Jump to content

1564402927_Comet2021Banner.jpg.a8d9e102cd65f969b635e8061096d211.jpg

Getting my first GoTo mount today, any tips for a first successful night?


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone!

I don't know whether I will curse the skies with this purchase and comment, but its looking like its going to be a clear night, on the same day as recieving my Heq5, must be unheard of. So to try and prevent too much frustration and the waste of a clear night, what are the top tips to get this working straight out of the box, on the first day of receiving?

No guiding is going to be done, so its one less thing to worry about. Basically what do a lot of people trip up on the first night of using a mount like this. I am hoping I should be ok to polar allign, as I've been doing that many times with my SGP, so hopefully thats all the same :D.

I'm not too sure what questions I to ask about it, so I will just hope someone can tell me what I need to know :D.

Thanks a lot

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Grant,

Set the rig up and practice the star alignment procedure in daylight, indoors if necessary.

A rough polar alignment is OK for testing, just level the mount, set the latitude & point the mount North.

Then do say a 2-star alignment using Stellarium or such to see if the scope points in roughly the right directions. This should catch any gross errors caused by incorrect settings.

Make sure to enter dates in American MM/DD/YYYY format.

Enter leading zeroes in longitude, eg 001.xx not 1.xx

Daylight Saving Time is still YES, but Time Zone is zero all year round.

Good Luck.

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto all the above.

For your 1st session,  practice indoors first then just use simple alignment - point the tripod North using a compass,  level it, attach the mount and set the latitude using the bolts. 

That should get the telescope pointing close to the NCP and you should see Polaris in the view through the eyepiece. 

Then just try the basic 1 and 2 star alignment using the handset. You need to get used to the fine adjustment using the movement controls on the handset. There's a knack to the final right/up movements to centre the target alignment star.

Clear skies for your 1st outing 🤞

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice everyone! Its all helped save a couple of frustrating hours of clear skies (I hope 😅). Couple of questions;

1. I read a lot about polar scope allignment, when pointing mine at a distant object, getting it into the centre crosshair, it all seems ok when rotating through 180 Degrees. Is this too good to be true that its right first time? If anything I can see absolute minimal drift, but still sticks in the centre of the crosshair.

2. Is it normal sitting at 52 Degrees, that I've pretty much sunken my bottom altitude bolt, and the other one is scarily close to the counterweight? (a few mm)

Thanks again :)

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, Grant93 said:

Thanks for the advice everyone! Its all helped save a couple of frustrating hours of clear skies (I hope 😅). Couple of questions;

1. I read a lot about polar scope allignment, when pointing mine at a distant object, getting it into the centre crosshair, it all seems ok when rotating through 180 Degrees. Is this too good to be true that its right first time? If anything I can see absolute minimal drift, but still sticks in the centre of the crosshair.

2. Is it normal sitting at 52 Degrees, that I've pretty much sunken my bottom altitude bolt, and the other one is scarily close to the counterweight? (a few mm)

Thanks again :)

Grant

1. Congratulations. It looks like your polar scope is well collimated. It should be if the scope is new, but you never know unless you check.  

2. Umm, that doesn't sound right. There should be plenty of room for manoeuvre. Are the bolts the same length? Could they be accidentally swapped? I have a HEQ5,  at ~53°N and plenty of free adjustment for the latitude bolts. 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A very important aspect of your first few star alignment procedures is to ensure that your finder is precisely aligned with your main scope. It will make your first star alignment much easier 

Edited by bosun21
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes definitely use the kit indoors in daylight first.

I know someone, who told me of a friend who thinks he set the date in the wrong format.🥴
Mid winter, slewing to Orion, the scope tried to go below the horizon.

After much grumbling😡 ,swearing🤬, and getting cold he used the mount manually for the evening.
Next day in the warm and light he realised. March 10th? October 3rd?

There is a small region of the world, a former colony of the United Kingdom, who use this strange date format.
Everyone else (more or less) uses the same system as the UK.
Yet for some reason a lot of mount/handset manufacturers insist on copying the US system.

HTH, David.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd also suggest marking (tape/felt-tip etc) your home position.  Below taken from older threads for new HEQ5 owners.

See this thread for some pointers in setting a mark for the 'standard' home position on an HEQ5.

I usually say to people not to trust the accuracy of their home position unless it's returned to that by the mount and is not moved manually. Setting it manually helps but you won't be exact like the mount expects, this is why the scope  normally expects to go through a 1 to 3 star alignment.

Before I stated using platesolving I used to start at my rough home position, do a goto and centre that by moving the scope manually (not with the handset), then any goto should be accurate enough for visual or non-guided sessions.

You may be lucky with the polar scope - ideally they should all be set this accurate.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Stickey said:

1. Congratulations. It looks like your polar scope is well collimated. It should be if the scope is new, but you never know unless you check.  

2. Umm, that doesn't sound right. There should be plenty of room for manoeuvre. Are the bolts the same length? Could they be accidentally swapped? I have a HEQ5,  at ~53°N and plenty of free adjustment for the latitude bolts. 

 

Oh, does it give you bolts of two different sizes? 😱😅 If so, I didnt notice, thank you :D 

49 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

A very important aspect of your first few star alignment procedures is to ensure that your finder is precisely aligned with your main scope. It will make your first star alignment much easier 

I wasn't even expecting I would have to use a finder scope with a GoTo system :o I'll check that out! Thank you!

45 minutes ago, Carbon Brush said:

Yes definitely use the kit indoors in daylight first.

I know someone, who told me of a friend who thinks he set the date in the wrong format.🥴
Mid winter, slewing to Orion, the scope tried to go below the horizon.

After much grumbling😡 ,swearing🤬, and getting cold he used the mount manually for the evening.
Next day in the warm and light he realised. March 10th? October 3rd?

There is a small region of the world, a former colony of the United Kingdom, who use this strange date format.
Everyone else (more or less) uses the same system as the UK.
Yet for some reason a lot of mount/handset manufacturers insist on copying the US system.

HTH, David.

Haha luckily I did read this many times about the dates on the synscan controller 😅 when going through the star allignment procedure I was looking on stellarium making sure it wasn't going to try and send it below the horizon 😅. Cheers!

21 minutes ago, StevieDvd said:

I'd also suggest marking (tape/felt-tip etc) your home position.  Below taken from older threads for new HEQ5 owners.

See this thread for some pointers in setting a mark for the 'standard' home position on an HEQ5.

I usually say to people not to trust the accuracy of their home position unless it's returned to that by the mount and is not moved manually. Setting it manually helps but you won't be exact like the mount expects, this is why the scope  normally expects to go through a 1 to 3 star alignment.

Before I stated using platesolving I used to start at my rough home position, do a goto and centre that by moving the scope manually (not with the handset), then any goto should be accurate enough for visual or non-guided sessions.

You may be lucky with the polar scope - ideally they should all be set this accurate.

 

I didnt realise the home position was important for accurate gotos.. thanks a lot for that, Ill look into that!

And yes I find it unusual that some people have to do anything with their polar scope, I would've thought this should be one of the key things to quality check before leaving the factory.. a bit like auto manufacturers sending a car out with bad tracking and a dodgey speedo. 😅

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Grant93 said:

I didnt realise the home position was important for accurate gotos.. thanks a lot for that, Ill look into that!

Only for the first one! If you do a 3-star alignment your go-tos will be accurate with any reasonably close starting position so don't sweat it. With platesolving none of this matters, you could have your DEC 45 degrees off north and still reach your target with ease.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, ONIKKINEN said:

Only for the first one! If you do a 3-star alignment your go-tos will be accurate with any reasonably close starting position so don't sweat it. With platesolving none of this matters, you could have your DEC 45 degrees off north and still reach your target with ease.

The 3 star alignment adds a set of adjustment values to the handset goto command (note you don't adjust the alt/az bolts but use the handset). There is a PA check/Alignment in the handset that will guide you to adjusting the bolts if you prefer that over a manual or software PA.

For best results the controlling software and mount need to be in synch, which is why platesolving is becoming the norm and easier for those new to PA.

A home position for most is just a rough guide, especially when setting up afresh with tripod & mount. Even for a fixed pier (unless it's professional grade) the home position is 'usually' checked, and parked to, at the end of each session. I never consider my home position accurate until I have done succesful gotos and park my mount, call me Mr Pedantic.🤓

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, barbulo said:

All of the above plus don't forget to tight the clutches before using the GOTO. Happened a few times. To a friend of mine. Not to me. Never again. 🙈

Is it the sudden shock of everything suddenly spinning and the thought of your hard earned money falling to the ground that keeps that in your memory? 🥶😅 Happened a couple of times when not tighening the DEC on my SGP a couple times 😱 Never fell though, I rarely leave my things unattended, I don't know how people sleep whilst their gear is running 😅.

20 hours ago, StevieDvd said:

The 3 star alignment adds a set of adjustment values to the handset goto command (note you don't adjust the alt/az bolts but use the handset). There is a PA check/Alignment in the handset that will guide you to adjusting the bolts if you prefer that over a manual or software PA.

For best results the controlling software and mount need to be in synch, which is why platesolving is becoming the norm and easier for those new to PA.

A home position for most is just a rough guide, especially when setting up afresh with tripod & mount. Even for a fixed pier (unless it's professional grade) the home position is 'usually' checked, and parked to, at the end of each session. I never consider my home position accurate until I have done succesful gotos and park my mount, call me Mr Pedantic.🤓

I was shocked about how far out my first star in the allignment process was out, had to move it manually rather than with the control it was so far off, but the other two were close enough with slight adjustments from the handset. I can polar allign with the Handset? Is it nice and accurate? I ask this because I'm not sure how accurate my PA was last night, it was still in the rings towards the end of the night (around 4 hours of imaging), and if I spun the RA 180 degrees it wouldnt leave the ring. Yet I was getting slight star trails with a ZS61 and 600D (360mm FL + Crop factor), at around 40-50 seconds. Not sure if it was my PA, or what people call backlash or periodic error (Not entirely sure what they are or how to fix them). I often read how people get 60-90 secs with these sorts of FL unguided.

 

20 hours ago, ONIKKINEN said:

Only for the first one! If you do a 3-star alignment your go-tos will be accurate with any reasonably close starting position so don't sweat it. With platesolving none of this matters, you could have your DEC 45 degrees off north and still reach your target with ease.

I suppose platesolving is something I'll get into once I start guiding..

 

..which is my next question. What is a nice budget friendly reliable guiding set up? So either a OAG or 'Normal' guider (Forget the name haha). So I'll need to purchase either the OAG or a new guide scope, guide camera, and a mini computer to run it off (ASIair or one of the RaspberryPis).

Edited by Grant93
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Grant93 said:

Is it the sudden shock of everything suddenly spinning and the thought of your hard earned money falling to the ground that keeps that in your memory? 🥶😅 Happened a couple of times when not tighening the DEC on my SGP a couple times 😱 Never fell though, I rarely leave my things unattended, I don't know how people sleep whilst their gear is running 😅.

I was shocked about how far out my first star in the allignment process was out, had to move it manually rather than with the control it was so far off, but the other two were close enough with slight adjustments from the handset. I can polar allign with the Handset? Is it nice and accurate? I ask this because I'm not sure how accurate my PA was last night, it was still in the rings towards the end of the night (around 4 hours of imaging), and if I spun the RA 180 degrees it wouldnt leave the ring. Yet I was getting slight star trails with a ZS61 and 600D (360mm FL + Crop factor), at around 40-50 seconds. Not sure if it was my PA, or what people call backlack or periodic error (Not entirely sure what they are or how to fix them). I often read how people get 60-90 secs with these sorts of FL unguided.

 

I suppose platesolving is something I'll get into once I start guiding..

 

..which is my next question. What is a nice budget friendly reliable guiding set up? So either a OAG or 'Normal' guider (Forget the name haha). So I'll need to purchase either the OAG or a new guide scope, guide camera, and a mini computer to run it off (ASIair or one of the RaspberryPis).

OAG vs guidescope is an accuracy vs convenience question. For long focal lengths and very long exposures an OAG will be better since there is no differential flexure. Finding a guidestar can be difficult with an OAG with the small field of view and youll likely need to up the exposure time to use dimmer stars for guiding.

 

Guide scopes are just fine for most setups and scenarios though. I use a 60/240mm guidescope to guide my 840mm focal length setup. Having a guider resolution of 1/5th your main scopes resolution would probably be OK on most seeing conditions. Guidescopes are very plug and play, there is no setup or hassle. Just put the camera in, focus and PHD2 will be able to start multi star guiding. I usually have 10 or so guidestars with mine at 2s exposures.

 

Budget friendly guiding will be difficult. If you already have a laptop and doom that to astrophotography then you only need the guidecam, guidescope and all the cables. So even this way youre looking at 300 euros or so(or whatever currency). If not, options are the AsiarPro, stellarmate, RaspberryPi (with stellarmate software), or a Windows 10 mini pc.

 

Out of those the asiair is the easiest to setup and use, but youre forced to only ever use ZWO products which can carry a price premium. I recently bought a camera very much like the 2600MC but for about 60% of the price - not possible with the asiair as its not a ZWO product i bought. Stellarmate and RaspberryPi are cheaper and will work with most mabufacturers, but are limited in software to use (probably fine, everything you need will be there). The least convenient to setup but the best in terms of available software and options is a WIN10 mini pc.

 

With a Win10 mini pc you can run any software you could with a desktop pc and use products from any manufacturer. You need it to be Win10 Pro to remote desktop to it with a mobile device. You could also process images in the field while still shooting to see what youre working with. Best choice for future proofing. Prices can vary wildly, but this option is around the same price as an Asiair pro, but much better.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

43 minutes ago, Grant93 said:

....

I was shocked about how far out my first star in the allignment process was out, had to move it manually rather than with the control it was so far off, but the other two were close enough with slight adjustments from the handset. I can polar allign with the Handset? Is it nice and accurate? I ask this because I'm not sure how accurate my PA was last night, it was still in the rings towards the end of the night (around 4 hours of imaging), and if I spun the RA 180 degrees it wouldnt leave the ring. Yet I was getting slight star trails with a ZS61 and 600D (360mm FL + Crop factor), at around 40-50 seconds. Not sure if it was my PA, or what people call backlash or periodic error (Not entirely sure what they are or how to fix them). I often read how people get 60-90 secs with these sorts of FL unguided.

....

 

SynScan_HandControl_web191112v3_2_.pdf

See the handset manual for the PA procedure (Page 35 of attached copy) it's done after a normal alignment but is more accurate but a little repetitive (though free).

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, ONIKKINEN said:

Out of those the asiair is the easiest to setup and use, but youre forced to only ever use ZWO products which can carry a price premium. I recently bought a camera very much like the 2600MC but for about 60% of the price - not possible with the asiair as its not a ZWO product i bought. Stellarmate and RaspberryPi are cheaper and will work with most mabufacturers, but are limited in software to use (probably fine, everything you need will be there). The least convenient to setup but the best in terms of available software and options is a WIN10 mini pc.

I was thinking OAG incase I even invested in a longer focal length telescope for them planetary nebula and small galaxys, but I suppose the extra cost if I already had a guidescope, would just be an OAG. And when investing in longer focal lengths the small cost of an OAG would be nothing. So guidescope it is for now! :)

The WIN10 mini pc looks like a cool project, but one I fear a little bit of being able to set it up properly, that Stellarmate looks like an easy idea.. will have to think about that one :D

Thanks for the answer :)

5 hours ago, StevieDvd said:

SynScan_HandControl_web191112v3_2_.pdf 961.69 kB · 1 download

See the handset manual for the PA procedure (Page 35 of attached copy) it's done after a normal alignment but is more accurate but a little repetitive (though free).

This is very handy for my next night out! Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 31/10/2021 at 12:38, Grant93 said:

I suppose platesolving is something I'll get into once I start guiding..

You can do that now 🙂 I dont have a guide scope yet, but platesolving helps ease the process of aligning, capture etc. And my understanding is platesolving will be only done via main camera. Guide camera will be used to latch onto a star and make sure it stays as near as possible in same position.

Edited by AstroMuni
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.