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Polar align and navigating between objects help please

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Hi all

I'm totally confused about how to navigate between objects - i'm unfamiliar with star positions and on top of that most stars look pretty much the same to me through the lens so i end up swinging the scope around wildly.

This is what i'm doing with the equatorial mount:

Polar align:

Set latitude to 52 (Oldbury, UK) and tighten screw.

Set the declination to 90 and tighten screw.

Rotate the axis until Polaris is centred and tighten screw.

At this point, the pointer on the RA is just pointing to an arbitrary number on the dial. Do i now need to spin this dial to read zero? What do i do after that?

Can someone point me to a guide on how to do this in simple terms please :)



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Many people find that setting circles are not terrribly accurate on most scopes and tend to star hop where they dont have a GOTO but you might take a look at Setting Circles I found it to be illuminating on the subject.

Not that I have ever used it myself though! :)

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Generally using the setting circles (the "dials" on the RA and DEC axis) to find objects in the sky is a frustrating experience as most are not really up to the job. To be useful setting circles need to be much larger diameter and marked with a much higher degree of precision than the ones fitted as standard to most mounts.

Getting the mount roughly aligned with Polaris is enough for normal visual observing. You will need to untighten both axis to move the scope to point at different parts of the sky of course.

I think most people find the objects they want to look at using a sky atlas or planetarium software (eg: the Stellarium freeware) then point the scope in the right area of the sky using the finder scope or red dot finder (I find the latter much more useful), then track the object down using their lowest power eyepiece.

Is Oldbury, Oldbury-on-Seven by any chance ? - if so we are not far apart as I'm in Portishead, a but further down the river.

Edited by John
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I've been playing around with the mount and can now see how it pivot to any point in the sky (I was mucking about too much with the zenith initially). I will just stick to the star charts for now.

@astro_baby - great EQ guide - it's really clear.

@john - Oldbury, West Midlands :)



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