Jump to content

Banner.jpg.5ed196c1e70861ebc79109e023c96067.jpg

Beginner help with scope


Recommended Posts

Hi, I am a complete beginner and have a celestron 114EQ. This scope came with minimal instructions.. I'll be honest in saying I haven't completed polar alignment yet, but am going to give it another go. I have managed to view the moon but I am really struggling in keeping the mount and scope still to where I exactly need it for objects to be in view. I do not know how to use all the knobs, there are two slow motion knobs, two weighted ones and a couple of others. Have anyone got any experience with this scope and can guide me to what I need to do or am doing wrong? I've had plenty of time messing around with it and looking online for videos and help, but no been too successful. Thank you so much. I will attach some pics 

IMG_20220120_131124.jpg

IMG_20220120_131057.jpg

IMG_20220120_131021.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whereabouts do you live?

By far the best way of learning about any kind of machinery, in my experience, is to ask someone who knows how to drive one properly to show you how it is done.

Most everywhere in the UK is within striking distance of a friendly group of amateurs who would be delighted to welcome you into their ranks and to help you out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, HB0315 said:

Thanks, do you know what is the best way to find local groups? 

If you scroll down the web page below, on the left hand side (to the left of some astro images) you will see UK astro societies listed. Click on the astro society name to go to their website:

https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/

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

The way you have the scope set up now is called the "home position" of an equatorial mount. RA (Right ascension) axis and with it the counterweight shaft at its lowest position and the other axis, DEC (Declination) axis at its highest position.

With the mounts axis at this position, try to get Polaris to the center of the eyepiece. Do not touch either of the axis, but do left-right movements by rotating the entire mount on the tripod (have the bolt a bit loose) and adjusting the up-down axis with the latitude adjustment screw. The latitude gauge should be initially at your locations latitude but dont be surprised if you still need adjusting afterwards. When Polaris is centered, tighten the tripod bolt. Once done, do not move the tripod or rotate the mount on the tripod anymore, all movements with the mount will happen with the RA/DEC slow motion controls or by loosening the clutches and manually pointing the scope.

This mount has no polarscope so the polar alignment routine is quite basic and inaccurate. Dont worry about it too much, just get it thereabouts correct.

I usually did not bother trying to get Polaris in the eyepiece but just pointed the mount towards Polaris and set the latitude to my sites latitude, but it will be easier to point the scope afterwards if you do it more accurately.

 

Now finding objects will be a bit tricky with this kind of mount but the way i did it was to manually point the scope to a bright star (using the red dot) near the object i tried to find and then by using the slow control knobs moved the scope bit by bit until i found it. It will be confusing because left-right in real life is not necessarily left-right in the eyepiece because the view is mirrored and could be at an odd angle.

And of coursr how would you know where anything is? For that i would recommend a planetarium app like Stellarium. In stellarium you can toggle on the setting to "show equatorial grid" (one of the buttons) to get an idea how the movements of your RA or DEC axis move along the sky. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s dead easy - but only once you know how to do it!

At the risk of being patronising (sorry) it’s probably worth familiarising yourself with how an equatorial mount works (if you don’t know already) and that should explain the context for why everything looks the way it does. It’s worth noting that equatorial mounts don’t move up/down/left/right like alt/az mounts.

the guide below is a good one;

https://www.spaceoddities.eu/2018/08/astrophotography-what-is-an-equatorial-mount-and-how-does-it-work/
 

so…

from the photos your mount looks set up correctly.

The only thing you need to do when you take outside is to align it to Polaris (assuming you are in the northern hemisphere). You do this each time you take it out. Ideally you try not to move the tripod once it is aligned.

l’ve included a photo of what it should look like when it’s is aligned. You don’t have a polar scope built into that mount so it’s a tiny bit trickier but you get the idea. So the black sticker at the base of your mount relates to your latitude. I live in the West Midlands and my latitude is 52 degrees. That means that when I align the pointer at the bottom with the 52, and I point my mount north I’ll more or less be pointing it Polaris. If you point your scope along the same plane and check through the eyepiece, hopefully you should be able to see Polaris.

if you can’t - physically move the mount, or adjust the latitude bracket at the bottom (up or down) until it is. Now you are “polar aligned” and ready to go.

Thus might sound like a pain but in reality it only takes a moment, and if you aren’t moving around the country too much you only need to adjust the latitude bit once. Then in the future you can just take it outside, orient it north, and you are good to go.

The reason you bother doing all this is because, in theory - your mount is now oriented with the movement of the stars, so when you use your slow motion knob it should track the stars as they move across the sky using just the RA knob (highlighted) But to engage the slow motion controls you have to engage them (I think) by gently tightening the control clutch knobs (blue cross).

And that’s it. Apologies probably not a great explanation but they’re not very intuitive. But once you start using it everything falls into place.

just remember to align to Polaris, then once you’ve done that, resist the urge to physically move the mount.

4A163B7C-C074-4C44-B401-8F4414786E8D.jpeg

D950740B-2AC3-4005-92D5-C858AED735FF.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well explained by the others above. I understand perfectly how you feel as it's a real head-wrecker to get started! I think about it rather than up-down-left-right (which it isn't) but more like an X in the sky - one slow-mo knob moves on one line of the X, and the other knob moves on the other line.

One thing that can annoy is that while you can crank the RA slow-mo knob a full 360 degrees, the Dec knob will only go +-90 degrees, so you will regularly be ALMOST at your target but you can't adjust any more in Dec. My trick to avoid this is to centre the Dec slow-mo knob before I start (or maybe even when I move to a new target) by winding it fully clockwise, then 10 winds counter-clockwise; loosen the Dec clutch, manually rotate the OTA close to the target and tighten up again.

Practice will make perfect. As others have said, no need to try for perfection in polar alignment - you won't get it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 20/01/2022 at 16:42, ONIKKINEN said:

The way you have the scope set up now is called the "home position" of an equatorial mount. RA (Right ascension) axis and with it the counterweight shaft at its lowest position and the other axis, DEC (Declination) axis at its highest position.

With the mounts axis at this position, try to get Polaris to the center of the eyepiece. Do not touch either of the axis, but do left-right movements by rotating the entire mount on the tripod (have the bolt a bit loose) and adjusting the up-down axis with the latitude adjustment screw. The latitude gauge should be initially at your locations latitude but dont be surprised if you still need adjusting afterwards. When Polaris is centered, tighten the tripod bolt. Once done, do not move the tripod or rotate the mount on the tripod anymore, all movements with the mount will happen with the RA/DEC slow motion controls or by loosening the clutches and manually pointing the scope.

This mount has no polarscope so the polar alignment routine is quite basic and inaccurate. Dont worry about it too much, just get it thereabouts correct.

I usually did not bother trying to get Polaris in the eyepiece but just pointed the mount towards Polaris and set the latitude to my sites latitude, but it will be easier to point the scope afterwards if you do it more accurately.

 

Now finding objects will be a bit tricky with this kind of mount but the way i did it was to manually point the scope to a bright star (using the red dot) near the object i tried to find and then by using the slow control knobs moved the scope bit by bit until i found it. It will be confusing because left-right in real life is not necessarily left-right in the eyepiece because the view is mirrored and could be at an odd angle.

And of coursr how would you know where anything is? For that i would recommend a planetarium app like Stellarium. In stellarium you can toggle on the setting to "show equatorial grid" (one of the buttons) to get an idea how the movements of your RA or DEC axis move along the sky. 

Thanks so much for this. That's really helpful and I'll be sure to give that a go.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This video provides quite a good explanation and I think it's very useful for those initially struggling with an EQ mount. It's a different make and model, but I don't think that matters.

 

But be aware that he mixes up the terms 'longitude' and 'latitude' at one point. When you are first setting up the altitude for polar-alignment, you set it according to your location's LATITUDE. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 20/01/2022 at 17:13, Mr niall said:

It’s dead easy - but only once you know how to do it!

At the risk of being patronising (sorry) it’s probably worth familiarising yourself with how an equatorial mount works (if you don’t know already) and that should explain the context for why everything looks the way it does. It’s worth noting that equatorial mounts don’t move up/down/left/right like alt/az mounts.

the guide below is a good one;

https://www.spaceoddities.eu/2018/08/astrophotography-what-is-an-equatorial-mount-and-how-does-it-work/
 

so…

from the photos your mount looks set up correctly.

The only thing you need to do when you take outside is to align it to Polaris (assuming you are in the northern hemisphere). You do this each time you take it out. Ideally you try not to move the tripod once it is aligned.

l’ve included a photo of what it should look like when it’s is aligned. You don’t have a polar scope built into that mount so it’s a tiny bit trickier but you get the idea. So the black sticker at the base of your mount relates to your latitude. I live in the West Midlands and my latitude is 52 degrees. That means that when I align the pointer at the bottom with the 52, and I point my mount north I’ll more or less be pointing it Polaris. If you point your scope along the same plane and check through the eyepiece, hopefully you should be able to see Polaris.

if you can’t - physically move the mount, or adjust the latitude bracket at the bottom (up or down) until it is. Now you are “polar aligned” and ready to go.

Thus might sound like a pain but in reality it only takes a moment, and if you aren’t moving around the country too much you only need to adjust the latitude bit once. Then in the future you can just take it outside, orient it north, and you are good to go.

The reason you bother doing all this is because, in theory - your mount is now oriented with the movement of the stars, so when you use your slow motion knob it should track the stars as they move across the sky using just the RA knob (highlighted) But to engage the slow motion controls you have to engage them (I think) by gently tightening the control clutch knobs (blue cross).

And that’s it. Apologies probably not a great explanation but they’re not very intuitive. But once you start using it everything falls into place.

just remember to align to Polaris, then once you’ve done that, resist the urge to physically move the mount.

4A163B7C-C074-4C44-B401-8F4414786E8D.jpeg

D950740B-2AC3-4005-92D5-C858AED735FF.jpeg

Hi, thanks so much for this. Out of all the explanations I've read, yours definitely made the most sense to me!! I'm also based in the midlands so I think my lat is also 52. That's advise gives me a great place to start, so I'll give it a go, thanks for taking the time to do this and with the pics. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Pixies said:

This video provides quite a good explanation and I think it's very useful for those initially struggling with an EQ mount. It's a different make and model, but I don't think that matters.

 

But be aware that he mixes up the terms 'longitude' and 'latitude' at one point. When you are first setting up the altitude for polar-alignment, you set it according to your location's LATITUDE. 

That video is super useful and I feel like I've learnt a lot watching that so thanks so much

  • Thanks 1
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.