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The joy of alignment


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At last - perfect alignment - for observing anyway.

I've never had much luck with alignment and me and Polaris just don't get on. When I upgraded (just last week) to the AZ-EQ6 GT I was hoping that the availability of Alt-Az mode might be my answer. Last night I got it - Deep Joy as Mr Unwin used to say.

At first it didn't look promising with the second star (Vega) way off after setting the first (Arcturus) manually. So I started again by going back to Arcturus and switching off and back on. I aligned the star with the handset following the rules of using the Right and Up keys last to centre the star. Now Vega was very close to the slewed position and I used the Right and Up keys last again to centre it.

I then went for my old friend Saturn and there it was almost dead centre in the wide angle eyepiece. I then used the Pointing Accuracy Enhancement routine (which I can never remember so I've written it out and taped the note to the side of the mount!) to confirm the planet's location.

So now the real test - slew to the Ring Nebula and sure enough there she was dead centre! I was very very pleased.

There then followed an enthralling hour as I went from one Messier to the next, one double to the next and every single one was spot on. Even the faint ones (it was a bit hazy) were OK because I knew by this time that the scope would be in the right spot so I just had to concentrate.

I must confess I didn't spend long studying each object (that can come another night) but just revelling in the ease of it all.

I've done my share of star-hopping and it is great when you find a difficult target, but it is also great to have more time to look at things rather than hunting for them.

I also realise that to you imaging chaps, alignment means much more and this must sound very tame, but to me it was probably my best night ever with a scope and as the thin clouds started to come over, I didn't mind at all but went indoors a happy man, poured a glass of wine and wrote down what I had seen.

I can't wait for the next clear night.


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Yep ,it's wonderful and mysterious when it all comes together.I cannot understand how folks get in a tangle with GOTO.

It's a great help to sort out a mass of close objects such as the Virgo cluster,


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I've never understood why it was so difficult for me - maybe an equipment problem? More likely to be me not following the rules. Advice on here has been very useful. I'm going to crack equatorial mode next!

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