

May I suggest you forget your iphone, apps, etc, etc. etc.. at least for the time being. If you are new to the workings of your 'scope, (and forget the promotion of this commercial link), here's a means by which you can set it up. It's written around the Celestron 8SE but is equally applicable to the 5SE.

 

http://www.cloudynig...&Number=6217911

 

and secondly, if you are not that familiar with the sky, may I further suggest you download the pure and simple, Stellarium Planetarium which will tell you precisely which stars and objects are in your particular sky at any time of day or night thus enabling you to choose your alignment stars etc. 

 

http://www.stellarium.org/en_GB/

 

These should get you up and running.

 

Best regards,

Tel

 

Awesome, thanks for that great link to the tips on alignment!  I would actually describe myself as an advanced beginner. I had a small dept. store telescope as a kid and I pretty much got as much out of that as I could. Now in my middle age, I've been using binoculars for the past year, so my knowledge of the constellations is not bad. When it comes to knowing the names of the dimmer stars, I still need help from time-to-time.

 

I've actually been very successful using the scope out of the box, without making these adjustments mentioned in the post, but I will certainly study them! I've been consistently viewing both Uranus and Neptune in my partially obstructed, light polluted skies using the Auto Two Star method many posts on this site recommend. I read the manual front-to-back and I will often use the Sync option to dial in better accuracy for a part of sky. I also use the Precise Goto method if I'm having issues finding something. Sometimes, I will use the Precise Goto and it will mention a star I'm not familiar. I use the app, to quickly identify it, but several of them do not have the same names as what the handset has. So, my question is if anyone has tips, if the handset uses a name that I can't identify what's a quick way to translate it to to HIP etc.

 

On my computer, I've been using the SkyX FirstLight software that came with the scope, but I also have Stellarium. I have to disagree with you about the apps though, sorry. While they are not as good as Stellarium, the apps on the phone are great! I've learned quite a bit with them, so I'm not sure why your discouraging their use? They are sort of a substitute to printing out the sky charts on a dead tree, especially if they have a night mode. I'll probably use Stellarium, when I hook my laptop to the scope for some simple astrophotography.

 

Thanks again.

Steve



#16 Tel

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 03:35 PM

Hi Steve,

 

I hope the first link helps and please forgive me if I gave you the impression that I'm against the use of apps, iPhones iPads, this or that planetarium  etc.............................. I'm not.

 

Nevertheless, perhaps you'd agree that there are many problems here on CN which arise in aligning and operating our 'scopes whereby there is a great tendency to resort to all manner of "gizmos",( as I personally unflatteringly call them), to overcome them but which only succeed in complicating the diagnostic process ? It is for that reason alone, that I am largely prejudiced against their initial use.

 

These Nexstar 'scopes are designed to work, "straight out of the box" with the supplied equipment. If however, they fail to do so and there's no obvious mechanical or electrical fault with them, then the reason almost inevitably lies with the inexperience of the operator. That in itself is no great shakes but in order to get these 'scopes up and running, the application of "gizmos", in my view, often hinder rather than help. Problem solving is always best served by eliminating variables not compounding them.

 

In your case, I now understand your particular concerns more fully as a result of reading your post above, (#15). Many thanks and also my apologies for any misconceptions I might have had of what you were trying to achieve..

 

Good luck with the set-up and the tuning !

 

Best regards,

Tel



#17 evodev

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 04:29 PM

I like to use Best Pair http://www.ilanga.com/bestpair/ with the star list edited to show ones available in NexStar.

 

Great link.Thanks! It looks like that helps more with the Meade scopes, but I saw this on that site that mentions the Nexstar line :

Note: Best Pair II is now superceded by another application (AstroPlanner) that contains all the Best Pair functionality and a lot more (including NexStar support, telescope control, polar alignment, etc.) .

 

http://www.astroplanner.net/



#18 Susan H

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 06:44 AM

Just to throw a monkey wrench in all of this... the new Sky Safari Pro 5 now has a link where you can download the alignment stars as an observation list to the app. Once downloaded they all can be highlighted for you on the app. Pretty cool new feature IMHO. 

 

Jonathan, thank you for all the work you've put into those lists, much appreciated. They are helpful when one doesn't have a tablet or computer to help with alignments. Just maybe a planetarium for starters.  :grin: .

 

clear skies. 


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#19 Ptkacik

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 05:41 PM

This is mind boggling.

When I got my CGEM-DX it blew me away that the mount wanted to align on bizarre star names AND Celestron had included pages of star charts but DID NOT include the named alignment stars. Every alignment star required a web search.

Then I went to Celestrons page and it said only a short 85 star list was used; however, my hand held asked for other stars beyond the 85.

I did the same thing and manually pieced together a list of star names and constellations and letters.

What is Celestron thinking? Why not at least put the crazy star names on their star charts?

Clear skies,
Peter


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