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Solar Alignment with Celestron Nexstar Evolution

beginner SCT solar Celestron
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#1 sandconp

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 04:16 PM

I am a newbie to astronomy and I would like to try looking at the sun.  I have the Astrozap solar filter and I am using Star Sense on my Nexstar Evolution 8 SCT scope.

 

What is all involved to perform a solar alignment during the day? How is the solar alignment done when I am unable to use the Star Sense Camera?

 

I have been warned to make sure to cap off my Star Sense camera and finder scope so I don't damage the equipment or my eyesight. 

 

 



#2 Bean614

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 04:25 PM

Actually, the info is in the Owner's Manual.  Give it a read!



#3 Don W

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 08:20 PM

The sun is hidden from the main menu. You have to go to settings and enable it. Once you've done so, it will be in the solar system objects menu and you choose it. You move the scope by the handcontrol to center the sun and it should track it. Make certain you have a cover on the finder and the solar filter over the front of the scope.


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#4 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 08:46 PM

From my book, "The NexStar User's Guide II":

 

Solar System Align with StarSense Hand Control

Solar System Align is designed to provide tracking and GoTo during daytime use.
This is generally useful for solar viewing, although you can also use it to locate and
view the Moon and brighter planets during the day. Additionally, it can be used to
align on one of the bright planets or the Moon early in the evening before any stars
are visible.

 

Procedure
• Power up the ‘scope.
• Press ENTER to begin, scroll up/down to select Solar Sys. Align and then
ENTER again.
• The hand control will show either the current time or the time when you last used
the ‘scope. If your ‘scope has a GPS module, the GPS receiver will shortly lock
onto three satellites and update the date, time, and location. For ‘scopes without
GPS, manually update the time and date information. Press BACK to accept the
displayed date and time information or press ENTER to manually update the
information, one field at a time.
• The display will now prompt to select an object for alignment. Scroll up/down to
select any of the available solar system objects that you can currently identify in

the sky and press ENTER. Note that to include the Sun in the list, you must first
access the MENU button (press BACK to return to the StarSense Ready prompt),
select Database Setup, and then Allow Sun. This is a one-time setting and will be
stored for future use. You must have a safe solar filter or cap the ‘scope and use a
special “sun finder” to safely use the Sun as an alignment object!
• Use the arrow buttons to slew (move) to the object you selected. Center the object
in the finderscope and press ENTER. Then, center the object in the eyepiece
using the RIGHT and UP arrows and press ALIGN.
• If you continue to use the ‘scope into the evening, you can add additional alignment
points to improve accuracy without starting a new alignment from scratch.
These alignment points use the StarSense camera and thus can only be added at
night.

 

Additional Tips
• Solar System Align will only list objects that fall within the current Filter Limits
as available for alignment. For example, with Filter Limits set to 0° and 90°, any
of the bright solar system objects currently above the horizon will be offered as
an alignment object.
• For better tracking and more accurate GoTo while still relying on a single alignment
point, be sure to level the tripod before you start.
• If you do not have a GPS-equipped telescope, be accurate to within a couple of
minutes when entering the time. Also, either select a city within 50 miles or enter
your longitude and latitude to within a degree or two.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
http://www.nexstarsite.com/


Edited by Michael_Swanson, 26 February 2018 - 08:47 PM.

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#5 sandconp

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:04 PM

Mike,

 

I did land up buying your book and I am enjoying it so far.  It's nice to see a book that is dedicated just to NexStar telescope users.



#6 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:33 PM

I'm glad you are finding it useful and thanks for the kind words.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
http://www.nexstarsite.com/


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#7 lenrabinowitz

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 01:30 PM

To state what is perhaps obvious, StarSense does not work in the daytime.



#8 sandconp

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 05:07 PM

To state what is perhaps obvious, StarSense does not work in the daytime.

Understood



#9 lkannard

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 08:55 PM

I found and purchased this little gem to make solar alignment a breeze.

 

http://www.dynapod.com/dyna-hp1.html



#10 johnsoda

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:14 AM

If the mount is level, the solar alignment works well.  I can track the sun for hours with my PST on my Evolution mount. 

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#11 qlifee

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 08:57 AM

I wonder if I Can use the Sun twice during the day (say after 30~40 minutes) to achieve two object alignment?

 

Can I use this method to skip leveling the mount? In other words does the mount account for unleveled mount if aligned against at least two objects? 

 

From my book, "The NexStar User's Guide II":

 

Solar System Align with StarSense Hand Control

Solar System Align is designed to provide tracking and GoTo during daytime use.
This is generally useful for solar viewing, although you can also use it to locate and
view the Moon and brighter planets during the day. Additionally, it can be used to
align on one of the bright planets or the Moon early in the evening before any stars
are visible.

 

Procedure
• Power up the ‘scope.
• Press ENTER to begin, scroll up/down to select Solar Sys. Align and then
ENTER again.
• The hand control will show either the current time or the time when you last used
the ‘scope. If your ‘scope has a GPS module, the GPS receiver will shortly lock
onto three satellites and update the date, time, and location. For ‘scopes without
GPS, manually update the time and date information. Press BACK to accept the
displayed date and time information or press ENTER to manually update the
information, one field at a time.
• The display will now prompt to select an object for alignment. Scroll up/down to
select any of the available solar system objects that you can currently identify in

the sky and press ENTER. Note that to include the Sun in the list, you must first
access the MENU button (press BACK to return to the StarSense Ready prompt),
select Database Setup, and then Allow Sun. This is a one-time setting and will be
stored for future use. You must have a safe solar filter or cap the ‘scope and use a
special “sun finder” to safely use the Sun as an alignment object!
• Use the arrow buttons to slew (move) to the object you selected. Center the object
in the finderscope and press ENTER. Then, center the object in the eyepiece
using the RIGHT and UP arrows and press ALIGN.
• If you continue to use the ‘scope into the evening, you can add additional alignment
points to improve accuracy without starting a new alignment from scratch.
These alignment points use the StarSense camera and thus can only be added at
night.

 

Additional Tips
• Solar System Align will only list objects that fall within the current Filter Limits
as available for alignment. For example, with Filter Limits set to 0° and 90°, any
of the bright solar system objects currently above the horizon will be offered as
an alignment object.
• For better tracking and more accurate GoTo while still relying on a single alignment
point, be sure to level the tripod before you start.
• If you do not have a GPS-equipped telescope, be accurate to within a couple of
minutes when entering the time. Also, either select a city within 50 miles or enter
your longitude and latitude to within a degree or two.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar Users Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
http://www.nexstarsite.com/

 



#12 Don W

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:33 AM

I don't think so. You are really only aligning on one object.


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#13 NMBob

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 03:13 PM

Not sure about the HC, but with SkySafari and an iPad you can. The clouds have been so popular this year that sometimes I can only get one or two objects to align on and get the evening going at our monthly outreach party. Sometimes it's just one object, like the Moon. As other things show up, or after little adjustments to goto's I just keep adding points and some of those are repeats. I find that if the mount is leveled really well it does a pretty decent job with just one alignment point. I just add more as the evening goes and it gets better and better. If I'm careful the three-star alignment in SkySafari can be scary accurate. I grew up pushing telescopes, so I'm still easily amazed. :)


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#14 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:28 PM

I wonder if I Can use the Sun twice during the day (say after 30~40 minutes) to achieve two object alignment?

 

Can I use this method to skip leveling the mount? In other words does the mount account for unleveled mount if aligned against at least two objects? 

One of the older versions of HC (I'm thinking 1.6 or 2.2) did in fact allow you to do just that to achieve a slightly better alt-az alignment during the day but the current versions do not. 

 

With the current HCs, if you are lucky, the Moon will be out or with the rough accuracy of an alignment on only the Sun, you might be able to find one of the brighter planets.  If you can add a second actual object, it will indeed compensate for an unleveled mount.  This is a limited (full daylight) variation of what Bob is describing.

 

But it's pretty easy to just start with it level and other than the Moon as a second object, you will probably need to level to find objects like Jupiter, Venus, etc.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
https://www.NexStarSite.com


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#15 qlifee

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:57 PM

I don't think so. You are really only aligning on one object.

I used the TTS-160, and I was able to do just that. It is essential for the application of easy and accurate alignment process during the day, especially when locating new crescent moons just after sunset.

 

I wish I find a relatively cheaper mount that can do the same.

 

Not sure about the HC, but with SkySafari and an iPad you can. The clouds have been so popular this year that sometimes I can only get one or two objects to align on and get the evening going at our monthly outreach party. Sometimes it's just one object, like the Moon. As other things show up, or after little adjustments to goto's I just keep adding points and some of those are repeats. I find that if the mount is leveled really well it does a pretty decent job with just one alignment point. I just add more as the evening goes and it gets better and better. If I'm careful the three-star alignment in SkySafari can be scary accurate. I grew up pushing telescopes, so I'm still easily amazed. smile.gif

Thank you for the priceless information. I'll definitely give SkySafari a try. I wish I don't need leveling just like the Panther mount.

 

............If you can add a second actual object, it will indeed compensate for an unleveled mount.

Is this like a general rule that can be applied to all mounts?


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#16 qlifee

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 12:45 AM

One of the older versions of HC (I'm thinking 1.6 or 2.2) did in fact allow you to do just that to achieve a slightly better alt-az alignment during the day but the current versions do not. 

 

With the current HCs, if you are lucky, the Moon will be out or with the rough accuracy of an alignment on only the Sun, you might be able to find one of the brighter planets.  If you can add a second actual object, it will indeed compensate for an unleveled mount.  This is a limited (full daylight) variation of what Bob is describing.

 

But it's pretty easy to just start with it level and other than the Moon as a second object, you will probably need to level to find objects like Jupiter, Venus, etc.

 

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
Author of "NexStar Observer List"
https://www.NexStarSite.com

I actually want to use this method to locate the very young crescent moon, so, unfortunately, I can't use the moon as a second object.

But using the bright planets, this could be very challenging; however, I'll give it a try, it sounds interesting to find planets during the day.

 

Thank you for your reply.


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#17 Michael_Swanson

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 01:41 AM

Is this like a general rule that can be applied to all mounts?


All of Celestron's mounts but each manufacturer could handle this situation differently.

Best regards,
Mike Swanson
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide II"
Author of "The NexStar User's Guide"
https://www.NexStarSite.com
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#18 NMBob

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 02:23 PM

Thank you for the priceless information. I'll definitely give SkySafari a try. I wish I don't need leveling just like the Panther mount.

 

Is this like a general rule that can be applied to all mounts?

I'm just using the built-in tripod level, that I've checked to be pretty close, even the Clinometer app in the iPad sometimes. That's usually close enough to get started.

 

And what Mike said about a second target.




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