A combination of hardware and weather problems have limited my time learning to use the Orion XT10i Intelliscope under Bortle 7 skies from the driveway of my condo. I have not become adept with aligning on two stars within a minute, so my warp factor is likely to be high, if I can even read it before it evaporates. Without “close enough” alignment, the push-to functionality does not even put me in the ballpark for a targeted object with a 25mm eyepiece. I have given a lot of thought to how to improve and speed up alignment:
1. Practice! Practice! Practice! Use a digital stopwatch attached to the OTA with a magnet to keep track of my speed.
2. I line up alignment star 1 before turning on the hand controller and point the scope vertical. Only then do I turn on the hand controller. I can then scroll to the name of alignment star 1, lower the altitude, and use the crosshairs in the RACF to center the star. That just leaves one other star to center in these light-polluted skies before time runs out.
3. A tip I picked up in a YouTube video is to defocus before targeting the alignment stars. An airy disk is easier to center in the eyepiece than the much smaller image of that star.
4. I bought a 12.5mm eyepiece with an illuminated reticle in the hope of more accurate centering of the target star. Sure, that works, but it takes too much time. I will stick with 25mm until I get really fast at alignment.
5. Practice on the hand controller to speed up scrolling through the names of the alignment stars. How I wish I did not have to scroll the list of names twice! I only have 60 seconds.
6. Learn to use the Realignment function to align on a third object. I have sent the following questions to Orion Tech Support:
a. Is there any time limit for performing the third alignment?
b. The manual says that accuracy around the third star will be improved at the expense of accuracy around the first two stars. If I choose the second alignment star for the realignment, how will that affect accuracy?
c. How many times can I perform realignment without have to start from scratch?
d. If I have realigned on the second alignment star, can I then realign on the first star? What would that do to accuracy?
Any other ideas?