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Los Angeles star allignment?

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#1 conus

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 08:35 AM

Since the arrival of this scope six weeks ago I've gotten by with quick allignments. I'd like to get a little more precise now, but I live in heavily light-polluted Orange County CA where not many stars are visible with the naked eye, and with the exception of a few of the better known stars (Rigel, Sirius, etc.) I'm not that familiar with the sky yet. Is there anyone from around the area who can give me an idea of which allignment stars to use that are visible here?

#2 jmoore

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:02 AM

Metropolitan southern California? Good luck!! Best solution: Drive 2 hrs inland!

Steve, are you talking about polar aligning? If so, I'd think Polaris is all you can work with. Maybe some more experienced than I will give you more helpful advice about trying to use other stars somehow but I dunno. If you can't find Polaris (you know how how to use the big dipper to find it, right?), your best bet might be to use a compass and point your scope due north. This probably won't get you precise enough for long-exposure astrophotography work, but it ought to get you close enough to track planets fairly well for an evening viewing session. I dunno if this is the best solution, but it's what I'd do.

Just another thought...if you can't find Polaris with your naked eye, you might be able to find it eventually through your scope with some scanning. If you lock your scope so it's parallel and above the polar axis of your mount, and then manage to get Polaris in the middle of your FOV (making the various adjustments with height and declination screws), this would probably put your mount fairly precisely aligned.

Hope this helps, and that others weigh in with better advice.

jeff

#3 Dennis

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:49 AM

Capella, Sirius, Rigel, Aldebaran are usually what's selected by GPS align for me here in Mass. If you're having different stars suggested, you should be able to use "UNDO" to encourage your scope to the one's you want. Good luck!



#4 bierbelly

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:53 AM

Since the arrival of this scope six weeks ago I've gotten by with quick allignments. I'd like to get a little more precise now, but I live in heavily light-polluted Orange County CA where not many stars are visible with the naked eye, and with the exception of a few of the better known stars (Rigel, Sirius, etc.) I'm not that familiar with the sky yet. Is there anyone from around the area who can give me an idea of which allignment stars to use that are visible here?


Well, this is a loaded answer. You'll certainly need to become familiar with the bright star names to be able to align the CG5GT mount (other than the polar alignment...I'd think that would be your most difficult task, since Polaris is only 2nd magnitude, and hard to find in light polluted skies). My CG5GT, in the auto align mode, flashes up the name of the alignment star it is slewing to, so you may want to consider taking a copy of Sky and Telescope outside with you, so you can check out the location of the star name from their sky map in the middle of each issue. Of course, there are better (more detailed) sky maps available, which will give you more information, especially on dimmer stars and DSO's for your observing pleasure.

One good feature of the Celestron mount/goto system is that if one of the chosen alignment stars isn't within your field of view (in my case, behind trees), just hit the "undo" button, and the software will select another star to align on, seemingly no matter how many times you hit it. So if you can find and align on say Sirius, but the second star chosen, say Rigel, isn't within your FOV, then hit "undo" and the scope will begin slewing to an alternative, say Capella. Again, you'll need to be familiar with just which star Capella is, but the chosen allignment star is usually the brightest one in that particular portion of the sky.

Oops! Dennis beat me to it.

#5 conus

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 06:05 PM

Thanks for all the information, people. But what if I use two stars that I know, which are not on on opposite sides of the meridian? Will this get a reasonably accurate alignment?





#6 bierbelly

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 06:10 PM

Thanks for all the information, people. But what if I use two stars that I know, which are not on on opposite sides of the meridian? Will this get a reasonably accurate alignment?




I think if you try that the mount blows up... :roflmao:

#7 conus

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 06:16 PM

All of this is mute, anyway. As soon as I get the scope outside tonight, it'll start raining again.


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