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Jupiter and Moons

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Well tonight was the first time I used my new telescope and goto mount. The viewing was really good looking out to sea on the East coast. I could see Jupiter, Castor and Pollux from just above the horizon.  The problem was I couldn't align the scope so I had to manually do it by line of sight. I was so pleased that I set the finderscope up 2 days ago and that part worked like a dream.

The auto alignment was way off and I wondered if I had the scope pointing North (there is a N sign on one of tripod legs so put that to the North). I really don't know why when I aligned it and asked it to go to Jupiter it was pointing about 45deg out? Anyway it was only the first outing so quite happy with what I saw.

I would appreciate any thoughts on what the problem is though.


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Hi there.

What alignment did you use? 2 star alignment is the best one, making sure they are at least 60-90 degrees apart. Also double check the coordinates, time and date (american style mm/dd/yyyy). Let us know how you get on.

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What is the scope?

A goto is mainly about the data getting in correctly, and I dare say every wrong option has appeared here at some time, incuding a few really strange ones.

Your location is approximately Latitude 55N and Longitude 1.4W or most likely -1.4 (note the minus sign)

Depending on the mount one expects Lat first the other expects Long first, if you get them the wrong way round the scope thinks it is in Northern Brazil, then really does point to odd places.

The timezone is 0, think one make has it as 00

Time is whatever it is by your watch and just in case check for AM/PM although many use the 24 hour clock so if it is 9:30 at night you enter 21:30, sounds stupid to say but easy to miss.

DST is presently On or Yes.

You are right, aim the leg North, then level the mount, then (for the hell of it) level the scope tube. Not always necessary but it is a good start position immaterial of required or not.

After this go for alignment, If Arcturus is visible then use that (the big bright orange thing in the West), after that Vega seems an option but so are Altair and Deneb. Don't use Polaris, cannot think of anything obvious in the East to be a fair way from Arcturus - consult a book. If you are out late then Arcturus may drop below the horizon.

Think that is the obvious list, location is often the problem and DST.

Edited by ronin

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I cant add any more advice than the other posts, maybe use around the 20mm size eyepiece to start.

Once you have mastered the technique it pretty accurate :laugh:

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In case wanted, I see you say EQ5 Pro:
Longitude: 001  25' W

Latitude 55 N

These mounts expect Longitude first.

Timezone is 0 and when asked DST is Off (or No), at least until the end of the month.

Enter the dataa during the day, inside in the warm and when it is light, double check everything especially for the right order.

So level the mount, set latitude scale to 55, contort yourself into whatever position required to see Polaris through the polar scope, position Polaris on to the circle (not the centre) at the required position (read up on that). That should be enough for visual. Then do the alignment.

Do not expect it all to go smoothly, it rarely does. :BangHead: :BangHead:

Keep warm, don't try and kick the cat (it's not their fault, but the satisfaction is immense when you connect), don't trip over cables, don't throw the scope at the cat. :angry5: :angry5:

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Hi Guys

Thanks for all your help. I'm using a skyscan eq5 Pro mount and I don't think I had the 60deg separation necessary to align the scope so I will make sure I pick the right stars next time.

Many thanks Brown Dwarf for your advice about Polar alignment. When I got the scope and mount I thought how can you align the Pole star through the viewing angle on the mount, but when I think about it there was a map of the Polar region inside and I thought I wonder what that's for -   :confused:  - now I know. And don't worry about the cat - I love her to bits no chance of her being on the sharp end.

There is such a lot to learn - I knew it would be a steep learning curve, but I didn't expect it to be nearly vertical lol. I'm enjoying the experience though and know once I get the basics right it will be great.


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