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Chris Rowland

Celestron StarSense Accessory

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Hello to all, please bare with me as this is my first post on a forum ever. Not sure that I'm in the correct place to ask a guestion. 

I have a Nexstar 8 SE and recently purchased a StarSence.   After about 20 times using it I has been accurate only about 3 times.

I am located n a dark sky area 100 miles north of Las Vegas ,Nv.  Totally clear of obstructions horizon to horizon..

My primary question is about setting time,,,,.  Do I enter the current time difference from GMT , which is -7 hours for me after entering my current local time ??

I read somewhere that when you enter the time zone as Pacifc that is all it needs.  

Any help is appreciated. Th manual is lacking a lot of detail.   

Thanks your help. 

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Hi!

New here as well.  I've been doing a little research on the StarSense.  I'm close to pulling the trigger!  I'd like to ask if anyone has used the StarSense with their Alt/Az mount set up on a scope for polar alignment?  If so, any luck?  How did it work out?

 

Thanks!

Jason

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22 hours ago, Jason___ said:

Hi!

New here as well.  I've been doing a little research on the StarSense.  I'm close to pulling the trigger!  I'd like to ask if anyone has used the StarSense with their Alt/Az mount set up on a scope for polar alignment?  If so, any luck?  How did it work out?

 

Thanks!

Jason

you do not polar align an alt az mount (unless on a wedge) so the Star Sense is not needed

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The Starsense will only work with Celestron mounts. It aligns the mount for you, doing the 3-star align in a few minutes. I found it to work perfectly with my Nexstar 127SLT. As m.tweedy says it is for Alt-Az mounts which cant be polar aligned (except on a wedge).

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1 hour ago, m.tweedy said:

you do not polar align an alt az mount (unless on a wedge) so the Star Sense is not needed

heh - my mistake.  I just went back and re-read what I wrote yesterday.  I totally omitted the fact that it would be on a wedge :)

 

So ...  wedge set for correct lat, any luck with the polar alignment?

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I don't think the starsense will do the polar alignment. It will do the basic alignment which tells the scope where it is on the surface of the earth and which way it is pointing. Polar alignment is different.

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45 minutes ago, tekkydave said:

I don't think the starsense will do the polar alignment. It will do the basic alignment which tells the scope where it is on the surface of the earth and which way it is pointing. Polar alignment is different.

Hi Dave,

 

Page 16 of the manual actually outlines the process for doing polar align on wedge mount.  I guess I could reframe my question:  Has anyone done the polar align while on a wedge with the Starsense?  If so, how well does it work?

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You are correct, the manual p16 says:

"Polar Align must be performed after a StarSense Auto or StarSense Manual Align ."

What it means is you must do a regular align using the starsense camera first. The polar align is a separate function of the hand controller but it doesn't use the starsense camera to do it.

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Hi all,

just got my StarSense fitted to my scope and have been running through the various menus on the HC & was attempting to set up the slew limits but got a bit stuck.

On my regular NexStar+ HC I could set my MIN slew limit to a negative value so my scope to slew to the horizon (my latitude - 90) when wedge mounted.

There doesn't seem to be an option for negative slewing on the StarSense HC, the default values are MAX 90 & MIN 10 and the range for both are 0 - 90.

How do I set the MIN slew limit so the scope doesn't nag when attempting to target an object below 0 when wedge mounted?

 

Regards..,

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Starsense is only a tool to establish your initial alignment.  Scope slew limits are set in its HC under <menu>; <telescope>; <Starsense>; <slew limits>. See page 26 of manual. But my advice is unless you do encounter a problem, don't touch anything in the deep guts of the Starsense HC as Starsense generally performs superbly well without any human fiddling. Just let Starsense do its own stuff and enjoy.

However, if using Starsense on a wedge, you will need to read the section on Polar Align on page 16. Again, I suggest you don't change any other settings unless you do encounter an actual problem with the default slew limitations. But any Polar Align must follow an auto or manual align. I believe it then self adjusts other defaults. 

But more generally, what I do when I get a "warning, beyond slew limit"; and I believe that is probably false and over conservative; I simply proceed, but watchfully! But then I do have an Evolution 8 and with its scooped out mount that I can comfortably take past the zenith even with a large Televue Delos ( but obviously not camera). That might be too ambitious with a 9.25 Evo (and/or with camera etc), but you can always hit any direction key to stop the slew before disaster! Think you might be surprised how far you can push this.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, noah4x4 said:

Starsense is only a tool to establish your initial alignment.  Scope slew limits are set in its HC under <menu>; <telescope>; <Starsense>; <slew limits>. See page 26 of manual. But my advice is unless you do encounter a problem, don't touch anything in the deep guts of the Starsense HC as Starsense generally performs superbly well without any human fiddling. Just let Starsense do its own stuff and enjoy.

However, if using Starsense on a wedge, you will need to read the section on Polar Align on page 16. Again, I suggest you don't change any other settings unless you do encounter an actual problem with the default slew limitations. But any Polar Align must follow an auto or manual align. I believe it then self adjusts other defaults. 

But more generally, what I do when I get a "warning, beyond slew limit"; and I believe that is probably false and over conservative; I simply proceed, but watchfully! But then I do have an Evolution 8 and with its scooped out mount that I can comfortably take past the zenith even with a large Televue Delos ( but obviously not camera). That might be too ambitious with a 9.25 Evo (and/or with camera etc), but you can always hit any direction key to stop the slew before disaster! Think you might be surprised how far you can push this.

 

 

 

Thanks for replying, I have indeed read the section on Slew Limits & this is what brought me to post.

As I said, on my original NexStar+ HC the min slew limit allows for a negative figure to be input and this is always set as (your latitude minus 90 degrees) so for me with my latitude at 51degrees I would have the min slew limit set at -39 whenever my scope is wedge mounted. This in effect lets me slew to the horizon or 0degrees and no further.

If the min slew limit when wedge mounted is just set to 0 (zero) , the system complains about been beyond slew limits when it is still 39degrees above the horizon.

Just wondering how I set this min slew limit on the StarSense HC as I do on the regular NexStar+ HC when my scope is wedge monuted.

I know I can override the beyond slew limit message but personally I think that is a little bit risky because a small input error and not been vigilant could easily lead to the scope getting in a right mess.

p.s. I do set my MAX slew limit to 85degrees, I have calculated this based on the equipment I have attached to the back.

 

Thanks.

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On 09/12/2016 at 18:27, 1CM69 said:

Thanks for replying, I have indeed read the section on Slew Limits & this is what brought me to post.

As I said, on my original NexStar+ HC the min slew limit allows for a negative figure to be input and this is always set as (your latitude minus 90 degrees) so for me with my latitude at 51degrees I would have the min slew limit set at -39 whenever my scope is wedge mounted. This in effect lets me slew to the horizon or 0degrees and no further.

If the min slew limit when wedge mounted is just set to 0 (zero) , the system complains about been beyond slew limits when it is still 39degrees above the horizon.

Just wondering how I set this min slew limit on the StarSense HC as I do on the regular NexStar+ HC when my scope is wedge monuted.

I know I can override the beyond slew limit message but personally I think that is a little bit risky because a small input error and not been vigilant could easily lead to the scope getting in a right mess.

p.s. I do set my MAX slew limit to 85degrees, I have calculated this based on the equipment I have attached to the back.

 

Thanks.

Have you polar aligned as suggested?  It might need that step to understand what the correct declination is for a wedge mounted scope.

Edited by JayStar

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As yet no, weather has been continually poor. 

I am thinking that it works this may as well, I hope so. 

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5 minutes ago, 1CM69 said:

As yet no, weather has been continually poor. 

I am thinking that it works this may as well, I hope so. 

Yes, I'd imagine so... there are no options as far as I can see in the manual for the old EQ North (etc.) alignment, so maybe the only way the mount knows it is on a wedge is when it completes the polar alignment sequence.  My Starsense is on order, so I'll be giving this a go myself next week. 

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I'm carefully weather watching, pressure is rising and temp is dropping so could be good in a couple of days, fingers crossed. 

Let me know how you get on. 

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3 minutes ago, 1CM69 said:

I'm carefully weather watching, pressure is rising and temp is dropping so could be good in a couple of days, fingers crossed. 

Let me know how you get on. 

Looks like there might be a gap in the clouds next Tuesday from around 6pm... My unit should have arrived by then so will give it a go.  Interested on how close it gets to TPoint modelling.  

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I've just had to lookup what Tpoint is, as I had no idea. 

Looks like high-end stuff, so yeah, if the StarSense competes with that it'll be great

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1 minute ago, 1CM69 said:

I've just had to lookup what Tpoint is, as I had no idea. 

Looks like high-end stuff, so yeah, if the StarSense competes with that it'll be great

It is a good tool, but it's proving too high end for my ability at the moment (ha!). Not really getting great success with it.

The thing that interested me about the Starsense is that it is effectively an F/2 scope and combined with a decent enough sized chip, has a huge field of view...hence it can see a lot of stars for plate solving which makes things easier.  TPoint @f/10 through my CPC925 is more of a challenge - especially with no lock on the mirror. 

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Just got a Starsense to use with my 127mm Mak GoTo. It arrived last Wednesday, but this was the first night I've been able to try it. By the time I figured out how to set the geographical location (on Menu button), cloud was coming over. I set it doing an auto align and rather to my surprise it worked and found at least 12 stars, and announced a success, even though I could hardly see a thing. Because of the cloud I could not complete the setup, but it appeared to point near the Pleiades and near Capella when I selected them in the menus.

Unlike the basic Nexstar, there is no database entry for Constellations, which is a bit annoying as I liked that feature.

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13 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

Just got a Starsense to use with my 127mm Mak GoTo. It arrived last Wednesday, but this was the first night I've been able to try it. By the time I figured out how to set the geographical location (on Menu button), cloud was coming over. I set it doing an auto align and rather to my surprise it worked and found at least 12 stars, and announced a success, even though I could hardly see a thing. Because of the cloud I could not complete the setup, but it appeared to point near the Pleiades and near Capella when I selected them in the menus.

Unlike the basic Nexstar, there is no database entry for Constellations, which is a bit annoying as I liked that feature.

Sounds promising then. 

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Starsense arrived today and I set it up.

First thing to note is that the serial connection on the HC has been replaced with a mini usb - so no more serial to usb adapter needed to connect the PC to the hand controller, just a mini usb to standard usb cable.

Mounting the camera was easy as it uses the existing Celestron guide scope mount.

I did an initial manual 3 point alignment - just pointed the scope at 3 positions in the sky (one by one). Starsense found between 29 and 100 stars on each run and solved all 3 points. 

I then added 7 more points (all solved with plenty of stars found) and saved the now 10 point alignment to the user auto align option (meaning those 10 points will now be used when auto aligning).

Everything worked without a hitch, but I was not able to centre the main scope to the camera - the one time step - because the clouds rolled in.

I have put the mount in to hibernate to keep the alignment and will try to centre tomorrow.

The pointing without the alignment to the main scope seemed to be fine in so much that the scope was pointed at each object selected (i.e. no strange slews). I will check accuracy once the centering process is done.

 

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17 minutes ago, JayStar said:

Starsense arrived today and I set it up.

First thing to note is that the serial connection on the HC has been replaced with a mini usb - so no more serial to usb adapter needed to connect the PC to the hand controller, just a mini usb to standard usb cable.

Mounting the camera was easy as it uses the existing Celestron guide scope mount.

I did an initial manual 3 point alignment - just pointed the scope at 3 positions in the sky (one by one). Starsense found between 29 and 100 stars on each run and solved all 3 points. 

I then added 7 more points (all solved with plenty of stars found) and saved the now 10 point alignment to the user auto align option (meaning those 10 points will now be used when auto aligning).

Everything worked without a hitch, but I was not able to centre the main scope to the camera - the one time step - because the clouds rolled in.

I have put the mount in to hibernate to keep the alignment and will try to centre tomorrow.

The pointing without the alignment to the main scope seemed to be fine in so much that the scope was pointed at each object selected (i.e. no strange slews). I will check accuracy once the centering process is done.

 

Just one question, is your scope pier mounted or permanently set up in an observatory?

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1 minute ago, 1CM69 said:

Just one question, is your scope pier mounted or permanently set up in an observatory?

It's on a permanent pier in an observatory.

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1 minute ago, JayStar said:

It's on a permanent pier in an observatory.

Brilliant, I am very interested in how you get on with slewing limits using the StarSense on a EQ mount. 

Since I bought my StarSense the weather has been terrible and haven't had any chance to try it. 

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Just now, 1CM69 said:

Brilliant, I am very interested in how you get on with slewing limits using the StarSense on a EQ mount. 

Since I bought my StarSense the weather has been terrible and haven't had any chance to try it. 

Yes, plan to check all that once the main OTA centring and polar alignment routines are done.  I am on a wedge and I noted in the instructions that the scope needs to be positioned according to the OTA/ARM index markers prior to starting alignment.

 

 

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