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Aligning with SkyFi and SkySafari

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#1 Agatheron

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:38 PM

I have a question for all you SkyFi/SkySafari users out there. My SkyFi module will arrive by the end of the week, but I won't get a chance to test it out until closer to the end of the month. What I was wondering was the process of aligning my iPad with SkyFi with my CPC800 telescope. I know the initial alignment procedure seems to be pretty straightforward according to the instructions, but when it comes to adjusting the alignment I was curious if aligning the telescope is done using the telescope controls on the handheld controller, or if I disengage the clutches and manually push the scope to the right position? I'm guessing it is the former, but I wanted to be sure.

Any suggestions?

#2 Lane

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:59 PM

You still have to do the alignment with the scope's hand controller. Then you will select the correct telescope from the list in sky safari and then connect sky safari to the scope.

After it is connected, if the object you have your scope pointing at is not matching what sky safari indicates then you just click on the object in sky safari and click their align button. Don't use the sync function in your hand controller. If you select an object in sky safari and press goto and the object is not centered in your scope then use the little scope control arrows to center the object in the scope and then click align. You really never have to touch the hand controller after the initial setup is done, do everything with the scope controls in sky safari. But you need to make sure the location where you are using your telescope (RA/DEC) matches the location in sky safari. If they don't match the the align function won't work, it will give you an error that the objects are to far off to align. A lot of times people using hand controllers will just select the nearest city when it ask for a location rather than entering the actual RA/DEC of their location. If you do that then you will want to use the same RA/DEC coordinates for that city in sky safari. As long as they match that is what counts. You will be able to find planets and asteroids much easier if you put in the actual RA/DEC of where you telescope is located into both hand controller and sky safari. Remember to find the RA/DEC all you need to do is look at your iPad, it knows where you are.

#3 btschumy

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:30 AM

John,

You guess right. To fine tune the alignment you can use the hand controller or you can use the on-screen keypad in SkySafari. Don't loosen the clutches. After centering the selected object just tap the Align button in SkySafari.

Bill

#4 rmollise

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:29 AM

I have a question for all you SkyFi/SkySafari users out there. My SkyFi module will arrive by the end of the week, but I won't get a chance to test it out until closer to the end of the month. What I was wondering was the process of aligning my iPad with SkyFi with my CPC800 telescope. I know the initial alignment procedure seems to be pretty straightforward according to the instructions, but when it comes to adjusting the alignment I was curious if aligning the telescope is done using the telescope controls on the handheld controller, or if I disengage the clutches and manually push the scope to the right position? I'm guessing it is the former, but I wanted to be sure.

Any suggestions?


You leave the clutches locked.

You always align the telescope as per normal. SkyFi is just like any other computer program. Align scope THEN connect.

Suggestions? Sounds like the scope is new to you. Try a couple of "fake" alignments in the daytime, indoors.

#5 Agatheron

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

The scope isn't new to me, but the SkyFi is. I think that this will actually help the scope actually be a bit more accurate than it currently is. Is that other's experience?

#6 Lane

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:08 AM

No, you will not get more accuracy with Sky Safari, it is just a tool for sending coordinates to your telescope.

It does have the align function but then your telescope hand controller has the sync function and they basically do the same thing. So if you have to sync all the time now because you are not getting items centered then nothing is really going to change with sky safari. You need to make sure you balance and level your telescope properly and make sure the RA and DEC are locked. This is very important to get good pointing accuracy. Then when you line the scope up on polaris, take your time and center it properly. Use a higher power eyepiece to make sure you are getting it right. If you have a polar scope use it. Once that is done the do your alignment with as many stars as your hand controller will permit you to use. My CGEM has two alignment and four calibration stars and use all of them every time. Again when centering each of these stars, use a higher power eyepiece so you can be sure they are centered properly. In a low power eyepiece what you think is center can really be far off. If you do all this then you should get great pointing accuracy. Remember also that just because one DSO is off that does not mean they will all be off, the RA/DEC coordinates are not 100% accurate for all the objects in the hand controller or in sky safari either. So don't sync or align just because one object is off, if two or more or off then sync or align.

I just looked at your eyepiece collection in your signature and you don't have a good eyepiece for centering. A high power narrow field eyepiece is what you need like a cheap 7mm kellner or plossl or maybe one those centering eyepieces that has illuminated cross hairs. I suspect that is the source or you poor pointing accuracy.

#7 Agatheron

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:03 AM

Would getting an eyepiece with an illuminated reticle help?

In my case, my scope is Alt-Az, so some of your advice will be for when I eventually get an EQ mount of some sort. I also have counterweights on the scope, but if I set up too quickly is when I get in trouble. What I mean by pointing accuracy is that at least with having SkySafari showing me where the scope thinks its is pointing, it will be easier to compensate and adjust in the early stages of an observing session.

Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm looking forward to when my scope comes off the moving truck at our new house. :)

#8 Lane

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:40 PM

I forgot that the LX90 is like my old LX200, a fork mount. My LX200 had dead-on perfect GOTO's every time I used it even with only a 2 star alignment. The only secret is make sure the mount is level. I use to carry a small level with me for better accuracy.

Here is how the align works with Sky Safari - after you finish setting up and aligning the scope your scope is still pointed at the last alignment star. Then you press the button on the sky safari control panel to connect the software to the scope and then you press the lock button and that causes the screen's star map lock onto the scope's position and show you what your scope is pointing at. Usually, when you first connect is will be slightly off target. To make the screen match the scope you just touch the alignment star to select it and then press on the sky safari align button. The screen shifts and puts the pointer directly on the star. Now as you find other objects they should all match up. After a few hours or after you bump into the tripod leg things might get off. You will select an object and press goto in sky safari and when you look in the scope the object is way over at the edge of the eyepiece. So all you do is use the hand controller or use the arrow buttons in sky safari to move the object to the center of the eyepiece. Now when you look at the screen you will see that the pointer is not aimed at the current object, all you do is press the align button and the pointer moves over the object and everything is back in sync. The only problem is that if things get to far off then the align function will fail. This can happen if you trip over the tripod leg and move the scope. I have done that several times myself. Sky safari just has a limit on how far things can be off before it gives up.

#9 Agatheron

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

Right. The little beastie arrived, but we don't move into our new house for another week. I suppose that's enough to let the cloud curse pass by, although in my case it's cold weather curse. :)

Anyway, is it worthwhile investing in a power adapter for the SkyFi, or am I better to stick with the batteries?

#10 Lane

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:20 PM

Make sure you plug in the correct connection wire just in case it gets permanently stuck in there like several people have reported. Something is definitely wrong with the plug on some of them. I had that problem and returned mine for a replacement.

I have only used the internal batteries with mine so far and have had to replaced them many times. I should have kept up with how many hours they last but I didn't pay any much attention to that, seems like only about 16 hours maybe less. Cost wise it would be much better to power it from the same battery that powers your scope. I need to check into where to get a cord that will fit, probably already have one around here someplace.

#11 Jason Martin

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 03:18 PM

On the subject of alignment, I like to use a zoom eyepiece. I have a Baader Hyperion 8-24 clickstop. 24mm gets the alignment stars in the field of view, then zoom in to 8mm for centering. It probably isn't as good as a reticle eyepiece, but it gets the job done.

#12 Lane

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:17 PM

That's a good idea Jason


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