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Took my Celestron AVX Mount out this afternoon to familiarize my self with it in the daylight. Wasn’t sure if or how it would work, since it’s my first goto Mount. I got it setup per the directions and attached the SkySync GPS. It locked on my location very quickly so I did the Quick Align option just as a test. The polar scope was oriented north, and I used Sky Safari to locate stars I couldn’t see cause it was daytime. My first choice was Sirius and it slewed right around to what should be the general vicinity! I then chose Venus in the West and off it went! I hit home and it went back to the original setup position. I can’t wait to take it out tomorrow night and really put it through it’s paces! This is totally most excellent!
Having had difficulty in aligning and never actually managing to get my AVX to track to the standard I know it can, is the Celestron StarSense gadget the answer?
I know I can align my scope accurately if I put the effort in and having moved last year I’ve been unable to have my mount fixed on a pier so I’m seriously considering this piece of kit as an easier way to align and to motivate me to get out more often.
Please share your thoughts.....
Dusted off the scope last night to check if everything is working ok, aimed for a quick bash at Jove, then some fiddling with the OAG setup using M13 as target.
Attached is Jupiter at around 1030 with Io bottom left. I was quite pleased as only had 2 runs of 3 minutes before moving onto the guiding practice which went 'badly'
I spent a fair amount of Wednesday afternoon centering my polar scope... Little did I realise that the polar scope requires centering before you even attempt perfect polar alignment. It appears that my AVX has been very forgiving in the fact that in the past I have more or less just got polaris somewhere near the centre of the circle before aligning. However, after watching many YouTube clips on how to centre the polar scope I finally achieved my aim in having the polar scope centered. Last night was my first serious attempt at 'Bang on' polar alignment with a well centered polar scope!!
For some time I've been moaning about having to scramble around on the floor bending my knees and neck looking up for polaris through the polar scope! last night I raised my tripod to almost full extension and managed to look through the polar scope sat comfortably on a picnic chair. I started setting up early so used my compass during the early evening to point north ready for the appearance of polaris... Wow! when Polaris appeared I wasn't far out :-) I rotated the the reticule so the view through the polar scope matched what I could see in the sky with the plough above the centre circle, a quick tweak and 'Bingo' Polaris was spot on where it should be... let the fun begin!!
Oops before I did that I freelanced over to the crescent moon situated between two rooftops from my observing location... stunning! I tend to always overlook how wonderful the surface of the moon looks at high mag... Whilst observing using my Starwave 102 and a Vixen NPL 20mm I could see what looked like two bright spots at the top of the crescent like tiny stars. On closer observation I figure these must of been a couple of mountain tops caught in the sunlight... That was amazing, would lover to know the name of those peaks!
Here is my list of targets bagged using a combination of a Celestron 32mm, Vixen NPL 20mm, Meade 12 & 18mm, a trusty BST 8mm and for Jupiter a blue filter.
Jupiter, M5, Epsilon Lyrae 1,2, Zeta Lyrae, Xi Bo, Theta 2 Can, Tegman, Kappa Bo (Loved this) Iota Cancer, Graffias, Delta Serpens, Theta Serpens, Algieba (Leo) Coma Star Cluster Melotte 111
Toward the end of the session I practised entering the RA & Dec into the handset, hitting targets pretty much bang on (very pleasing)... Although when referencing the 'Double Stars for small telescopes' book by Sissy Haas the coordinates given are not as long in numbers as the ones on the handset... I still hit the targets bang on though so was delighted.
Nicks Tips No 5 - Throwing a blanket over the washing line to create a dark space removing a cluster of 3 streetlights 100m away over the neighbours fence... Genius!
Here's a quick guide to adjusting the tightness on the Dec and RA axes on the AVX mount. Freeing up the axes means better guiding, less wear on gears and motors (some gears in the drivetrain are plastic), lower worm PE and you will be able to balance more precisely.
Remove the counterweight bar and cup to reveal the tension ring. To adjust this first loosen the 2 grub screws at its side... there is a small access hole at the side of the housing. You'll need a tiny allen key to do this. Then use a slightly larger, stiffer allen key and insert this into the access hole and against the grub screw so that the tension ring is wedged tight against the allen key - this serves to hold the tension ring in place as you turn the axis, no need for a special tool! Now rotate the mount saddle anti-clockwise to loosen the tension ring until you feel some vertical play (grab hold of the saddle and move up and and down to test). Slowly tighten until there's no play. Tighten grub screws.
Remove the plastic cup at the end of the axis. The RA tension ring has 3 grub screws and the access hole is hidden by the control panel cover (3 screws hold this in place). My RA axis was very tight and needed a few turns of the axis before I got any vertical play.
For those wishing to improve their AVX further I recommend adjusting the worm housings in both axes.