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  1. #1
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    Default Help with alignment...



    I just made my obligatory newbie post over, but since I don't have 5 posts I can't link to it. The short story is I just bought my wife a Celestron Nexstar 8se, an external power tank, and the Celestron EP and filter accessory kit.

    I could use some help with my alignment when using goto's.

    I've been reading the forums for days and here's what I have done, and how I've been attempting to operate it.

    • I've balanced my OTA per the posts on here
    • I've adjusted my anti-backlash to where slop and jerking are about as minimal as I can get them
    • I've adjusting my StarFinder as best I can. It's still off (north and east of every target), but close enough that a few taps with the directional keys brings in whatever I'm looking for into the EP.
    • I make sure the base is level and on solid ground before using


    During my SkyAlign I typically chose 3 stars simply because I can't locate anything other than the moon and maybe 1 planet on my own. I can successfully align to 3 objects. Tonight I did Jupiter, Rigel, and Aldebaran. During alignment for each planet I unfocused the star/planet in order to get the best centering I could in the EP before hitting "Align". After alignment I went back to Jupiter and I can clearly see 2 red bands on Jupiter and its' 4 moons with my 25mm EP. The scope is tracking nicely. I was even able to get some magnification when I went to a 13mm EP, but with the light pollution where I'm at it started blurring and anything past that was a wash.

    My problem was trying to goto anything else. The scope was off so much that nothing was visible in the EP. I was off. Even just goto'ing between Rigel and Aldebaran it was off. I even would Sync after re-centering one, goto the other, sync off of it, and then goto the first one only for the alignment to be off again. If my alignment is off just goto'ing 2 stars that aren't all that far apart, even after sync'ing on both, how am I going to goto anything else in the sky?

    This has happened the past 3 nights in a row. Tips, suggestions, words of advice?

  2. #2
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    Approved ... Welcome aboard ..Thanks for joining us ...
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  3. The Following User Says Thank You to roverich For This Useful Post:

    BenBoosted (12-29-2011)

  4. #3
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    Default Alignment

    Just had my 4SE out for a second time tonight and alignment was very good. i saw some other posts and tried this...when alignining in the eyepiece, I consistently centered in the eyepiece from the same direction. i would approach from the bottom and left. my few followups were at the edge of my 17mm EP. Worth a try.

  5. #4
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    Default

    I know I wasn't doing that... even after reading a few recommendations on that specific tip.

    Additionally I did verify that I have the latest HC and MC firmware installed.

  6. #5
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    Default

    A couple of things I have found helpful with alignment are:-
    • Always approach the alignment star from the same direction that the scope moves when doing a Goto.
    • Make sure the date is entered correctly (I recently entered the date using the European format dd/mm/yyyy and set inadvertently set it to 12th November instead of 11th December)
    • Make sure that your power is ok. The Nexstar scopes seem to be fussy about the quality of their power supply so if the batteries are flat then you get strange results. If using a power tank make sure that it is charged and the cable is firmly plugged in.


    However I think that your problem may be due to the fact that the alignment stars & planet are all fairly close together. You get best results with widely spaced alignment stars. In fact there's a handy program available here http://www.nexstarsite.com/Downloads.htm that calculates the best alignment stars for your location and time. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the section titled "Select Alignment Stars". If you want to just select alignment stars by pointing at random stars then try to pick ones that are not too near each other.

    Hope this helps and you get many nights of enjoyable watching.

    Ciaran

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  7. #6
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    Default

    Ben:

    First of all WELCOME to these forums...

    Check out these links on Cloudy Nights written by Art Dent and Greg

    Telescope Reviews: AUTO TWO-STAR ALIGNMENT

    Telescope Reviews: Links and Best of the Celestron NexStar forum

    They are in the stickies section of the Nexstar Forum over on Cloudy nights..

    That said if you are using skyalign DO NOT use any stars (and avoid planets and especially avoid the moon) that are HIGHER in the sky then 70 degrees nor use any stars that are LOWER then 30 degrees...and Separate them by at least 90 or 100 degrees then pick the third "conformation star" so that it forms the tallest triangle you can get..

    Do not worry about leveling the scope any better then eyeball level..

    How is you OTA mounted on the dovetail...front or rear end heavy (can be either but NOT dead on balanced)

    What do you have you GoTo approach set at?
    What 2 buttons do you TOUCH last when centering your alignment stars ???
    Did You manually set your time zone ?

    These scopes are quite capable of giving you very Good GoTos all night long and will accurately track for hours IF you set them up correctly...


    Bob G.
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
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    2. make a heck of a lot of sawdust in my wood shop.

  8. #7
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    Default

    I have a lot of trouble with aligning too. I usually just do solar system alignment because the SkyAlign always fails. This usually gets the job done for me. If you know a planet then try doing this. I wouldn't recrommend you aligning the moon because it is hard to center with your large apiture and will not work right. Hope I helped and welcome to the forum.
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  9. #8
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    Default

    Ok so after re-reading some comments my final culprit was the backlash in the gears.

    Getting the star/planet in the upper left of the EP and then final alignment is done by down/right only. After doing it this way the GOTO's are always within view of the 25mm EP. Now to get out of my light polluted back yard and go somewhere much darker!

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob327 View Post
    Ben:
    Do not worry about leveling the scope any better then eyeball level..

    How is you OTA mounted on the dovetail...front or rear end heavy (can be either but NOT dead on balanced)

    What do you have you GoTo approach set at?
    What 2 buttons do you TOUCH last when centering your alignment stars ???
    Did You manually set your time zone ?

    These scopes are quite capable of giving you very Good GoTos all night long and will accurately track for hours IF you set them up correctly...


    Bob G.
    Thanks for the links to the threads on cloudy nights. I'll check those out.

    I have my OTA close to the balance point with a slight favor to the tail/EP end.

    I'm not sure I follow you on my GOTO approach setting. Can you elaborate?

    The last 2 buttons...I think this is where my mess up began. When I originally started this thread I was using any/all directional buttons to center the object in the EP. Now, only using down and right, seems to be the missing ingredient for me.

    I set my TZ to central, standard daylight time. I did set the Longitude/Lattitude to accurate coordinates for where I live as the closest city listed is 30 miles away.

  11. #10
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    Default

    Good way (if I have not already mentioned it in this thread) to "mess" with your backlash settings is to drag the scope outside in the daylight and set your slew rate at no more then TWO...then point the scope at either a brick wall or on your roof (or a neighbors) ..( both give you GREAT GRID PATTERNS) ..the final numbers mean nothing just start on the Azm axis first (its the easy one) with zero and zero back lash settings and increase by TEN until things get worst then reduce by FIVE ..then reduce or increase my ONE until a slew comes to a INSTANT DEAD stop (no drifting) when you release a direction button and starts a slew after you press the button nice and smooth with (NO JERKING) do not worry if the slew does not start for a second or two after you press the button this unfortunately is normal because of the "slop" in the gears...

    Bob G.
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
    I Hate the winter so I use heated Motorcycle clothing to stay warm while observing in winter
    Retired, also have 2 other hobbies
    1. tinker with older Corvettes (6 in garage)
    2. make a heck of a lot of sawdust in my wood shop.

 

 

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