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RJBryan

Tracking the Sun with GoTo

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Hi all.

Was wondering if anyone can tell me how to manually track the Sun using GoTo (on an EQ5 Pro)? It's not in the database of objects, which I presume is a safety precaution. I just want to track it for some imaging now I have some Baader Solar Film.

Cheers,

Rob.

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I was just wondering the same thing. Can't exactly do a polar align on a sunny day tho' I wonder if an approximation can be made here by aiming the scope in that direction with appropriate co-ordinates manually set. Then perhaps, maybe, a GOTO to sun (with baader fitted). My HEQ5 has the settings for Polaris and the patio is marked for the three legs. What the tracking accuracy will be is another matter, I don't know other than an occasional tweak on the Synscan.

I took a first day look at the sun yeserday with a straight manual adjust using RA/DEC controls on the mount. To "find" the sun I positioned the shadow of the OTA to be as near a perfect circle I could and the sun was in the eyepiece.

However, there are more out there who know better than I.

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For most purposes you don't need an accurate polar alignment. Pointing north with the aid of a good prismatic compass (allowing for magnetic variation), levelling the tripod head and setting the latitude according to the scale is good enough for most purposes. In the back yard, you can drill holes in a concrete patio so that the tripod always goes back in the same position & get a really accurate alignment by drift aligning at night. Keep the head attached to the tripod & the alignment will be good enough for almost all purposes (remembering that the sun has its own drift rate anyway due to the orbital motion of the earth).

Then all you need to do is skip alignment, go into setup, select tracking, solar rate & the motor will start tracking ...

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Sounds reasonable, except there would be objections from a certain quarter here to drill holes in the patio slabs. But what a good idea. For my own personal safety however, I'd better keep to my markings which get me quite close to a polar align.

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One further thing on this subject - I did a solar observe yesterday and realised that there isn't a solar GOTO on the HEQ5 Synscan (on mine there isn't) - perhaps for obvious reasons. No probs in centreing in the scope by scope shadow technique or perhaps a star/planet close too would help. One would think it easy to find but like the moon in daylight, it ain't.

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One further thing on this subject - I did a solar observe yesterday and realised that there isn't a solar GOTO on the HEQ5 Synscan (on mine there isn't) - perhaps for obvious reasons. No probs in centreing in the scope by scope shadow technique or perhaps a star/planet close too would help. One would think it easy to find but like the moon in daylight, it ain't.

You need a solar finder, very easy to make. A film cannister will do, though mine is made from a cannibalized finder tube.

Drill a pinhole in the middle of the bottom of the cannister. Where the lid would have gone, contrive a translucent screen of some kind. A bit of perspex or polythene sheet or something. Mount this on the scope parallel with the main OTA, getting it as close to aligned as you can but it doesn't have to be perfect.

Centre on the sun. Now the pinhole will allow a point of light onto the transucent screen. With the sun centred, mark the screen where the spot of light has to be.

My own is made from an old finder tube which happened to be the same diameter as an EP barrel so I put an opaque EP cover on the front, pinholed. On the back I put one of those translucent EP covers they give you. I copied this idea from Helen. Thank you Helen!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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On my GOTO hanset (Nexstar) there is a sun tracking option but for safety reasons its disabled by default so needs to be enabled through one of the menus - sorry cant remember exactly which one but its there!

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Found this thread whilst searching to see if there is a way to track the sun using my Skymax 127 AZGoto.

I've found a way that works (for me) to actually find the sun and get aligned so I can view it, however once centred in the scope I'd really like to be able to auto-track it.

For solar viewing I'm using a AstroZap Baader Solar Filter and a Baader Solar Continuum Filter.

Using the following method, I can get a quick and easy alignment on the sun. Essentially I just line up the shadow from one of the locking screws on the filter with the EP that I'm using (25mm). See images below.

IMAG0304a.jpg

IMAG0303a.jpg

I have added some marks (simulated here in Gimp) to ensure that everything lines up the same each time ...... so far it works pretty well.

As long as the locking screw is positioned in the same place on the scope each time (using the marks) and the shadow is similarly lined up to a mark on the EP, the sun is pretty much visible in the scope everytime.

I know this method won't work for every type of scope, the length and where the EP is physically located. But it should be fairly easy to adapt. It just needs something to line the shadow on, a piece of white card positioned in the same spot each time should do it.

Can anybody suggest any method for auto-tracking the sun once aligned ?

Cheers

Al

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on the synscan handset there is an option for luna and solar tracking as long as your mount is polar alinghed and you have got the right time date ECT it will follow the sun all day long

well mine does at kelling last year it was spot on centre all day long i didn't ever have to tweek it hope this helps

PS if you are at kelling [sept] i will show you how its done

Edited by solarboy

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I never even bother to put in the right time and date etc on my EQ6 anymore, it's not needed for solar as you're centering and tracking the same object all day. I simply turn on the mount, skip all the date, time, lat/long, alignment etc settings go straight to the 'setup' and set the tracking to solar, then, centre the sun using the 'sol finder' and away I go.

Regards the accuracy of setting up the mount; I plonk the mount down aligning it to north by means of just visually sighting and aligning with a distant telegraph pole - I always observe from the same spot in my garden and north happens to line up with the pole from this location. I ALWAYS make sure the mount is perfectly level by using the little bubble level that's built into it. Using this technique the sun stays centred in the fov for pretty much all day.

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I simply turn on the mount, skip all the date, time, lat/long, alignment etc settings go straight to the 'setup' and set the tracking to solar, then, centre the sun using the 'sol finder' and away I go.

How does that work? I thought that tracking anything (without adjustment), required an alignment to the celestial pole. If you're not roughly aligned I don't understand how you can track.

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How does that work? I thought that tracking anything (without adjustment), required an alignment to the celestial pole. If you're not roughly aligned I don't understand how you can track.

I am aligned with the celestial pole, reasonably accurately.

"Regards the accuracy of setting up the mount; I plonk the mount down aligning it to north by means of just visually sighting and aligning with a distant telegraph pole - I always observe from the same spot in my garden and north happens to line up with the pole from this location. I ALWAYS make sure the mount is perfectly level by using the little bubble level that's built into it. Using this technique the sun stays centred in the fov for pretty much all day."

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Over 24 hours the sun will be about 3 mins and 56 secs (of time) adrift from where it would be if it moved at siderreal so, while having solar rate is nice, it doesn't really make much odds. I don't bother to change tracking rates when I drop a solar scope onto one of the mounts because I reckon I'm daft enough to forget to reset it at night. The sun stays in the EP for hours and hours. But yes, if you have it, and a better memory than mine, use solar!

Olly

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I just set up using a compass for azimuth and an inclinometer for elevation, then set the Synscan to sidereal tracking; it's held the sun for hours at public events, in a 9mm Nagler.

Here I am with my Atlas and LS60THa for 2.5 hours at the Grand Canyon Star Party without touching the alignment using sidereal tracking.

post-24442-13387765638_thumb.jpg

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Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but how would this work with an Alt-Az goto, like my Skyamax 127 mount is on?

I've got an ISS solar transit visible from my house next week and would like to try photographing it. I get that on an EQ mount you can roughly polar align with a compass and lattitude scale, but I don't think my Alt Az goto mount even knows that north is a thing?

Sorry if I'm being dumb.

Edited by eifionglyn

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Hi

When is the transit 

Point your scope at the sun with your white light or h alpha filter or what ever you are using  make sure the sun stays centre set your camera on a fast speed and when the transit dew take a shot a second apart and hopefully you will get a photo 

Worth taking a few test shots before hand to make sure your focus is right 

Hope this helps

Solarboy

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2 hours ago, eifionglyn said:

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but how would this work with an Alt-Az goto, like my Skyamax 127 mount is on?

I've got an ISS solar transit visible from my house next week and would like to try photographing it. I get that on an EQ mount you can roughly polar align with a compass and lattitude scale, but I don't think my Alt Az goto mount even knows that north is a thing?

Sorry if I'm being dumb.

I think it is still possible to skip the alignment routine and use the mount as a basic alt az supatrack mount.

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Next Wednesday morning at 7:59 according to tansit finder.

The photography bit I'm OK with, my a6300 does 11fps and has a large enough buffer I'm pretty sure I will capture the shot. What I'm wondering is how to set an alt az mount up for solar tracking, given I cant see stars in daytime to do an alignment.

I know for the few seconds the transit lasts tracking is niether here nor there, but would be nice to get it all set up and tracking beforehand and not have to worry about keeping the sun centred. I can then just concentrate on the time and fire the burst at the appropriate moment.

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19 minutes ago, eifionglyn said:

Next Wednesday morning at 7:59 according to tansit finder.

The photography bit I'm OK with, my a6300 does 11fps and has a large enough buffer I'm pretty sure I will capture the shot. What I'm wondering is how to set an alt az mount up for solar tracking, given I cant see stars in daytime to do an alignment.

I know for the few seconds the transit lasts tracking is niether here nor there, but would be nice to get it all set up and tracking beforehand and not have to worry about keeping the sun centred. I can then just concentrate on the time and fire the burst at the appropriate moment.

The earlier versions of the az goto firmware had an option to skip the star alignment and use the mount as an auto tracking mount. The current firmware has a daylight alignment option.

From the  az 3.05 manual

"Auto Tracking - This feature allows for quick tracking of a celestial object while the hand control displays the coordinates the telescope is currently pointed at. If the star alignment procedure has already been performed, you can activate the AutoTracking mode any time. If not, make sure that the location and time have been properly entered. Before choosing the Auto Tracking mode, position the telescope so that the tube is level and pointed to the North."

 

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