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Daytime use of Synscan (or other) mounts


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Nev er done it, but can you not do a 'one star' or solar system' alignment on the sun itself?

As I said I aint ever done it. When ever I have had to align during the day for testing purposes I use 3 star alignment and just accept that where ever the scope slews to is correct, as long as it is pointing in the general direction I know the star to be in.

HTH.

Gary

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I use my HEQ5pro with a dual bar holding a White light ED80 and a Ha ED80 for solar imaging with a DMK21.

I just roughly set it up, point the polar axis to where I think North is, set the Synscan to "solar rate" and if need be, use the drift in Dec of the solar image to tweek the position of the mounting.

Works very well for me, I can usually get 1000-2000 frames on the DMK chip before considering a correction.

Ken

( This was the set up I used at the imaging day at Bedford.)

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With my HEQ5 Pro Synscan, I have the patio drilled to take the tripod leg ends so that the mount is reasonably accurately aligned when plonked in place. To fool the handset, say "no" to alignment, tell it to goto Mercury, rough point the scope at the sun with the clutches undone then centre it using the handset direction keys ... tracks the sun pretty well.

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With my HEQ5 Pro Synscan, I have the patio drilled to take the tripod leg ends so that the mount is reasonably accurately aligned when plonked in place. To fool the handset, say "no" to alignment, tell it to goto Mercury, rough point the scope at the sun with the clutches undone then centre it using the handset direction keys ... tracks the sun pretty well.
Thank Brian.

I neglected to mention it was the Synscan "AZ" version, but generic answers are useful? I will give something like that a GO though! I sense the notion of rough alignment and use of Mercury are indeed key to this? The firmware does at least boast a solar tracking rate, even if it studiously (and wisely?) ignores the SUN as an alignment or GoTo object. Removal of one major variable (tracking) might at least allow me to better concentrate of the focus etc. etc. :)

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Thank Brian.

I neglected to mention it was the Synscan "AZ" version, but generic answers are useful? I will give something like that a GO though! I sense the notion of rough alignment and use of Mercury are indeed key to this? The firmware does at least boast a solar tracking rate, even if it studiously (and wisely?) ignores the SUN as an alignment or GoTo object. Removal of one major variable (tracking) might at least allow me to better concentrate of the focus etc. etc. :)

I aint looked at the Synscan software but on Celestron's software you can 'enable' the sun in one of the utilities menus. I would think SW would have included that too.

Gary

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I would think SW would have included that too.

They don't. The Celestron & SW handsets appear to be very similar but the software is hugely different. Don't ask me why, but it's probably the usual paranoia over pointing things at the daytime sky.

Solar tracking rate is so little different to sidereal (1 part in 366) that it really makes no practical difference. I never go to the trouble of setting solar rate; at sidereal rate it takes 12 hours for the whole width of the sun to pass a point ... and it doesn't compensate for the varying declination of the Sun anyway (the Sun is always drifting in declination except at the instant of the summer & winter solstices).

I do set lunar rate when imaging the Moon. Again it doesn't work perfectly - the Moon's orbit is quite eccentric, as well as the variations caused by diurnal parralax & varying declination - but it does help when webcamming, especially if attempting to build a mosaic.

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Hmmm... May not be [easily] possible with a Synscan AZ? First off, there's no clutch! It will perform "Brightest Star" and "Two Star" alignments, but without choice of the Sun, and although it accepts "planets", will eventually re-prompt for a chosen star. Perhaps I can do something with the "parking" facility? :p

Though (Brian) you reminded me that I still have an unused EQ3-2 at the back of the cupboard. Now I have the MAK150, I was thinking of dedicating my cherished MAK127 to solar work (I do have that expensive T.O. filter for it!). :)

Indeed, a single (or even dual!) drive for the EQ3-2 may be the easiest solution. The EQ3-2 mount (on my pillar) at a least avoids thinking about loading capacity re. a mere MAK127. My (lame!) objections re. "ease of use of equatorials" are less convincing during the daylight, and with but ONE target! :)

But if anyone does fathom a solution for the Synscan "AZ", I'm sure there might be other aspiring (and sufficiently careful!) Solar Observers out there...

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Macavity,

I have the same problem - trying to encourage my Synscan AZ to follow the Sun. The annoying thing is that in my frustration I actually did it once but I can't repeat it now! I think I am pressing all the right buttons but not necessarily in the right order . . .

I'm going into the garden again and have a few more tries - I'm writing down the sequences just in case a particular combination works . . .

Did you ever find a solution?

Clear skies (and plenty of sunspots)

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I sense my experience is much as yours. And no, I got no further... :headbang:

I decided, despite dwindling funds, to "resurrect" an old EQ3-2 mount that I had relagated to the cupboard and add the twin motor drive upgrade. It has the merit that it works, but defeats my endeavours to MINIMISE equipment... :D

Maybe we should band together and suggest this as a (not unreasonable!) feature to add to the firmware... :)

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I've managed to "fool" my Celestron 8SE mount for Solar tracking by locating Polaris in twylight, marking the altitude axis opposite the index arrow, lowering the scope and taking note of a fixed terrestrial object. Next day I just point the scope at the terrestrial object, select one star alignment and Polaris, raise the scope until the index marks on the altitude axis line up, instruct the handset that you have "aligned" Polaris in the finder and then again that it is "centered" in the scope, press align and it will come up successful every time. From then on it should track the Sun for as long as you wish. I hope this works for similar mounts as it has saved me much frustration!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Chris,

I've had a Eureka! moment and managed to find a solution to tracking the Sun with my SkyWatcher SynScan AZ mount, so thought I better share it with you

Assuming it's daytime and you are ready to observe, go to(!) your favourite planetarium programme on your computer and set for current time and dark sky (usually deselect 'atmosphere') and look for a bright star in the close vicinity of the Sun and one that appears on the SynScan list of alignment stars. At this time, Aldebaran is fairly close, lets say for convenience that it's 10deg E and 6deg S of the Sun - make a note of this

Now set your telescope mount with the spirit level as accurately as you can, fit mount and protected scope. Switch on, set Long/Lat, time, date etc

Here's the clever bit! Say 'YES' to alignment and select 2-Star alignment and select 'Aldebaran'. Slew scope to the Sun then move 10deg to the East and 6deg South and hit 'Enter' twice to convince the mount you are on target. You now need to pick a 2nd star, I picked one not too far away that I knew was also in the sky - Castor. Hit enter and it will slew to the position, when it asks you to centre just hit 'Enter' and you will have 'Alignment Successful'. Slew over to the Sun and start tracking

If your mount is not calibrated in degrees in azimuth just measure the circumference, divide by 360 and multiply by however many degrees you are dealing with. Then its just a case of lining up 2 pencil marks that far apart

Works for me, hope this helps

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  • 6 years later...

Hi Helios102 

I realise this is a very old thread but just wanted to say it helped me.  Today I bought a Star Discovery mount and my primary use will be fliming the Sun (with a filter)

I quickly realised there is no day time option line my Celeston Scope so your post has been a great solution.

Thanks.

 

 

 

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In the most recent Synscan firmware version you have solar tracking mode inbuilt. Just enter date/time info, no alignment, point to sun and activate solar tracking from the utility menu :)

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Just now, Apharov said:

In the most recent Synscan firmware version you have solar tracking mode inbuilt. Just enter date/time info, no alignment, point to sun and activate solar tracking from the utility menu :)

..and this tracking  depends on the mount being level, although in practise leveling by eye seems to be sufficient.

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