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Found 68 results

  1. Long storey short : the OTA slips dramtecly when vewing an object to 0 altitude. Details: So I bought the Skywatcher GoTo flextube 10 inch a year ago. It was nothing but great, until yesterday when I was just starting the session to level up the scope on the mount for alignment. I Went to get some equipment and when back noticed the scope has declined to a minus reading on the altitude! With no attachments on the OTA. I re-leveled it to the horizon and it held itself, put on the nothing but stock attachments as usual. Switched on the GoTo and started aligning, when alignment is successful, I chose an object and notice the object is far off. I check the battery voltage and it's 12.5 volts, which indicates it's not a battery issue. I turn it off to re-align again, this time when I press the up arrow to align to an object I notice the GoTo gears struggle to move the OTA upwards, but eventually the speed increase to normal and manage to points upwards to the object. I pick a second object which happens to be near the zenith and the GoTo goes out of control straight to zenith and carrying on above 90+ degrees on the altitude bearing. I try to stop the scope with the handset before the base of telescope hits the wood in the base, only to notice the handset is not showing light or responding. I turn the GoTo off. Start to align for the third time, this time aligns but still off target. I ignore and start viewing Jupiter which happens to be 40+ in altitude , after few minutes of viewing, the scope drops slowly to zero altitude with no hand or handset movement! Handset is still showing that the viewed object is still Jupiter! Note: I did notice weird sounds of the gears when trying to increase altitude. Not the common sound. Has anyone faced this issue and fixed it, should I return under guarantee? Is this a gear slippage? Or clutches not engaged? Your help will be much appreciated!
  2. Hi, I'm relatively new to the whole telescope thing but have done my research and was fixed on getting the Orion skyquest XT8i or XT10i. By spending that much money, I didn't like the idea of purchasing it online from their website without seeing it in person (and not having the reassurance of being able to take it back) and looked for stores in the UK that would supply them. After plenty of research, it seems like they don't exist anymore and they are only in the US? Is this right or could anyone help me? (I've looked at the Sky-watcher 250PX/200PX flextube skyscan goto but it is significantly heavier and the noise of the goto mechanism sounds like a table saw so that's put me off of it...) Any help would be much appreciated, Thanks
  3. Hi guys, I've literally just signed up so I'm totally new here and excited to learn from all you professional astromaster... I'm not sure if this is the right place to post so I do apologise if not... I'm after a skywatcher eq3 pro goto mount for my celestron astromaster 130eq every website i go on they are out of stock and not available for a couple of months does anybody know a stockist that has these in stock? I've only been in the astrophotography hobby 4 weeks so I've got lots to learn... Thank you for your help
  4. Dear colleagues, I am new in astronomy and got my SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150Pi WiFi AZ GoTo, however I am experiencing one big problem. When I try to align my telescope using SynScan Pro app on laptop or smartphone the telescope always points wrong direction. I do not have hand controller. I set telescope north using compass, enter latitude and longitude, but when try to align 1 star or 2 stars, telescope spins way, way off. When the star is in the South East it shows north east, or sometimes points absolutely wrong direction. When it is set on the north and object is 98 degrees east it goes some 30 degrees. It also points lower or higher. I am totally lost. I use 8 AA batteries. What I do wrong? How to fix this? Thank you.
  5. Hi everyone So i have a problem with the synscan controller v4, when i want to update to the last version, first of all i connect and put the control in the update version, and then connect to computer and the program detects the controller. Then when i press updated to the Version 4.39.10, it only goes to 1.8%, sometimes to the 5% but not further. Then i updated to a low version 4.2, and it updated the control but does not work with the mount anyways. Hope you can help me.
  6. Hi - I'm a relative newcomer to telescopes with goto - still trying to figure them out. I have a problem with Goto on the 8SE. Alignment usually works (Not always, but usually) I believe my set up is correct - time and date, DST and UTC (It's currently BST in the UK) I usually use 2-star alignment (Currently, most convenient for me are Sirius and Procyon) Alignment usually succeeds, but goto just doesn't. The scope slews away, sometimes even to a completely different part of the sky from the selected object (I'm familiar enough with the sky to be able to identify several bright stars without assistance) Bizarrely, this happens even if the goto object is one of the alignment stars - how could it possibly not be able to find a star when you've explicitly told it where it is? I've read that goto sometimes doesn't work well on battery power, so I've aquired a mains adapter. No change. I haven't yet updated the handset firmware (I'm waiting for a serial-usb adapter.) Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  7. Hi everyone, I'm looking to get a reasonably portable astrophotography set-up, using a 60-100mm refractor, with a suitable goto mount. I spotted the Explore Scientifice exos2-gt with pmc-eight goto system, which looks like quite an elegant solution, and wondered if anybody in the forum owns this mount, and what they think of it's performance & usability?
  8. Hello all, this is my first post at SGL, and it will be quite long. I am not native a English speaker, so please excuse any mistake. I have quite some plan with my telescope mount and its goto control, and I am looking for some feedback and comments. If somebody else did a similar project, please let me know. And please feel free and encouraged to make suggestions, ideas, critics, etc. The story in a few buzzwords: Raspberry Pi Zero → direct control of TMC2209 stepper drivers via the Pi's Uart serial interface to drive my telescope mount. I am writing a software (optionally: open source?) to control the mount. The language will NOT be C, as typically used for Microcontrollers (I know for instance OneStep) I am using Kotlin, which is a more advanced JVM language. I think this should be enough information to filter the readers who are interested in reading the rest of my post. Now the long and detailed story: My professional background: I am a physicist, and did a PhD in EE (Power Electronics). Later, I became software engineer. Besides being fascinated by Astronomy, I am a tinkerer (Reprap 3D printer, electronics, …). I did grind my first mirror (a 6'' Schiefspiegler) when I was 15 years old, and I built the cookbook CCD cameras in the 90's. After many years without a telescope (study time, relationship, ... ), I settled down with my family, and I started to get back to Astronomy. Recently, I did by a quite a massive second hand mount: the “Vixen New Atlux” from another other stargazer in Switzerland. My opinion is that the New Atlux' mechanical design is superb. It has (had...) internal wiring, the counterweight bar can be hidden in the mount for transport, good polar alignment screws, it has an excellent polar finder with a dimmable LED. But on the other hand the electronics: two weak servo motors in combination with the incredible Starbook 5.... Seigh... the starbook...(!) it is, well... the mount is just superb, and no more comments about the starbook game boy, which shall rest in peace at the garbage dump. I removed the servos and all electronics, and I put 2 stepper motors into the mount, which are coupled to the gear with a timed belt. My original plan was to put an Arduino into the mount in order to control the steppers. I have an old goto Celestron cg-5 with Starsense, and it would have been quite easy to mimic - with the Arduino as interface – the servos of the old cg-5 and translate the Starsense control signals to my New Atlux. I can write C, and there is even an open source project called OneStep, which uses a Microcontroller in a similar way as I do. But I don't like to write C code anymore. In the 3D printer community, people need to use real time electronics to control the printer steppers. Due to the real time requirement, C with a real time microcontroler (Arduino & similar) are the only option for 3D printers. Do we need real time for our telescope? No. We don't need to control a lot of Motor accelerations and high speed control. For the telescope, we need to set the Motors speed precisely, and we need to drive to any position in an accurate and controllable and slow way. Then, there are new stepper motor drivers available with as much as 256 microsteps. The TMC2209 stepper driver , which is very well know in the 3D printer community, is not vibrating at all. It runs just smoothly, also at very low speeds. I do drive my motor with 0.25 rpm (sideral speed). In case of a slew, I can accelerate to 1500x sideral speed, which also would allow me easily to track the ISS. Wonderful. The current status of my project is: The mount is equipped with the two new motors The TMC2209 drivers are connected to the Raspberry pi GPIO Interface, and I can control them via Software. Theoretically, I could attach up to 4 motors with a single Uart interface (1 wire protocol). For instance, a focuser or a filter wheel could be attached. I selected Kotlin as language. Java also would have been possible, but I think for a new project, Kotlin will lead to a much more readable code. The TMC drivers can be driven via a chip-internal clock signal. Different to what the 3D printer community is doing (they use the step / dir pins, and create every single microstep with the microcontoller), I can send a “speed” signal from the Raspi via UART to the 2209 chip, and it will execute this speed for me without any further action. The only time critical issue was that I need to precisely count the steps that the 2209 stepper drivers executed. This is done via a GPIO pin, receiving its index signal (a pulse for every 2209 fullstep). Here comes the pain with Linux (non real-time) and the Pi: For user programs, it is impossible to guarantee that every pulse from the stepper drivers will be registered. But I cannot afford to have a step count drift over time. The solution was that I wrote a Linux kernel module in C. I wrote that I don't want to write any C code. Well, a few lines for the kernel module were indeed necessary. I can live with that, having in mind that the rest will be written in Kotlin. The only task of the Kernel module is to count every registered step at the Pi's GPIO input pins. This kernel module output is then mapped to a character device file in /dev/ for every stepper. In Kernel space, it is possible to register and count interrupts without missing even any one of them. From a hardware point of view, this is indeed everything we I need. The project cost so far: 2x10€ for the stepper drivers, 2x10€ for the motors, 2x20€ for the tooth belts and pulley, 10€ Pi Zero plus some peripheral expenses: Micro SD card, USB charger, and 1200 € for the used Vixen new Atlux mount. And a lot of time. I have so many ideas on how to extend the ecosystem of my software, but these ideas are for the longer term (maybe years from now on): Multi-star alignment. The alignment should be able to be updated continuously during an observation night. With a set of stars, it should be possible to calculate the quality of the aligment points, and e.g. drop them if they are errorneous. PEC correction (should be easy on the Pi) End-Stop support The polar alignment routines of today's goto scopes are quite good. But what I would like to have is some audio-feedback when I move the alignment screws into the right direction. Possibility to pre-plan an observation night (e.g. the mount could tell you that the Jupiter moon shadow will be on Jupiter in a few minutes). Record the telescope movements during the night in order to be able to tag any picture. The TMC drivers have much more capability than what I am using currently. For instance, they could be current controlled for slews in order to set the stepper current exactly to the value that it needs without stalling. This saves a lot of energy. The TMC drivers have a feature called “Stall Guard”. This could be used instead of endstop switches (for 3D-printers, this is done frequently). Advanced options for tracking: siderial, solar, moon speed, ISS speed. Tracking in both axis (e.g. to compensate polar misalignments of atmospheric refraction) or just in right ascension. Commercial mounts do not allow much customization here. With slow slew speeds, 5V input via a USB-C cable is sufficient for the Pi + Motors. Usb-C and newer usb battery packs allow to output a higher voltage via USB. With an “USB-trigger”, the input voltage can be selected to my needs. Higher voltage allows higher slew speeds, but consumes more power. Autoguider support, or even better: simply connect a webcam via the Pi's USB connector and do the guiding on the Pi The Raspberry Pi touch screen could be used for telescope controlls Advanced German mount limits and meridian flip control (e.g. a warning about a necessary flip when driving to a specific goto target). An Android App, connected via WiFi to the Pi could be used as display alternative Language control (have a look at Mycroft, an open-source artificial intelligence). "Hey mount, please slew to the whirlpool galaxy!" Control the mount via SkySafari and Stellarium The Pi has a built in camera interface. How about an open source auto align? The Pi could look at the stars to align itself, which makes a lot of sense. I did already order a long focal length lens and monochrome camera from Arducam in order to do some experiments (the standard Pi camera has 3.5 mm focal length and is not really usable, although star imagining is possible). My first observation site is my balcony. And there, the real Starsense does not work at all. It always spin-loops on 2 alignment positions where the sky is covered by the roof – how silly is that?. This can be done better. Further, Starsense is doing only a initial alignment. It should update its position and accuracy over the time! I think I could do this better. Besides all my ideas, the first and most important focus of the software will be: Readability (therefore my choice of Kotlin), extensibility and open source. I like to have the Maths of the internal mount model clearly visible and understandable in the software. The calculations that are done within all our goto mounts are no rocket science. I admit, I am the nerd guy who wants to go the hard way and implement this from scratch. I am looking for a good project name, do you have any suggestions? How about QuickStep? this is possibly too close to OneStep and would offend the creators of OneStep? Does anyone of you have interest in joining my plan? Doing such a project in a small group would be more encouraging then just doing it for myself. And of course later on, I would appreciate if other stargazers would update their old mounts with my software. Any comments on my project plan are welcome! Clear Skies! Andy
  9. Anyone out there replaced the Motherboard on an Orion GoTO truss tobe Dobsonian, our Societys 16" started giving error messages stating it could not connect to either axis, we ordered and replaced the Motherboard which promptly "burnt" out, we are seeking a repair (believe this is basically a re-branded Skywatcher) any advise or help greatly appreciated.
  10. *NOW SOLD* I've just blown all my pocket money on a Rowan belted HEQ5 Pro, so it's time to move on my trusty EQ5 GOTO, before my wife spots 2 tripods in my shed I'm sure everyone knows these mounts, but just to say that it's in full working order, with just the usual wear marks here and there, and a few marker pen lines for Home and counterweight positions. Comes with 12V power lead and car cigarette plug, and sync lead with USB adapter to let you upgrade the firmware on the Synscan handset. It's currently at 4.39.05, which was the latest version a couple of months ago. There are 2 x 5kg counterweights as well. I still have the boxes for my HEQ5, so I can courier it within mainland UK included in the price. If you live elsewhere, we can work out a price. Yours for a sensible £350 - a new one will cost you around £575 from most of the usual retailers. Paypal Gift or Bank Transfer most welcome Thanks for looking
  11. Newbie , bought a skywatcher Capricorn ( around £100) but still unopened as I have some unexpected money and wonder what to do . options I see are ; Use the Capricorn and get to know the sky and how to align the eq mount. Move on if I get the bug , maybe get a couple of better eyepieces. Return for refund and choose one of; Use my approx £350 budget to get a 90+ aperture scope . Blow the budget on an entry level GOTO scope , don’t bother learning stuff but just observe. What would you do ? To be honest I think the learning thing is part of the fun but GOTO scopes seem to be the ‘in’ thong
  12. Hi Everyone. Hoping you can guide me in the right direction or give some advice. I was given a Celestron Astromaster 70AZ telescope as a gift and have so far managed to locate and view Jupiter with an Android app. I subsequently came across a youtube clip were the guy demonstrated on how to add a DSLR / mobile phone adapter to his telescope as a way to converting his budget telescope to a push / go-to by clipping his mobile phone on top of his telescope and using the star finder app, be able to locate his target and then using his finder scope. Please note that I am not trying to Astrophotography (yet). However, I am unable to find any mounting clips / mobile phone adapters I can buy to add onto my telescope. Any suggestions or ideas how I can make this work? Below is what I mean on how I want to attach my mobile phone on top of my telescope. Your help will be appreciated! AC South Africa
  13. Hi, do you think it's a good idea to swap my EQ3-2 GoTo Alu for iEXOS-100? Will there be some kind of improvement? Thanks!
  14. Hi, As my GoTo is successfully finished (some cosmetic issues remain) I shoud focus my attention on planets' positions. I have proper source of information: fantastic book "Astronomical Algorithms" by Jean Meeus, thus I will sort the planets soon. But planets are not a challenge for me at this moment, they are just something obvious to do in my list. I have another idea and ambitious plan for next project within the year: locating and tracking the ISS to be able to make a video of its fly, not only transition. Similarly to other objects, I need some equations. I'm pretty sure they are available somewhere, because plenty websites or apps offer showing current position of the ISS. I will use this topic for sharing a progress ot the project.
  15. I am just in the process of buying my first telescope. There’s so much information it’s making it very difficult what to choose! I have decided to buy a GoTo telescope but I can’t find any information which answers my query. Basically, can you use a GoTo telescope without using the computer part and use it as you would manual one? Any advice would be gratefully received!
  16. Hi all. I'm buying a revelation 16-inch f/4.5 m-crf truss dobsonian and wanted to know can you/ has anyone fitted a go to drive on this scope? ArgoNavis or ServoCat or the like? Thanks!
  17. Greetings, I'm super happy to have found this forum of night sky enthusiasts and look forward to learning and sharing on this site! I am an amateur stargazer fortunate to live in a rural area with great dark skies. I'm used to using a GoTo Celestron. Unfortunately I'm having a problem with a newly purchased Orion SkyQuest XTg 10. I've only used it a couple of times. Recently, when I turn on the power, the hand controller (a SynScan V4 GoTo, version 04.39.04) states a message "Both axes...no response!" which means the motors won't work. I've unplugged all the cords & replugged to no avail. The power comes from a new Orion Dynamo Pro, 12 V, Lithium Power Supply which was recommended. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem might be? Thank you
  18. Took my Celestron AVX Mount out this afternoon to familiarize my self with it in the daylight. Wasn’t sure if or how it would work, since it’s my first goto Mount. I got it setup per the directions and attached the SkySync GPS. It locked on my location very quickly so I did the Quick Align option just as a test. The polar scope was oriented north, and I used Sky Safari to locate stars I couldn’t see cause it was daytime. My first choice was Sirius and it slewed right around to what should be the general vicinity! I then chose Venus in the West and off it went! I hit home and it went back to the original setup position. I can’t wait to take it out tomorrow night and really put it through it’s paces! This is totally most excellent!
  19. Hey, I've been looking for a mount for my 8 inch skywatcher reflector for a while now and can't decide what mount to buy. The requirements i am looking for are the following: Goto system or synscan 10+ kg weight capacity Tripod My budget is around £500. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some good mounts or point me into the right direction. My goal is to get better at astrophotography, my previous mount was a dobson mount ( which came with the scope ) but does not have any features to track objects which doesn't help when doing astrophotography. Tnanks
  20. Complete beginner question regarding using this mount. When I have tried to set up and align the mount , the goto targeting is off by many degrees. Here's what I do - can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong!? With the power off: Align the tripod and mount to North and, with the clutches released, set the declination to my latitude (52deg 28' N). and the mount in the weights-down home position. Lock the clutches and fine tune the alignment on Polaris using the mechanical adjustments on the mount. Turn the power on: Set up the date, time and location, elevation etc. in the handset (noting the American Date format and Longitude first (set to W 1deg 48') DST = Yes Select 1 Star align Pick a star, I usually try Procyon or Betelguese depending on the time. The scope slews to vaguely the right direction but actually nowhere near. It can take 2 or 3 minutes of manual slewing to centre the star in the eyepiece. Finishing, of course, with an up and right movement. Finally, press Enter to complete the alignment ==> Alignment Successful says the handset optimistically. Now from the object menu pick another target. Try, say, Polaris which was where I started and ... nowhere near it. It's the same regardless of the selected target. I have tried 2 star alignment and 3 star alignment, a factory reset before starting, but nothing seems to work. Once i'm lined up on a target the mount tracks nicely - it just won't go where I want it to! Not yet at my wits end but - Help! Mark
  21. I recently acquired a used CPC800 SCT. I thought a 'First Light' report might be of interest. First impressions: the tripod is a heavy duty affair with thick legs, a folding lower spreader and a big cast alloy eyepiece tray/steady. The OTA/fork assembly (not separable) is very heavy (21Kg/44lbs) but has a couple of grab handles. You need to be fit to handle this. ? (I was seriously tempted not to go ahead with the purchase after trying the weight.) With the legs retracted it is just possible to pass the tripod through a standard doorway, but it is just as easy to pull up the lower spreader and carry it folded. It is much heavier than a C8SE tripod but more comparable with a EQ5 tripod in weight. Once in position, I checked the level with the handy built-in bubble level and left it. I forgot to screw up the eyepiece tray/upper spreader but I don't think this made any difference. Scope stored on a table with faceplate down and rear handle uppermost. Took the weight with my left arm, elbow fully bent, forearm vertical. Got it on the tripod which took the weight till I got the base to drop over the centre pin, spun it till something clicked into place and then did up the three thumbscrews. I would not try this with an equatorial wedge unless I had a helper. Celestron also sell a CPC 9.25 and CPC1100 - if I had one of those I'd need a sheerlegs or a brawny assistant.? Fitted the visual back (same as C8 SE), prism diagonal (same as C8 SE), straight-thru 50mm finder, handset (Nexstar+) and handset bracket which holds it facing rearwards (a handy feature not implemented on the C8 SE). Fitted a 25mm X-Cel LX that came as an extra. Connected my new lithium powertank and its DC cable, and powered up. It comes ready (CPC Ready) very quickly. Selected 2-star auto align - it whizzed past a time display showing the time ahead of my watch by 1 hour - more on this later. Aimed at Arcturus and afjusted the finder aim. Selected Capella - it nearly got there and then blackout! The cable had snagged and pulled on the plug. I ran the cable through the side handle on the fork and tried again. (It appears that the CPC's supplied cable has a locking ring and the other end has a cigarette lighter style plug.) Capella ... Arcturus .. aligned. Told it to find Mizar (named star menu). It did. Also found M48, the Ghost of Jupiter planetary, Gamma Leo (split ), 54 leo, 88 Leo, 90Leo. The scope appears to be collimated and resolution OK. GoTo is just accurate enough to drop doubles into the bottom of 9mm X-Cel Lx field. Even at 200x and a gusty night the view is rock steady. A pier mount could hardly be stiffer than this! And no obvious backlash in use (unlike C8 SE). Fiddled with the menu, found the GPS is obviously working, and the time set for daylight saving. Corrected it to standard time. GoTo still works. Teardown: tube horizontal, power off, tube cap on, diagonal off, handset and bracket off, left visual back on and capped it, loosened clutch to point tube straight down. Got OTA/fork assembly off and back indoors on table, twirled it into position. Folded up tripod and carried it indoors. I would not try carrying the tripod and scope together. Verdict: Very solid mount should be good for planetary imaging. Some nice features not on C8 SE, otherwise same optical performance. Alarming weight.
  22. At around 14.35 GMT today I observed Venus, Mercury and Jupiter, with my 127mm Mak SLT GoTo. Venus was a large, very thin crescent, trembly in poor seeing. Mercury was easy to see once I got my eye in, and Jupiter was easier to pick out with a red filter. Mercury and Jupiter are now not far apart. (7min RA 3 deg Dec.) The visibility of Mercury seems dependent on atmospheric clarity. On several days recently I looked for it but could not see it.
  23. I am considering purchasing the https://www.celestron.com/products/nexstar-130slt-computerized-telescope for my son for XMAS. I want the Go To functionality and I have looked into software and know I will want TheStarX software to point to objects in the sky. My question is what do I need to get this to work? How do I connect the telescope to my network so my computer can talk to it?
  24. Aided by GoTo, I observed Venus in daylight this afternoon. It is only a few days from inferior conjunction (26th) and appears as a large thin crescent. It's in an unfavorable position for Northern nocturnal observers and appeared almost below the Sun. I could not see Mercury (which should have been accessible). And before you comment, I checked carefully where the 127mm Mak was pointing before putting my eye to the eyepiece.?
  25. Hi, I have a Sky-Watcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube GOTO which I am enjoying however after a period of no use the base has become very stiff. My fault, as it became wet not realising that the cover I had bought for it was not waterproof. Looking through the threads in here I found one which I followed to try to strip down the base however I have become stuck at the point of trying to remove the motor housing from the base after removing the 4 machine screws. I suspect that it is a combination of corrosion and the base material swelling which is preventing me from removing the motor from the base. When I release the worm gear from the static gear using the release lever the motor turns easily which is what is fuelling my suspicion. Any advice or suggestions would be useful as I've come to a halt in my investigation for the moment. It looks to me like I'm going to need a new base which may be a better bet anyway as the original supplied is heavy and definitely not good in the damp. Dom
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