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Celestron 6se Alignment help for a Newbie


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I'm a newbie to telescopes. I recently purchased a Celestron 6se from ebay which, for a first scope is quite a handfull.

After having the scope for a week and it being cloudy since, I only got the chance to try it out last night.

I set it on a level surface using the spirit level and selected 3 star align.

I first chose Vega then Deneb and some other star I don't know what but the alignment failed.

Maybe I put in the wrong time zone because I did not recognise the time zones on the screen, no GMT. I chose "universal" I think.

I selected Liverpool as city ( I'm in Blackpool ).

I did put the correct date in, although because it is american I found I had to put the month first.

I would like to know what time zone to put in and is there another city I can chose.

Also, I had a few problems setting up the star finder. The red dot was too bright to see a star through it so I turned it down, but sometimes it would flicker and go off. Is it crucial to set this up for alignment?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Usually Universal = GMT.

I would have thought that the option was a numeric one and that you (we) would have been 0, or 00. Know it is on SW units.

Assuming that Universal is OK, then it should have asked if DST was applicable or not.

As we are using DST (=BST) without this the general set up would have been 15 degrees out. So at this time DST = YES.

The finder will not affect alignment, but your post then reads that you were aligning using the finder not the main scope. You have to do the alignment using the scope and an eyepiece. The finder is more for manual use of the scope when you locate an object by using the wider field of the finder then get the good view by the scope.

The more level the whole lot is at start up the better. Also start with a long focal length eyepiece for the alignment - wider view and on the 6SE it is useful.

As to a better location enter your own, you can add locations to the system.

Vega and Deneb seem too close to each other. Would suggest Deneb, Altair and Arcturus. These have a greater seperation.

Edited by ronin
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I have a NexStar 6se too and I was initially confused as you are. I found my exact longitude and latitude (from my iPhone) but initially got West and East transposed. You have discovered the 'American' date system, so that's okay. You also have to be aware that you can't use just any three stars for alignment. They have to be ones that are in the SE's database and it is best if they are as bright and far apart as possible (in an equilateral triangle). Avoid including planets. The SE is also very fussy about its power. Forget Alkaline batteries, get yourself a decent power tank. I have the Celestron one and a cheaper one from Maplin but either are infinitely better than the batteries.

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Also, I highly recommend using auto two star alignment, it's much quicker and (in my opinion) less likely to fail. Well worth giving it a go if you do know a few of the stars in the sky already, which it sounds like you do from your post.

Edited by Midpoint
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I'm a newbie to telescopes. I recently purchased a Celestron 6se from ebay which, for a first scope is quite a handfull.

After having the scope for a week and it being cloudy since, I only got the chance to try it out last night.

I set it on a level surface using the spirit level and selected 3 star align.

I first chose Vega then Deneb and some other star I don't know what but the alignment failed.

Maybe I put in the wrong time zone because I did not recognise the time zones on the screen, no GMT. I chose "universal" I think.

I selected Liverpool as city ( I'm in Blackpool ).

I did put the correct date in, although because it is american I found I had to put the month first.

I would like to know what time zone to put in and is there another city I can chose.

Also, I had a few problems setting up the star finder. The red dot was too bright to see a star through it so I turned it down, but sometimes it would flicker and go off. Is it crucial to set this up for alignment?

Any help would be appreciated.

Hi,

I'm in Bispham and have both the SLT and CPC mounts, which work the same as the SE mount. The CPC uses GPS so I don't have to enter anything for my location, but with the SLT I input 53 degrees 49 minutes north and 3 degrees 3 minutes west. We are at universal time (UT) which is the same as GMT. At this time of year also use daylight saving.

I always use a 3 star align and rarely have a problem. Choose 3 bright stars or two stars and a planet (doesn't matter which, even the moon will do for one object) making sure that they are spread across the sky and I find it helps that they are at different altitudes. Rarely fails; it really is as easy as 1-2-3. And much easier than the SynScan system which requires you to know which stars you are using (not easy if you have a restricted view of the sky as I do - too many trees).

Brinders

Edited by Brinders
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OK. Thanks for the replies. I will give some of those things a go.

I did not choose DST ronin, so that won't have helped.

Brinders. I will input those degrees next time.

I can't wait to actually see something through the scope.

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Update.

Still not got the hang of alignment yet. Tried 1 star align using Arcturus but failed to centre on any other.

I tried a few times but still no avail. I'm sure I will get it soon.

I was using a 25mm plossl lens.

Using manual however I did manage to see the moon in great detail as never before, and as a bonus I managed to see nearby Jupiter and its moons up close for the first time. I could easily make out the surface but not quite the red spot.

Next stop Saturn.

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I prefer using auto 2 star align, it's much quicker than the default. You only have to learn the position of 2 stars.

First I select "auto 2 star align", then point it at Polaris, align it, then choose Altair from the list, then the scope slews to where it thinks Altair should be, then you fine tune it so the star is dead centre, then press Align, done. It's easy and has never failed me yet.

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I prefer using auto 2 star align, it's much quicker than the default. You only have to learn the position of 2 stars.

First I select "auto 2 star align", then point it at Polaris, align it, then choose Altair from the list, then the scope slews to where it thinks Altair should be, then you fine tune it so the star is dead centre, then press Align, done. It's easy and has never failed me yet.

yep as above ,its bang on remember we are daylight saving just now , and check you lat and long are in the correct format , degrees and minuets or the other format ! also use spirt level to make sure the mount is horizontal ..:)

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I second the "auto two star" method. Works every time.

I have also tried "3 star align" and not only does it take quite a bit longer it has always produced "alignment unsuccessful".

Also make sure your scope is balanced (with accessories), use the spirit level to get your mount level and use a defocused star with a higher power EP to make centering more precise.

The standard advice re position, date and time and daylight saving is also vital.

Once you get the routine it does not fail.

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RE evilgeenius hemihaggis and Donkeiller. Thanks for the info.

Looks like 2 star it is. I will try the Polaris and Altair trick next time.

Like has been said, once I get it right I shouldn't fail again as long as the input deatails are correct of course.

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Hello

Strange you are having such problems.

You have entered the date in the American format, haven't you? Month first followed by day. So today would be 07/24/2011. Also remember to enter the time using the 24 hour format, select UT and daylight saving time.

Finally, how are you powering the mount - if an external battery pack is it fully charged? I believe that the mount might not behave properly if it isn't getting sufficient power. I use a Coleman Camingaz Euro 12v transformer connected to the mains as I found that the usual external battery packs, such as those from Maplins, didn't hold their charge after a year or two (both mine packed in long ago).

Brinders

Edited by Brinders
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Brinders. The batteries are Duracell with power meters,all tested to 3/4 power. I realise I will need to get a power tank for the future.

Also, yes I did put the correct date in ( stupid US month first! ).

I'm getting closer, maybe tonight if clear I will succeed.

Just another thing I noticed.

When I had the scope partially aligned I looked at Polaris then I instructed it to goto Mizar.

Instead of moving slightly left and down it moved clockwise the long way round. It ended up somewhere between Mizar and Alkaid.

A bit like my satnav, always taking me the long way round. But is it right?

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Getting an external power tank/battery is really a must with that mount as it just eats through AA batteries very quickly. And when the batteries start to run low, it doesn't fail gracefully and you may see it start to slew to random positions when you try to go to an object. When it happened to me, I was about ready to send it back to the supplier as broken until someone on the forum suggested changing the batteries :)

Have you got cord wrap prevention turn on? That can cause it to sometimes take "odd" routes to targets as it's trying to prevent any wires connected to the scope from power supplies/laptops from wrapping themselves around the mount.

Edited by Midpoint
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Brinders. The batteries are Duracell with power meters,all tested to 3/4 power. I realise I will need to get a power tank for the future.

Also, yes I did put the correct date in ( stupid US month first! ).

I'm getting closer, maybe tonight if clear I will succeed.

Just another thing I noticed.

When I had the scope partially aligned I looked at Polaris then I instructed it to goto Mizar.

Instead of moving slightly left and down it moved clockwise the long way round. It ended up somewhere between Mizar and Alkaid.

A bit like my satnav, always taking me the long way round. But is it right?

Ah, that's probably the problem as others have pointed out. You need an external power supply - batteries (particularly re-chargeables) just won't cut it. The Maplin power tank, or external power supply such as the one I use, is the way to go - I think that will solve your problems as will turning cord wrap off.

When we get towards autumn and cooler nights, you may find that the high humidity in the Fylde area leads to the objective dewing up, so you'll need to consider some dew prevention such as a heater tape or at the very least a dew shield - but that's another story - this hobby just gets more and more expensive!

Brinders

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Brinders. Thanks, I did receive a dew shield with it so at least I have don't have to buy one.

I did manage to successfully align tonight. I used 2 star with Arcturus and then Polaris. I then said goto Andromeda galaxy, and it did!

Unfortunately it started to play up after that and moving all over the place. I knew the batteries were dying so I will have to get a power tank sooner than I thought. More weight to lug around

I also spotted a meteor and what looked to be a satellite moving across the sky tonight.

Happy days..... or nights?

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Hi,

Not a huge amount to add to everyone else's excellent suggestions (except also to recommend getting that powertank!), but as a fellow 6SE newbie who also had similar problems initially, I can only say stick with it, it's quite frustrating at first, but when you do get the knack of it (it took me a couple of weeks to get there!) it definitely pays off.

I also remember when I first got my scope thinking it was a handful as there *is* a lot to learn on how to use it. Not sure if your scope came with a manual as you got it from ebay but if not you can download one from Celstron's site... there's some useful info in there about how to use the GoTo that really helped me when I started reading it through properly ..

Another tip when you've got the standard alignment working, is to make use of the Precise GoTo for DSOs.... as a newbie I've found that invaluable as it is much more likely to get the object in the centre of the view.. very helpful if you're not really that sure what you should be looking at at first ! Got my first view of M13 that way, and it was pretty awesome :)

Good luck and have fun :eek:

Matsey

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matsey, thanks. I did get detailed instructions with the scope but only flicked through them.

I used the quick set up guide mainly. I will have to read the instructions properly whilst trying it out practically. Practice will make perfect.

Just a word on eyepieces. I used a plossl 25mm eyepiece to view everything so far including Jupiter and it looked great, but when I attach another of the supplied lenses such as a 10mm plossl, Jupiter turned into a fuzzy blob. Not had any luck with any of the other lenses apart from the 2x barlow.

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I have an 8se. I'm very new too and have tried for hours to try to align my scope. I'm still struggling. But in relation to the 10mm eye piece, you need to use the focus *** on the back of the scope next the the visual back to bring it into focus.

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