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Hi all,

This evening I wanted to have a go (again) at trying to figure out if my polar scope in the HEQ5 is aligned with the RA axis.

So I tried first to set it up on my balcony and view a far away object (this in sunlight).

I did turn the dec axis to open up the scope sights.

I did not see ANYTHING. only darkness..... I even tried pointing it at the sun, and that barely shone through (did NOT put my eye behind it).

So, tried putting it inside, and use a flashlight on top of a cupboard at the other end of the room.

Strangely, that (also only barely) came through, but in a really weird way: it only shows on the left side of the "viewing circle"... when I turn the mount to move the light toward the middle crosshairs of the scope, the light disappears, as though it went behind an obstacle...

It looks as though the polar scope is WAY off alignment, that far that the tube is obscuring part of the incoming light....

I am not touching the adjustment screws on the polar scope at the moment... First I need to hear some feedback as to what this could be...

Has anybody seen this kind of problem?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Gerhard.

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There are countless ways to make a fool of oneself in practical astronomy; anyone who says they haven't made similar mistakes is lying or just too perfect for their own good Have fun aligning te pola

OH.... MY.... GOD................. this will go into history as one of my best DUH moments..... :-DDD yup, extending the counterweight bar would maybe help...........      Thanks jambouk! 

Is the count weight bar fully extended? Can you look down the top hole of the polar acis and is it clear? Have you remived both caps(lol)?

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OH.... MY.... GOD.................

this will go into history as one of my best DUH moments..... :-DDD

yup, extending the counterweight bar would maybe help...........  :grin:  :grin:  :grin:

Thanks jambouk! 

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Nope, definitely not alone! My favourite is struggling for ages to find focus when imaging only to find I've left the scope cover on. And then repeating the same mistake with the guide scope.

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the other night I was taking subs enthousiastically with the Bahtinov still on...... :-D

or forgetting the cover after taking darks, and thinking to be shooting a new object.... 

ah, the joys.... :-D

so, to celebrate: going out to observe now!! seeing = 5, so should be good!

clear skies!!

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There are countless ways to make a fool of oneself in practical astronomy; anyone who says they haven't made similar mistakes is lying or just too perfect for their own good :)

Have fun aligning te polar scope to the RA axis; get a chair and accept it will take an hour to do. Getting frustrated with it is pointless.

James

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You know, I had exactly the same "problem" this summer...

I was going crazy, I tried to unscrew it without success, and I was going to go to a star party, so I really needed it working.

Then, at the star party, I asked someone for help, and "magically", it was working again.

I didn't understand why, and for a long time it remained a mistery to me, me and the other guy were crazy about trying to figure out what happened... until 6 months later I finally noticed that the counterweight bar was blocking the polar scope when collapsed! :D

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There are countless ways to make a fool of oneself in practical astronomy; anyone who says they haven't made similar mistakes is lying or just too perfect for their own good :)

Have fun aligning te polar scope to the RA axis; get a chair and accept it will take an hour to do. Getting frustrated with it is pointless.

James

I did actually take out more than an hour to do this, calmly, precisely, also because Astrobaby's page is quite clear about it being a precision, and delicate job.

But then I encountered my "snag", so I did not proceed. Tomorrow, I'll have another try.

Still not sure whether to hope for disalignment (aligning should then improve my photos), or alignment (no danger of messing up the polar scope...)....  :huh:

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When I first got my HEQ5, I did exactly the same thing. I still do it now from time to time. If you've come from something like a EQ5 where the bar is static, its so easy to forget.

Matt.

The HEQ5 is my first mount, so this is not my problem.

The thing is, when observing, you naturally extract the counterweight rod, because you need it, so you also never encounter this problem at these times.

When I wanted to look at the polar scope, "I don't need the counterweight rod", so I never even thought about that... 

I should really really try to learn to listen more to my instinct, because when I checked the Dec rotation to see if the polar scope was clear (as I always do when polar aligning, obviously, so this came naturally), I noticed a (in hindisght DUH) _metallic_ shine on the "window" of the Dec axis. I attributed this to solar glare, as I usually see it in the dark.............

Sigh.....  :grin:

Edited by Gerhard
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So now you know you made a silly mistake, you have no reason to make it again :p

Matt.

:rolleyes: Bet you will though :p:grin:

The most important thing to remember when aligning the polar scope reticule is ('only turn any grubscrew about 1/8th turn before adjusting the opposing ones') and be very gentle when tightening them... the grubscrews bear on the edge of the glass reticule and overtightening can easily chip, or crack, the reticule.

Slackening by any more than 1/8th turn can cause the reticule to fall away from it's seat.

Just take all the time you need... you only ever need to do this once, unless you damage the reticule.

Good luck.

Best regards.

Sandy. :grin:

Edited by Lonestar70
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Just to know: what happens if the reticule does fall out of its seat, or cracks? Can it be put back by a not-so-DIY guy like me?

If it's cracked, I guess I need a new polar scope? or are reticules available separately?

apart from any incidents: I'd like an illuminated reticule with polar circle, which mine does not have... so I cannot easily check alignment by turning the RA axis and see if polaris stays on the circle...

Tonight or tomorrow I will have a go.

I had difficulty putting the mount to 0 degrees altitude, though (which is recommended for aligning, pointing at earth objects), firstly because the Alt screw doesn't seem to turn inwards enough, and secondly because the mount becomes unstable, and risks toppling over...

I am wondering how people close to the equator manage this...

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I's easy to reinstall te reticle if it drops out, as long as you appreciate how it's held in place, and don't drop it when unscrewing the eyepiece component.

You can't buy a replacent reticle, well i couldn't find ayone who sold this, but a new polar scope (which comes with a new reticle) is about £30.

James

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Just to know: what happens if the reticule does fall out of its seat, or cracks? Can it be put back by a not-so-DIY guy like me?

If it's cracked, I guess I need a new polar scope? or are reticules available separately?

apart from any incidents: I'd like an illuminated reticule with polar circle, which mine does not have... so I cannot easily check alignment by turning the RA axis and see if polaris stays on the circle...

Tonight or tomorrow I will have a go.

I had difficulty putting the mount to 0 degrees altitude, though (which is recommended for aligning, pointing at earth objects), firstly because the Alt screw doesn't seem to turn inwards enough, and secondly because the mount becomes unstable, and risks toppling over...

I am wondering how people close to the equator manage this...

Couple of thoughts. Polar alignment is easier at dusk so you can see the reticule. Also most HEQ5s have a built in LED for illumination. The very early ones didnt, the next lot were too bright, and the next lot were too dim. If your HEQ5 and handset is recent you should have buit in dimmer in handset controls under utilities.

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I's easy to reinstall te reticle if it drops out, as long as you appreciate how it's held in place, and don't drop it when unscrewing the eyepiece component.

You can't buy a replacent reticle, well i couldn't find ayone who sold this, but a new polar scope (which comes with a new reticle) is about £30.

James

so it's not a complete disaster if all goes wrong.... good to know! :-)

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Couple of thoughts. Polar alignment is easier at dusk so you can see the reticule. Also most HEQ5s have a built in LED for illumination. The very early ones didnt, the next lot were too bright, and the next lot were too dim. If your HEQ5 and handset is recent you should have buit in dimmer in handset controls under utilities.

I'll look that up, but mine is an older one, so not sure if it's illuminated... for polar alignment I always use my red flashlight.

I'll see tomorrow for the scope alignment..

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I just checked the polar scope against venus...

Looks like some major problem with alignment...

I put Venus on the crosshairs (extending the rod does miracles........), and turned the RA axis a full circle to see what Venus did...

Well, it did kind of the hokey cokey....

it immediately drifted off by a lot, and then, continuing the turn, it kind of "fell" again towards the centre, but not quite.

At circle completed, it was disaligned still...

Looks to me as though the reticle is loose...

Any thoughts?

I don't have time to adjust tonight but tomorrow I will do some adjusting...

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If you ever unscrew the eye piece part of the polar scope totally off, be careful as it is deceptively "heavy" (it's not heavy but it's solid glass) so don't drop it. Also cup your other hand under it in case when you remove the eye piece part that the reticle doesn't fall out.

James

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I suspect it's just mis-aligned rather than lose. I suspect you'd not manage to focus on the cross hairs if the reticle had fallen out of it's retaining screws. But you never know.

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Yesterday, I finally had the right Allen key to have a go at adjusting the Polar scope.

The adjustments I made did not seem to have any effect, though... I did not dare to turn the screws too much, in fear of creating a bigger problem than present...

The thing is, if I turn the RA axis 180 degrees, the crosshairs are only slightly misaligned, but it's during the 180 turn that in the beginning it goes way out of the centre, and then at the end it "falls" back down almost to the centre again when I'm about to reach 180 degrees turn....

It's not a "smooth" disalignment... Iìm not sure if this is normal behaviour...

I'd like the president of my astronomy club to have a go at it, but he's not very responsive... He just said "are you sure it's necessary, a while ago I checked it, and it was fine..."  :huh:

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