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thicklin

Lining up equatorial mount with Polaris

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Dear All

Newbie to the forum, I purchased a astromaster 130EQ at christmas and have had one or two interesting evening when cloud cover has been minimal. Great view of Jupiter and its moons. However, I have one problem. I live in a fantastic location for skywatching,  on a hill overlooking the sea with great southern views of the sea and sky. Unfortunately we have a lot of trees around our propoerty and any practical position in the garden for me to set up means I cannot see polaris to align my equitorial mount. We are at approx 48 degrees latitude so have set the mount up on that basis to date. Is lining up with polaris essential or is there anything else i should do?   

Thanks in advance

Tim

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If you have no view of polaris you can use a compass, an eq mount only needs an approximate alignment for visual :smiley:    

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Hi and welcome to SGL, for  visual observing setting your lattitude on the scale and using a compass to point north will be good enough.

Alan

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Apologies for bumping your thread but I think your question is pretty much answered. I have only had a couple of nights so far to set up my EQ mount with goto.

If my mount is level and I am pointing more or less north, will the adjustment of the controller compensate for being slightly off with a 2 or 3 star alignment? And does the SynScan continue to learn its alignment if you perform adjustments throughout the night or is the 2 or 3 star alignment the only time it will learn it's position?

Many thanks

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The only reason for setting up the eq mount to point north, is for using the circles to find an object with the coordinates or track objects, right?

Because I've been gazing at the moon and Jupiter and didn't bother setting it right. 

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Apologies for bumping your thread but I think your question is pretty much answered. I have only had a couple of nights so far to set up my EQ mount with goto.

If my mount is level and I am pointing more or less north, will the adjustment of the controller compensate for being slightly off with a 2 or 3 star alignment? And does the SynScan continue to learn its alignment if you perform adjustments throughout the night or is the 2 or 3 star alignment the only time it will learn it's position?

Many thanks

Level mount, pointing North, scope in Home Position, set altitude to approximately your latitude. You don't have to do this by any means, at least not if the Celestron software is the same as the Skywatcher, but it is good practice, is easy enough, and reduces the variables you have to check in case of problems.

Enter all requested information in the correct format/order. Then star your 2 star alignment (easiest to start with) and choose your first star. Make it a big-ish bright-ish one that is visible with naked eye. Scope will slew over to the star and if you look through your RDF you can then adjust this with your controller so the dot is over the star.

Then double check through the eyepiece (25mm or similar) to start with and get the star roughly in the center and accept that position on the handset.

Now pick your second star and off goes the mount again. Once again, align the RDF with the star then look through the eyepiece and double check it and then accept.

This should be plenty good enough for visual, an eyepiece with an illuminated cross hair will be even better but probably is overkill.

To update the virtual map of the sky that the handset is working from, if you slew to a target and it is a bit off simply follow the PAE (Position Accuracy Enhancement I think!!!!) routine. On skywatcher hand sets you press escape a couple of times then hold escape, re-center and then hit enter to accept. This updates the handset's map of the sky.

Oh, and make sure the RDF or finder scope is perfectly aligned with the main scope.

HTH

Chris

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Thanks Chris,

You made that sound pretty simple. I'm sure it is, I just haven't had enough time with clear skies to play around with it enough and I've been confusing myself with the circles and in depth lining up with Polaris.

I have noticed illuminated EP's but I didn't know what the purpose of them was, interesting though.

Thanks again for your help

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The only reason for setting up the eq mount to point north, is for using the circles to find an object with the coordinates or track objects, right?

Because I've been gazing at the moon and Jupiter and didn't bother setting it right. 

sorry didn't realize the question was about a go to scope. 

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That's alright, I can set up the EQ5 without using the goto, I just wasn't too sure if it had to be set up as you would with an equatorial mount and then set up with the SynScan.

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Never heard of the "Escape  " re-center ect option before.....

Not sure if it is on Celestron handsets. If you're a bit off after a GOTO you can re-centre then hold escape, double check exact position and press enter to update the exact position. Bit like Sync in Stellariumscope if you've used it. Very handy.

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Looks like it might be UNDO on Celestron handsets rather than ESCAPE.

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Not sure if it is on Celestron handsets. If you're a bit off after a GOTO you can re-centre then hold escape, double check exact position and press enter to update the exact position. Bit like Sync in Stellariumscope if you've used it. Very handy.

Thanks for that i will give that a try out maybe next week when the clouds drift away..i use a NEQ6...:)

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If you have no view of polaris you can use a compass, an eq mount only needs an approximate alignment for visual :smiley:    

To add to this..................

Once the polar axis of the mount is roughly pointing north, you can tweak the other two legs forward or backwards a little until whatever you have in your FOV takes the longest time to cross it. The longer the object is in your FOV, the more accurate your alignment is. 

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If you are using a compass, it's best to use it away from the telescope. All the metal about may throw the needle off. Use the compass to mark the ground (stakes, chalk, whatever), then bring the scope over and set it up to the line.

You can check your magnetic deviation too and correct if you want, http://magnetic-declination.com/ In Jersey you shouldn't need to bother, but in some parts of the world magnetic north is 10 or 20 degrees off true.

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If you can see the pole star that's easier, but plenty of people, including the OP of this thread, can't for whatever reason.

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To be honest I've only recently bought a telescope. I first made the mistake of buying a scope from Toys'R'Us from my daughter for Christmas. Broke the first time I took it out and didn't really get to see much. Returned it a few days later and bought a Saxon 1309 EQMS. Seen Jupiter and it's moons, the moon, Orion's nebula and was blown away. My daughter loves it "wow, that's cool dad". I've only just started to get polar alignment and like I said I guesstimate where polar south is until I buy a proper compass.

I'm open to any advice from the experts.

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An iPhone has a compass on it, I'm sure other smart phones do too. Just, like someone mentioned earlier on this thread, keep it away from the metal of your mount or it'll go mental

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To be honest I've only recently bought a telescope. I first made the mistake of buying a scope from Toys'R'Us from my daughter for Christmas. Broke the first time I took it out and didn't really get to see much. Returned it a few days later and bought a Saxon 1309 EQMS. Seen Jupiter and it's moons, the moon, Orion's nebula and was blown away. My daughter loves it "wow, that's cool dad". I've only just started to get polar alignment and like I said I guesstimate where polar south is until I buy a proper compass.

I'm open to any advice from the experts.

That looks like a very good choice as a starter scope.

Don't worry too much about accurate polar alignment...That's really only important for the astro-photography folk.

Just point it roughly south (in your case) and get going. If you find the object is moving off- centre just play with the buttons on the motor controller...You'll soon get the hang of tracking. Sometimes I just make SLIGHT adjustments to where the mount is pointing...If it takes longer before adjustment is required next time, well fine.  If not, go the other way next time.

Clear skies (Unlike here in freezing, wet, cloud-covered Gloucester...Melbourne seems just fine even if there is no pole star!)

Steve

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It must be tough for you with no star to aim for!

How do you cope??

Welcome to SGL and congratulations on the first post!

Steve

No tougher then anyone who cant see Polaris from their location. I cant due to the position of next door neighbours house and boiler house chimney stacks and very tall trees. Now i dont need to even use it as i no longer use an EQ mount.

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I guess I'm lucky in that I have a good view of the northern sky and Polaris from my back garden. Just wish the kids would maybe vandalise the street in the back lane :evil:

However my problem is that I live at 55 degrees north. With an EQ5 mount I can extend the tripod legs so that I can just get me eye to the polar scope, but then I need a step ladder to get to the scope eye piece. Without extending the legs no problem with the main scope but I cant get to the polar scope, disability dont help iether. I've got a 90 degree adapter on order to see if I can modify the polar scope to fit this and make things easier, fringers crossed.

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