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SkyAlign Problems

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Took my new Celestron NexStar 102 SLT out for its first run last night; with mixed results.

I entered my exact latitude and longitude as the nearest city in the database is about 50 miles away.

Viewing conditions weren't great... it was hazy and there was a fair amount of cloud around.

The Bad:

I could not get SkyAlign to work. I first tried it on Altair, Deneb & Vega, and it failed. I realise that these three are rather closer together than ideal, but due to trees, houses and clouds this was the best I could do at the time. I tried it again on the same three stars and it failed again.

An hour or two later on, I managed to try SkyAlign on Arcturus, Altair & Navi. It failed again.

Even at its fastest speed, slewing is very slow. I didn't actually time it, but it felt like it was taking over a minute to turn through 180 degrees. The Azi movement seemed much slower than the Alt.

The Good:

I eventually managed to get Two Star align to work (luckily it chose two stars that I knew as the targets - Vega and Albireo).

It tracked imperfectly off these - target objects were at the edge of the low power eyepiece - but close enough to do the rest manually

Before the clouds closed in I saw the Ring & Dumbell Nebulae and Albireo - not a great haul, but it was lovely to see things through a telescope again after a gap of 25 years!

Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong with SkyAlign? Could it conceivably be a fault with the scope? Every report I've read on the net seems to rave about how easy it is to use, so clearly something's wrong with either me or the scope!

I hope I get better skies tonight to put it through its paces properly!



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I have the HEQ5 Go To which is very similar in operation to Sky Align.

As Rob says make sure you use daylight saving.

I seem to get the best aligns with the 2 star option. At the moment I use Arcturus and Vega.

Make sure your watch is also accurate. A couple of minutes makes a difference.

If you want to look at a particular object try to get the second align star as close as possible. This can help.

Hope you get it sorted soon!


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Hi Tom,

I can only comment on Meade system (ETX) rather than SkyAlign although they sound pretty similar. Like everyone else, I would say ensure your scope is level and (for the Meade) it’s pointing north when you start your alignment procedure. I went through the whole thing several times before I managed to get the thing to do what it says on the tin. I can’t even tell you what I did differently because I simply don’t know, but after a few attempts it suddenly seemed to work!

One other thing though (and I still don’t have this one resolved), I tried to put in my latitude and longitude and the scope kept rejecting the numbers (although I got them from a site recommended in a Telescope House publication on the ETX). Anyway, after some further trails, I managed to get some coordinates which seemed pretty close and they were accepted. The result? The scope was way off again, so I now have it set back to Oxford as the home position (about 50 miles away) and it works well. I guess what I’m suggesting is to try the nearest city in your d/b. and see what happens.

Can’t comment on the slew, other than to agree that it does sound a little slow.

Hope you get it all sorted and have some wonderful evenings viewing.


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I have a Celestron 8iSD and find the Goto very good if you follow the rules. On Sky Align if you do not get your selected 3 stars in the centre of the eyepiece it will fail so use a highish power EP or one with a cross hair in it. (I bought a cross hair insert to fit into one of my EPs) The other thing is that most Celestrons scopes are set so that you should train onto your star up and right ( start with the star in the bottom left hand corner, go across to centre and up to middle or vice versa) If this does not work try down and right ( I have set mine to do this). This takes up the backlash which most Goto scopes have . I personally use the Two Star Auto. I set on Polaris, which is stationary, so you have time to centre it accurately and let the handset choose the second. If the second is not in view you can select one which is BUT choose one which is at least 100 degrees away and not at the same altitude. Funny but sometimes I find the object nearer the bottom of the FOV, maybe it is because I am using 2" EPs which are heavy. Let me know how you get on.


Celestron 8iSD, canon 350D, Mad Red Setter.

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