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I'm matt from the UK, essex to be more accurate. I had a skywatcher 150p around 8 years ago and had some amazing moments with it, Jupiter being one of the highlights despite the 150p's declination towards DSO's. Unfortunately due to some financial problems at the time I had to sell it. Astronomy was a hobby I locked away to a quiet corner of my brain until my very wise other half helped me realise how much I missed it.
We have just bought a skywatcher 150pds as i want to focus on astrophotography this time. Its currently on a eq3 pro mount with synscan. Not the ideal mount, i plan to upgrade to the heq5 as soon as possible, but its perfect for me to learn and practise on.
We bought the scope and mount second hand in an amazing deal, coming with the coma corrector, all 3 sky panorama uwa lenses, the canon t ring adaptors and a clubman flight case for £700. Everything in perfect condition, although the mount has some stickiness and i think maybe some binding in the gears, so I plan to strip it down, de and regrease and reassemble as soon as possible.
Have only had the opportunity for a couple of hours viewing so far, during which I very unsuccessfully attempted to polar align and then 2 star align the mount, but loved seeing it slew. I did get some amazing manual visual observation on the moon, but was surprised that despite my previous experience with a very similar scope just how much I don't know. Am very eager to learn as much as I can and am very excited to be back in the hobby, as you can probably tell from my extracted and probably boring welcome message.
Anyone with any experience of this scope or mount with any tips or little known tweaks I would be exceptionally grateful for any advice. Or any tips in regards to polar aligning and star aligning, especially in a class 6 bortle or similar.
One problem I struggled with was gaining any focus on any lens I have while using the barlow lens. Am sure it is either my error or cheap equipment but I gained a very nice focus with the 28mm supplied lens and the panorama range but struggled gaining focus with the barlow and said lenses. After looking into this though I'm wondering if it was due to me not accounting for eye relief?
I look forward to meeting like minded people on this forum.
I have a Celestron Starsense Explorer DX 102AZ on the way.
I was wondering if someone could please recommend which size EP to buy for viewing planets and the moon?
Sky watcher ULA Planetary (my budget is £40)
I've read on another thread that sometimes 9mm can outperform a 4mm with a fast telescope as more magnification can make the viewing duller? I was hoping for the best magnification that is also crisp.
Thank you for your help.
By Cedric Schweizer
Does anyone know if I can use a Skywatcher Explorer 130pds with a Sony alpha a7iii? I'm quite new to AP... I know that I need a T-Adapter but I'm a little concerned about the potential vignetting I could get...
Thanks a lot for the help!
Hi all - looking for some
advice on eyepieces. I have seen beautiful views of Jupiter with its moons and Saturn and of course the moon. I have two extra 32mm and 10mm plossls but am looking for better lenses for planets which will show more detail? Which ones would you suggest? Many thanks in advance!
In my own journey while learning this process and seeing similar areas of confusion among others, I decided to compile this FAQ.
This FAQ has been put together using a combination of information from SkyWatcher manuals, my own experience and suggestions by various contributors on the forums. As most of the confusion is around the newer reticle, this FAQ deals with this in detail.
Q: What is Polar alignment and why is it needed?
A: Polar alignment refers to the act of aligning the Polar axis of an Equatorial mount telescope, so that it is parallel with the axis that the Earth revolves around. It makes the job of following objects across the sky much easier.
Its of minor benefit to the visual astronomer but a necessity to the astrophotographer who is trying to take images of the night sky. Once a telescope is polar aligned and an object centred in the eyepiece, then assuming an RA motor is attached to the telescope, the object will stay centred. The better the polar alignment, the longer it will stay there.
If no motor is attached then simply nudging the telescope around one axis will bring the object back to the centre of the eyepiece again.
Q: Do I need to accurately do a Polar alignment?
A: If you are a visual astronomer then its not that critical and you should be able to manage just doing a simple polar alignment by positioning the mount so that Polaris is in the centre of the reticle.
But if you are doing astrophotography with long exposures then accurate polar alignment becomes critical to improve the quality of the images.
Q: My reticle looks different to what is shown in the manual.
A: There are 2 versions of this – the older one which has a bubble showing the location of Polaris Fig.1 and the newer one which has a clock face Fig.2.
Q: How do I Polar align with the new Reticle?
A: As Polaris is not located exactly at the North Celestial Pole (NCP), we can see it orbit the North Celestial Pole in a polar scope. The large circle seen in the centre of the pattern in Fig.2 is a representation of the Polaris’ orbit around the North Celestial Pole. When performing the polar alignment process, it is necessary to determine the orientation of the Polaris on the circle. The reticle is marked like a clock face with 0 at the top. Imagine this is the 12 position in a traditional clock.
At the end of the initialization of the SynScan hand control, after entering the proper local longitude, latitude, date, time, and daylight-saving time, the SynScan hand controller will display the message: “Polaris Position in P.Scope=HH:MM”. Imagine the larger circle in Fig.2 as a clock’s face with 12:00 at the top, with the current time pointing to the “HH:MM”. The orientation of the hour hand of the clock represents the orientation of Polaris in the polar scope. Put the Polaris to the same orientation on the large circle to finish the polar alignment.
In case you don’t use the Synscan hand controller, there are several apps available on Android and IOS which give you the position of Polaris on the clock face (such as SynscanInit for Android and Polar Scope Align for IOS). Skwatcher has their own app as well called Synscan Pro which shows the position of Polaris in the new reticle.
The Polaris position also changes as time passes. The reticle displays 3 circles to represent Polaris’s orbit in the year 2012, 2020 and 2028. It also gives sub-dials at 0, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock position for year 2016, 2024 and 2032. An engraving labeled with the above years is also displayed on the right of the FOV for memo purpose. When doing polar alignment in the Northern hemisphere, the user should put Polaris on the correct circle corresponding to the present year for better alignment precision.
This reticle is also covered in the SW EQ6-R manual.
Q: When I position my mount in the Home position with the counterweight at its lowest point, the 0 mark on the reticle is not at the top. Is this a fault and how can I fix it?
A: There is nothing wrong with your mount You just need to rotate the mount in the RA axis till the 0 is at its highest position. Now lock the RA axis and continue with the alignment process.
Q: How can I ensure that the 0 is accurately positioned at the very top?
A: 1) Firstly, level the mount and set it up pointing north as if making it ready for polar alignment.
2) Next use the Alt and Az bolts to centre Polaris in the reticle - i.e. put Polaris right in the centre of the cross-hairs, not on any circle. Be as accurate as you can.
3) Now using ONLY the Alt bolts, move Polaris vertically upward in the reticle from its central position until it reaches any of the circles.
4) Because you started with Polaris dead centre and moved it only vertically, Polaris is now exactly in the zero (12 o’clock) position on the circle. Now rotate the RA axis to put the reticle zero mark in exactly the same position as Polaris. Again, be as accurate as you can.
5) Lock the RA axis in this position and using a marker pen put alignment marks on the mount housing so that you can find this position again without the need to use Polaris.
[Courtesy Jif001 on SGL]
Q: How do I Polar align with the older reticle?
A: Here is a good article http://www.astro-baby.com/astrobaby/help/polar-aligning-the-skywatcher-heq5orion-sirius-mount/
Q: How can I check if my polarscope reticle is aligned with the RA axis of the mount?
A: Before using the polar scope for polar alignment, the polar scope itself must be calibrated to ensure the pattern in the polar scope is aligned to the mount’s R.A. axis. The following steps will outline how to calibrate the polar scope:
This process is best done during daytime. Choose a fixed object (eg. a faraway object such as the tip of a TV antenna). Centre the reticle on the object by adjusting the two azimuth adjustment knobs and the two elevation adjustment bolts. Rotate the mount in R.A. axis for half a turn (180 degrees). Tighten the R.A. clutch after the rotation. If the object remains at the centre of the reticle in the polar scope after the rotation, then it means the polar scope has been aligned to the R.A. axis and no calibration is needed. If its not aligned, read this article which explains how to recalibrate https://www.myastroscience.com/polarscopecalibration There are also videos on YouTube that explain this process.
Hope this helps. 🙂
Do let me know if you have other questions (and answers) and I can add to this.