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Alignment tips here...

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350 replies to this topic

#51 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 11:49 AM

Perhaps I've missed this elsewhere, but is there any way of refining the alignment during a session? If it brings the intended target in slightly off centre, can you then update it? I know you can sync stuff for hard to find things, but is this the same thing?

Also, if I put some AA batteries in just in case I pull my power lead out, but never use them to pwer the scope, could I leave it turned on all the time so I don't have to keep putting the correct time in when I align? I don't have a watch you see. I'm too poor. I live in a shoebox.

#52 b1gred

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 12:35 PM

You can "update" alignments, when you get to an object, just hit "align" again and it'll guide you through the process.

As to the batteries, if you leave the power on with the AAs in, they'll end up discharged pretty quickly.

#53 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 02:33 PM

Thanks...sounds fairly straightfoward! I just wondered with the batteries if they weren't being used to slew the scope, whether they'd last for weeks. I thought I was asking too much. I'll buy a watch.

#54 meanbean

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 09:03 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new to Cloudy Nights-and to my new 8SE. Do I have to do an alignment if I'm not going to use the GoTo feature? Will it still track properly?

#55 Skip

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:27 AM

meanbean,

I have a 6SE but it uses the same mount and controls as the 8SE. Yes, if you want it to track you will have to do an alignment. You can aim it at an object and use the slew buttons to keep it on target, but that is very clumsy. The good news is - alignments are easy! :grin: I prefer the auto two star, but SkyAlign works pretty well too. I have used the solar system align when looking at Jupiter and the Moon, but if you are going to go for deep sky stuff, that's not very accurate.

#56 Skip

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:29 AM

Oh, and welcome to CN. Great bunch of very helpful folks.
:grin: :jump:

#57 meanbean

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:10 AM

Thank-you Skip for the welcome and for the info. Yes, the 2 star alignment has worked well and I have even used a 1 solar system align to view Saturn this week in the east and it seemed to track okay.
In reading through all the threads on this website I find it most informative and everyone really shares their experience and tips.

#58 b1gred

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:32 PM

Welcome meanbean!

A solar align works great if you have an accurate location entered and very accurately center the object.

#59 meanbean

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 06:38 PM

So noted, I will keep that in mind. Thank-you.

#60 Cenk

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:13 PM

Here are my tips, from my own experience on a Nexstar 6SE.

1) Mount the OTA the correct way on the mount. Match up the markers on the mount. You know it is mounted right when the OTA is flush against the mount and not raised in any way.

2) Level your OTA. Use a spirit level on the centre of the mount. This is sufficient for alignment.

3) Set your coordinates or city within 50 miles. Make sure the time and date are as correct as possible. Noting that the date is in US format. I am 40 miles from London, choosing London works perfectly.

4) Use SkyAlign or Auto 2 Star. Use 25mm or 15mm eyepieces. Doesnt matter which objects you choose as long as they are a fair distance away from each other.

5) Center the object with your (correctly aligned) finderscope (or any other finder), hit enter. Then align with your eyepiece. The right/up and right/down didn't make any difference to me. Just align did the trick.

That's all. Oh apart from the Moon nearly blinded me in one eye !

Thanks.

#61 alser2

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 12:50 PM

just wanted to thank you for that advice, i have google earth and never thought of doing that. i used the coordinates for my celestron the sky software. i use a firstscope 114 eq. literall y my firstscope. anyway thanks for that!

#62 alser2

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 04:12 AM

hi all i was on a few monhs back about deciding on a nexstar 6 se, well i am glad to say i went for and i love it. the view of jupiter i got sunday morning at 430 am was well worth the lack of sleep!
i used google earth to get longitude and latitude, try downloading that. just find your address in it. it even has google sky within the application, for space exploring.get it!

#63 alser2

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 09:12 AM

hi, if i want to get and use a solar filter for the nexstar 6se, how do i actually use the scope during the day. do i need the moon in the sky as well as the sun so as to do a solar system align? thanks

#64 Tel

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 10:53 AM

Hi Alan,

And if I haven't said so before, a warm welcome to CN.

In answer to your question, you do not need the Moon in the sky since you can align your 'scope directly on the Sun itself taking of course all precautions necessary to avoid looking directly at it through the 'scope or indeed through the finder. (I won't try to teach you how to suck eggs over that one) !

The mode of operation however is first to go into Utilities and page to "Sun Menu". Here you need to make sure that "Allow Sun" is selected otherwise at no time and as a safety precaution, will you be able to access the Sun.

Having "Allowed" the Sun onto the menu (solar system list), all you then need to perform is a standard solar system align.

I won't say that tracking is brilliant in this case and that a GoTo to nearby say, Venus or Mercury will be spot on in view of the fact you've aligned on one single, large target, but for solar viewing and imaging it works well.

I can't remember if the tracking rate moves automatically from the normal sidereal to solar rate but you can easily check that by going to the menu and accessing "Tracking".

If you need any further help please let us all know but hopefully this will put you right.

Best Regards,
Tel

#65 alser2

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 05:47 AM

thanks tel, last time i was here i was asking about getting the celestron 6 se and i got great advice, and the advice never stops, what a great site! i will try what you say then, might as well ignore the finderscope so and just get the sun in the scope itself, thanks. i wouldnt expect tracking to work for mercury etc anyway, just wanted to get the sun up and running so to speak. over time i hope to improve my skill and the telescope's tracking and goto abilities.

#66 THEPLOUGH

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 06:27 AM

Alser2. If you look on the FORUM page at the top right hand side you will see an area marked POST. If you then go into that it will set you up with your own blank page on which to enter your own post... Not too say you can't post here but you have more chance of replies/answers if you start your own thread/topic..... HAS you can see by the title, this thread is about aligning scopes so not many people will be looking at it.... Hope this helps in pointing you in the right direction.. ;) :bow:

#67 Tel

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 07:06 AM

thanks tel, last time i was here i was asking about getting the celestron 6 se and i got great advice, and the advice never stops, what a great site! i will try what you say then, might as well ignore the finderscope so and just get the sun in the scope itself, thanks. i wouldnt expect tracking to work for mercury etc anyway, just wanted to get the sun up and running so to speak. over time i hope to improve my skill and the telescope's tracking and goto abilities.


Hi Alan,

Use of the finder, as you appreciate, is right out of the question unless you've got a filter fitted over the object lens. In any event the finder should be removed even if not used as the same heat is hitting it as would be directed at an unprotected main OTA. It will in all probability be damaged as a result of such unprotected exposure.

In my ignorance, I used to line up on the Sun by allowing its rays to enter the OTA and hit upon a white piece of card. I would then immediately slap on the filter, attach an EP, centralise all and get the alignment up and running. I subsequently learned that even a brief spell of unprotected heat can and will damage the 'scope. (In fact I should have read the manual more thoroughly) !

Nowadays therefore, I just point the OTA plus Sun filter and devoid of finder, in the general direction of the Sun and project the shadow onto my white card. With a little manipulation the Sun's image will appear somewhere in the EP. I then just centralise it and complete the "Solar System Align".

Best regards,
Tel

#68 alser2

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 08:36 AM

thanks theplough, will keep that in mind for future posts. tel, good advice thanks, i will cover the finderscope with the cardboard box an eyepiece came in, it fits over it nicely. now all i need IS the solar filter, i'll get it soon.

#69 Tuco

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 06:35 PM

Hi, my wife and I are new to this forum and new to astronomy (sort of). We just got a SE8 and expect it to arrive in about a week. We downloaded the manual and read it several times. This is a great site and this thread has been super informative. I still have a couple of questions about alignment:

1. Early in this thread someone mentioned that lattitude and longitude are not needed for the two star align. Should we enter this information anyway? Or does the scope not use it at all in this mode?

2. Im still trying to understand why the slew speed should be reversed on one of the directions. Also, they mention a recommended combination of slew directions when centering a star for alignment. This has to do with backlash and Im having trouble understanding how and why we need to do this. For example, if I overshoot using a recommended up motion, I have to use down to correct. So is the point that we need to go real slow and avoid overshooting when aligning?

I realize that these questions might be a bit early considering the SE8 hasnt arrived yet! But were pretty excited about learning all we can before our first use.

Thanks!

Jim

#70 Tel

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 03:33 AM

Hi Jim,

A very warm welcome to you and your wife to CN and congratulations on your choice of 'scope. This series certainly provides value for money in my opinion.

If you are prepared to take a little advice, then resist fiercely, the temptation to take the new 8SE outside immediately you've assembled it from the box otherwise I'm sure it will meet with initial frustration and disappointment. Assemble it of course, but in broad daylight and somewhere you can work on it to input all necessary data, adjust and refine the antibacklash etc. Any problems, the guys here are only a post away, so almost immediate help is at hand.

To this end and if you are not aware, the following website, designed by Mike Swanson is an excellent source of information.

www.nexstarsite.com/

I would also recommend you buy a copy of Mike's book, "The Nexstar User's Guide". A little dated these days, but still of great value.

Moving on to your specific questions,to be honest I've never considered making any type of alignment without having installed latitiude and longtitude as part of the initial hand control set up. It might well work (?): working on factory settings, which if you are not based in Torrance California, where they would have probably been set, they will not be applicable. Hence the need to set up in accordance with your specific location. If you do not know your Lat./Long., there is a "Nearest City" option but "Google Earth" will always provide !

Alternatively, you can simply try any one of the alignment procedures available without having entered your specific Lat./Long. (or nearest city) and see if it accepts. Remember though, resistance and meticulous setting up is better !

In answer to your second question, optional changes to the direction buttons apply only to the lower slew speeds (1 - 6 ). The reason for this option, is to take account (according to your wish) of the different orientation the image presents in the eyepiece according to which accessories are being used.

In all probability, you will never need to change anything but consider it as follows.

If as is normal practice, you will be using an eyepiece in combination with the diagonal , the image, presented to your eye will be upright but will be transposed horizontally (right will be left and left will be right).

Now take the diagonal away and view directly through the same EP. It will still be transposed horizontally but also inverted. Thus, for example, if you have a camera connected directly to the 'scope and you are guiding it, you may wish to reorientate the direction buttons rather than leaving them as is and getting your head around which way is up ! :confused:

These settings have nothing to do with antibacklash per se but backlash does play a very significant roll in moving the object in the EP for both alignment and tracking. (I suggest we leave that one until you've got the 'scope).

Briefly though at this stage, there are prescribed ways of bringing an alignment star to the centre of the EP and also, for getting the best tracking depending on your chosen object's position in the sky.

Hope this helps for starters, Jim.
Best Regards,
Tel

#71 Tuco

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 10:45 AM

Your reponse helped a lot. Thanks for the link, it has been added to our favorites list and should make some good reading this weekend. We purchased a couple of classic books a couple of weeks ago, the "Night Watch" book has been really helpful. Together with the planisphere and some binoculars, we have already found lots of stars and constelations. The process of finding stars to align the scope doesnt seem so complicated now. Is it just me or is a GPS option really unecessary for these scopes? If I can align this in just a few minutes without a GPS, then whats the point in having GPS? If so, Im glad we didnt spend the extra hundreds of dollars on a GPS model. (no need to answer this if it has been discussed in this or other threads, we will probably find these threads eventually!) Once we are up and running, we will likely come back with more alignment questions. Thanks again for the help. We look forward to eventually contributing answers along with our questions.

#72 Tel

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 11:13 AM

Hi Jim,

My opinion but one I know shared by many is that unless you envisage travelling about with your 'scope and I mean further than say a 70 miles radius of your home base, then a GPS is an unnecessary waste of money as I think you have concluded.

Even if you do travel further afield, there are at least two other options open to you. If you know where you are going and don't have access to say, "Google Earth", you can always note the Lat./Long. for the locations you intend to visit or alternatively, program in "Nearest City" when you get there !

Best Regards,
Tel

#73 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:17 PM

I have a GPS unit on my 8i...have for years...it looks cool sitting on top (but the red power light has had a piece of electrical tape over it for years ..way too bright...

I LOVE the darn thing...it pulls down my current location (which btw) has not changes as much as 1/8 of an inch in the last 20 moinths, pulls in the correct time...and enters both into my scope brain....SAVES ME TIME...

Yep a 200 buck accessory that saves me oh about 3-4 seconds every single time I use it...

Worth the money ? ROTFLMAO ...not by a long shot..

BUT when I first purchased I kept my scope in the trunk of my car because I traveled, setting up in Say Pennsylvania on a Monday night and in Virginia oin Tuesday night ...the unit was a time saver because i never had to use a slow dial up connection from the el cheapo motels that the Company insisted I use to get my current location....

Another factor was that with the original 8i you had to both level the scope and point it North... The GPS unit
did both...level the scope and slew to North...that was nice .. so 200 bucks bought me an accessory that could find my current location, set the time, level the scope and point it North then it was able to do its dance and start the alignment process.... This actually was a good deal for me, in my situation...

Today I advise SAVE YOUR MONEY or better yet go out and spend the money on a GREAT Observing chair which you will get much more use out of and both your wallet and your feet/legs will thank you for...actually you eyes will thank you too as you can see so much more when you are relaxed and comfortable...

Oh and Tuco.... WELCOME to CN !

Bob G.

#74 rick rian

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:53 PM

Welcome aboard Tuco .. happy you decided to join the group!

I gotta agree with Tel and Bob G. above, I too would recommend saving the money and NOT buying the GPS unit. As Bob G. states, the 2 to 3 seconds it 'saves' isn't worth the price. I have the CN-16 GPS that I bought years ago when I purchased my NexStar 8i ... Back then (using the version 2 hand control) it used to level the OTA, point north and select the first alignment star with GPS align. It still works for date, time, location but if I were to have the choice today ... no way! There are so many other things to focus your spending, we can help with that too! :cool:

Once again, welcome aboard!

#75 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 04:34 PM

Update...here is the location for Best Pair II.

http://www.ilanga.com/bestpair/

I tried one of the other sites and it came up not found, I I googled for the software and found this one.

Dave


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