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Nexstar SE alignment issues

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#1 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 09:41 AM

I have a C8 tube on a Nesxtar SE mount and tripod. The last three or four times I've tried to align, I can't get it to work.

 

Last night I thought I would try and view the Christmas comet near the Pleiades. I set up around dusk (clear skies in rural southern MI). Leveled the tripod and mounted the scope. No stars out yet but the moon was there so I did a Solar System Align on the moon.

 

I saw Mars appear shortly thereafter and selected it and the scope slewed in that direction but it was nowhere centered. I slewed back to the moon and again, it moved in the general direction but wasn't close to centering.

 

I then powered off and waited until some stars appeared. I powered up and did a 2 Star Align, selecting Polaris and another nearby star (can't remember the name). Alignment was successful according to the SE display and then tried slewing to the moon and it came nowhere near.

 

Please help as I'm really frustrated. The image quality of the C8 is amazing, but if I can't view anything reliably, it doesn't warrant all the setup time.

 

Thanks very much,

 

RickR90s



#2 petert913

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 09:47 AM

To clarify my understanding:   Is the scope slewing accurately to the 2 stars used for alignment?  You are centering them in the eyepiece and then the scope misses the next targets after alignment is done?

 

For me, after polar alignment,  the first alignment star I use can often be way off the mark.  I need to slew a long ways sometimes to get it centered.  Then do the same with the 2nd and 3rd alignment stars.  After that,  "Go To" is  very good.   



#3 treadmarks

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:05 AM

When my alignment fails, it's usually one of two problems: no external power; or the time, date, and location were set incorrectly.

 

Also re: the comet, I have heard its tail is very large and won't fit in the FOV of most telescopes. You may want to try looking for it with binoculars as well.



#4 Procyon

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:05 AM

Many people forget to switch back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings time in the options menu. Are you sure all your options are as they should be?
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#5 rmollise

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:42 AM

I have a C8 tube on a Nesxtar SE mount and tripod. The last three or four times I've tried to align, I can't get it to work.

 

Last night I thought I would try and view the Christmas comet near the Pleiades. I set up around dusk (clear skies in rural southern MI). Leveled the tripod and mounted the scope. No stars out yet but the moon was there so I did a Solar System Align on the moon.

 

I saw Mars appear shortly thereafter and selected it and the scope slewed in that direction but it was nowhere centered. I slewed back to the moon and again, it moved in the general direction but wasn't close to centering.

 

I then powered off and waited until some stars appeared. I powered up and did a 2 Star Align, selecting Polaris and another nearby star (can't remember the name). Alignment was successful according to the SE display and then tried slewing to the moon and it came nowhere near.

 

Please help as I'm really frustrated. The image quality of the C8 is amazing, but if I can't view anything reliably, it doesn't warrant all the setup time.

 

Thanks very much,

 

RickR90s

 

Firstly, you can only expect very limited accuracy with a solar system align with an SE mount. VERY limited.

 

However, it sounds as if your time/date/time-zone is loused up. To test this, take the scope out, do a 2-star alignment (make sure you are centering the correct stars...your comment about star 2 makes me wonder). Now, see if the scope will correctly goto a star or deep sky object. If it will, but won't go to the Moon or a planet, the time/date in the HC is indeed your problem.



#6 Cajundaddy

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:52 AM

GoTo is only as precise as your data input and 2 star alignment.  Make absolutely certain that your time, date, and location are correct.  Use a 2 star alignment and center each star in your highest power eyepiece.  By retracing these steps you should get much better results. 

 

A solar system align is useful for tracking the sun or a planet but not nearly precise enough for GoTo.



#7 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:56 AM

To clarify my understanding:   Is the scope slewing accurately to the 2 stars used for alignment?  You are centering them in the eyepiece and then the scope misses the next targets after alignment is done? I'm not using Auto Star Align, but rather the 2 Star Align. So I'm slewing manually to what I think are the correct named stars I've chosen. I realize I could be mistaken in my choice as this part of MI has very dark skies and there's plenty of luminous stars.

 

For me, after polar alignment,  the first alignment star I use can often be way off the mark.  I need to slew a long ways sometimes to get it centered.  Then do the same with the 2nd and 3rd alignment stars.  After that,  "Go To" is  very good.   



#8 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:57 AM

When my alignment fails, it's usually one of two problems: no external power; or the time, date, and location were set incorrectly.

 

Also re: the comet, I have heard its tail is very large and won't fit in the FOV of most telescopes. You may want to try looking for it with binoculars as well.

Good point. I use a XP-1 battery pack for my scope as the AA's are never reliable. I've had excellent luck in aligning in the past, so not sure what I'm doing wrong.

 

Thanks for the clarification on the comet. I did grab my Nikon binoculars but couldn't locate it, looking just to the left of the Pleiades.



#9 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:59 AM

Many people forget to switch back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings time in the options menu. Are you sure all your options are as they should be?

I confess my ignorance. Michigan uses Daylight savings so I've always selected it in the menu, no matter the date. Maybe I'm incorrect?



#10 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:00 AM

Firstly, you can only expect very limited accuracy with a solar system align with an SE mount. VERY limited.

 

However, it sounds as if your time/date/time-zone is loused up. To test this, take the scope out, do a 2-star alignment (make sure you are centering the correct stars...your comment about star 2 makes me wonder). Now, see if the scope will correctly goto a star or deep sky object. If it will, but won't go to the Moon or a planet, the time/date in the HC is indeed your problem.

I will try that this evening. I had Daylight Savings selected in my time mode FWIW.



#11 Procyon

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:02 AM

I confess my ignorance. Michigan uses Daylight savings so I've always selected it in the menu, no matter the date. Maybe I'm incorrect?

Daylight saving time 2018 in Michigan will begin at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 10 and ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 3. All times are in Eastern Time.

 

Also, Auto Two Star Alignment is great, you just look for the names of 2 stars on a planetarium app and match them with your sky. If it's still a bit off afterwards, replace one star with another.


Edited by Procyon, 17 December 2018 - 11:05 AM.


#12 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:03 AM

I believe MI is currently in Standard time, having "fallen back" on 11/4. I'll try aligning this evening with "Standard Time" selected.

 

Thanks everyone. I may only have myself to blame. :(



#13 rmollise

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 04:48 PM

I confess my ignorance. Michigan uses Daylight savings so I've always selected it in the menu, no matter the date. Maybe I'm incorrect?

Daylight savings time is now OFF. "Spring forward, fall back." ;)



#14 rmollise

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 04:50 PM

GoTo is only as precise as your data input and 2 star alignment.  Make absolutely certain that your time, date, and location are correct.  Use a 2 star alignment and center each star in your highest power eyepiece.  By retracing these steps you should get much better results. 

 

A solar system align is useful for tracking the sun or a planet but not nearly precise enough for GoTo.

 

On solar system objects, yes, time, location, etc. matters. Not on deep sky objects or stars--there only the quality of your goto alignment matters.



#15 RickR90s

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 09:29 PM

Big duh moment here. I had the tube mounted backwards. Rotated it on the mount and all seems well. I did a quick Auto Align just to see if it would work and not give me the "Failed" message so often seen. And voila, Ring Nebula, Orion and Neptune were perfectly centered.

Thanks everyone.


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#16 RickR90s

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 04:45 PM

Last night we had absolutely clear skies in rural Southern MI so took the scope out. My wife got me a set of vibration dampers for the Nexstar tripod so wanted to try those.

They worked great! A noticeable improvement.

 

I did another quick Auto Align and enjoyed the Orion Nebula (amazing blue color), and slewed to the Andromeda Galaxy to find it centered. Got to show it to my wife and she was thrilled!


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#17 Wire

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 07:07 PM

Big duh moment here. I had the tube mounted backwards. Rotated it on the mount and all seems well. I did a quick Auto Align just to see if it would work and not give me the "Failed" message so often seen. And voila, Ring Nebula, Orion and Neptune were perfectly centered.

Thanks everyone.

Everyone gets a brain fart once and awhile. Glad you resolved the problem. By the way I do Solar alignments on my se and it's ok. It never slews to the next object I pick right on,


Edited by Wire, 04 January 2019 - 07:08 PM.



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