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Autostar Computer Controller Instruction Manual
WARNING: Never use Autostar to move a telescope to look at the Sun! Looking at or near the Sun will cause instant and irreversible damage to your eye. Eye damage is often painless, so there is no warning to the observer that damage has occurred until it is too late. Do not point a telescope or its viewfinder at or near the Sun. Do not look through a telescope or its viewfinder as it is moving. Children should always have adult supervision while observing.

For the ETX-series to function properly when using Autostar, the telescope first must be set to its "Home Position." This is required so Autostar begins operation from a "known" location, allowing easy computer alignment and accurate tracking of objects.

Alt/Az Alignment Home Position

Fig. 7: (1) Initial Position. (2) Home Position.
To set the ETX-series telescope in the "Alt/Az (Altitude/Azimuth) Home Position," follow this procedure:

  1. Verify that general assembly of the telescope is complete (see the telescope instruction manual).
  2. Set the drive base on a flat surface.
  3. Loosen the telescope vertical lock and level the optical tube by setting the Dec setting circle to 0 degrees. Tighten the vertical lock to a firm feel only.

    NOTE: The Dec setting circle has been factory set to read the correct declination of sky objects. If for some reason the setting circle has become loose and requires repositioning, follow the procedure detailed in the telescope instruction manual.

    Fig. 8: ETX-Series Alt/Az Alignment Home Position.

  4. Loosen the horizontal lock and rotate the telescope until the vertical lock is directly above the computer control panel. The telescope should look like position 1 of Fig. 7.

    NOTE: Rotational limits exist in the ETX-series that prevent movement of the telescope too far horizontally or vertically to prevent damage to the internal gears and wiring (see the telescope instruction manual). Do not force the telescope past these limits.

  5. Rotate the telescope counterclockwise 180° until the Dec setting circle is directly above the computer control panel. The telescope should now look like position 2 in Fig. 7 and the photograph in Fig. 8. Tighten the horizontal lock to a firm feel only.
  6. Pick up the telescope by its drive base and rotate the entire assembly until the telescope is pointing True North.
  7. The telescope is now Alt/Az aligned.


Important Note: For most applications using Autostar, Alt/Az alignment is sufficient for terrestrial and celestial observing.

Polar Alignment Home Position

Fig. 9: ETX-Series Polar Alignment Home Position with #880 Table Tripod.

To use the Polar Alignment (Right Ascension/Declination) feature of Autostar, the telescope must be physically polar aligned. See the telescope instruction manual for details on polar alignment.

NOTE: Autostar must also be configured for Polar mounting (see Mount).

To Polar align using the #883 Deluxe Field Tripod, follow the instructions provided with the tripod. To Polar align using the #880 Table Tripod (Fig. 9), follow this procedure:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 5 of the Alt/Az Alignment Home Position procedure.
  2. Follow the Polar Alignment Procedure, then return to this procedure.
  3. The telescope is now polar aligned. Unless specified in the Autostar instruction manual for a specific procedure, from this point on, move the telescope with the Autostar arrow keys only. The left and right keys rotate the telescope in Right Ascension, while the up and down keys move the telescope in Declination. If the telescope is physically moved or the horizontal (R.A) and vertical (Dec) locks are loosened alignment is lost.


Fig. 10: Digital Electronic Telescope Series (DS) Home Position.
Digital Electronic Series (DS) telescopes are also required to be placed in their "Home Position" prior to alignment and observing with Autostar. Since polar mounting is not available for this series of telescope, the home position is simplified (see Fig. 10):

  1. Level the telescope tube so that it is parallel to the ground and lock the vertical lock.
  2. Lock the horizontal lock.
  3. Physically move the telescope so that the telescope tube is pointing True North. The telescope is now Alt/Az aligned.

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