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Could you help me, please, with my confusion regarding which time zone I should input to my Star Sense hand controller.

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#1 AstroCub



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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:03 PM



I am having a few issues with the accuracy of my Star Sense gotos. Nothing major - stars & DSOs are more or less centered but planetary gotos typically appear at the edge of the eyepiece.


In my diagnostic effort to improve things I want to start with basics and ensure I have the correct time zonme selected on my Star Sense (SS) hand controller (HC)


I live in Virginia USA which runs on Eastern Standard Time if the clocks have not gone forward, and Eastern Daylight Time if the clocks have gone forward. This is also known as Daylight Savings Time (DST) and is in force right now.


I currently have my SS HC set to 'Eastern Time -5' with DST set to 'Yes'. I believe that is the correct setting for me but I want to be 100% sure.  


What's confusing my poor Neuro A Typical brain is UTC.


All the interactive astronomny sites I use - EG Stellarium - say that I am in UTC -4. They nevert mention whether Daylight Saving Time is in force or not.


My SS HC gives me the option of inputting UTC -4 with or without DST. I have experimented  with inputting UTC -4 with DST set to 'Yes' and if I do that the Side Real time clock (as accessed via the NexStar HC, it's not on the SS HC) is out by 1 hour.


Like I said, I am virtually certain that I have my time zone input correctly - otherwise why would they even have an option for Eastern Time -5, with or without DST? It's just the UTC issue that's throwing me.


So if you live in the EST zone or if you otherwise know for sure what time zone I should be inputting to my SS HC, please let me know, thanks.


I feel a bit silly asking all this; but, then again, I'd feel even sillier if I DID have my time zone input incorrectly.........


Thanks :)



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#2 wrnchhead



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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:21 PM

Don’t feel dumb it is very confusing. Some websites correct the UTC for daylight savings time and some don’t. I feel like it should be in your owners manual but with my skywatcher hand controller you always use the normal UTC, which in the central US is -6 ,and then enter daylight savings time separately

#3 JGlover


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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:31 PM

That's the correct setting, EST with daylight saving set to Yes. I also double checked my Stellarium, as I never noticed the UTC time, and it shows me as UTC -5, which is correct for this time of year as we are in CDT. Since your stellar and DSO gotos are basically on target, you're good. Solar systems objects are generally a little bit more hit or miss as they are calculated based on date, time and location where the stellar and DSO are done by plate solving by Starsense. Those objects basically do not change position...at least in our lifetimes! :)

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#4 hornjs


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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:32 PM

I had the same issue a couple weeks ago when I first got my scope.  I skipped all the handset stuff (because i didn't understand how to set it, and made dumb input errors) and went to the app and it worked perfectly.  This week I skipped the app and just used the handset and set it to UTC -6 (mountain) and DST "yes" and it seemed to work just as well.  

#5 Arcamigo


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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:49 PM

You can always get the correct UTC time at either the USNO or NIST. Then adjust your offset for your local clock.


I wouldn't feel silly about this. The people that program those controllers don't make this easy to understand. I've screwed it up myself by adjusting both the UTC offset for my local clock and saying yes to DST and then wondered why the mount thinks Arcturus is 15 degrees off from where it really is...

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