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Autostar Computer Controller Instruction Manual
 Chapter 3: ALIGNMENT
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.
[ toc ] INTRODUCTION

To fully utilize the potential of Autostar the telescope must be aligned.

Alignment Tips: Initial accuracy of Autostar alignment is dependent on how well the observer levels the telescope and how close to North the telescope is pointed when setting the Home Position (see APPENDIX A, page 28).

When the telescope slews to the first star for alignment, it should be visible in the viewfinder, but may not appear in the field of view of the eyepiece. If chosen by Autostar ("Easy" alignment) the alignment star should be easily recognized and is the brightest star in the area of the sky where the telescope is pointing. Use the arrow keys to center the star in the viewfinder and then in the eyepiece.

There are two basic types of telescope alignment with Autostar: Alt/Az (Altitude/Azimuth) or Polar (Right Ascension/Declination). For terrestrial viewing and most celestial observing, the Alt/Az configuration is sufficient. For some types of applications, such as astrophotography, the Polar configuration may be desired. Polar alignment means that the telescope has been aligned with the celestial coordinate system. This coordinate system is explained in the telescope instruction manual.

NOTE: Polar alignment is only applicable to the ETX-series telescope. DS telescope owners may disregard any sections dealing with polar alignment in this manual.

Initial Power Up or Reset: To align the telescope, first verify that AUTOSTAR INITIALIZATION and TRAINING THE DRIVE have been accomplished. These procedures are done the first time the telescope has power applied or if Autostar has been Reset.

Subsequent Power Up: At observing sessions after the system has been initialized and power applied, Autostar accomplishes a short initialization sequence, then prompts the following:

  • Sun Warning Press the required key.
  • Getting Started Press ENTER to continue or the "?" key to access the Autostar Help tutorial.
  • Enter Date Enter the current date, then press ENTER.
  • Enter Time Enter the current time, then press ENTER.
  • Daylight Savings Verify correct setting, then press ENTER.
  • Setup: Align Alignment option screen is displayed.

Alt/Az and Polar alignment each may use one of three alignment procedure options: Easy, One Star, and Two Star.

Polar Mount: If the telescope is to be aligned using a Polar mount, Autostar must be configured for Polar operation. To do this, use the AUTOSTAR PRIMARY MENUS AND OPTIONS chart. From the Select Item: Setup menu, scroll to the Telescope option. Under this option, scroll to Mount and then choose Polar. A confirmation message appears. Proceed with telescope alignment.

Alt/Az Alignment:

Easy and Two Star
In an Easy Alt/Az Alignment, Autostar picks two stars from its database to align on. After Autostar is initialized and alignment chosen, it slews to the first alignment star. Using the arrow keys, the star is centered in the telescope's field of view. The process is repeated for the second star to complete the alignment.

In a Two Star Alt/Az Alignment, the observer picks the two stars from the Autostar database used for alignment. The rest of the alignment process is identical to an Easy alignment.

One Star
In a One Star Alt/Az Alignment the observer picks a single star from the Autostar database on which to align.


Polar Alignment:

Easy and Two Star
In an Easy Polar Alignment, Autostar picks two stars from its database to align on in addition to Polaris.* The rest of the alignment process is identical to an Alt/Az alignment.

In a Two Star Polar Alignment the observer picks the two stars from the Autostar database in addition to Polaris,* used for alignment. The rest of the alignment process is identical to an Easy alignment.

One Star In a One Star Polar Alignment, the observer picks a star from the Autostar database to be used in addition to Polaris* for alignment.

*Polaris is only used for alignment by observers in the northern hemisphere.


[ toc ] ALT/AZ: EASY ALIGNMENT

OBJECTIVE:Align the telescope for observing.
MOUNT:Alt/Az (Vertical/Horizontal)
LEVEL:Beginner/Intermediate
NOTE: Autostar locates alignment stars based on the date, time, and location entered. All that is required is to center the selected stars in the eyepiece when prompted.

The alignment star should be easily recognized and is the brightest star in the area where the telescope is pointing.

1. Verify Autostar has been initialized according to AUTOSTAR INITIALIZATION.

NOTE: If Autostar is already initialized, when power is applied Autostar prompts not to look at the sun; asks if help is required; then requests the date, time, and status of daylight savings time.

The motor drive begins operating and the telescope is aligned for a night of viewing. Objects in the eyepiece should maintain their position even though the Earth is rotating beneath the stars.

To use a procedure other than Alt/Az: Easy, read ALTERNATE ALIGNMENT PROCEDURES. To begin observing celestial objects, see OBSERVING.

Important Note: Once aligned, only use the Autostar program (GO TO) or arrow keys to move the telescope. Do not loosen the telescope locks, or move the base or alignment is lost.

[ toc ] ALTERNATE ALIGNMENT PROCEDURES

The procedure on the preceding page detailed the steps required to align the telescope using Autostar's Alt/Az: Easy Alignment.

The other five available alignment procedures are very similar. Below are notes on the remaining procedures.

Alignment Tip: If using an alignment procedure other than Easy, use a star chart or a current issue of an astronomy magazine such as Astronomy or Sky and Telescope to choose a bright star (or stars) for alignment.

[ toc ]
Alt/Az: One Star Alignment

MOUNT: Alt/Az (Vertical/Horizontal)
LEVEL: eginner/Intermediate
A "One Star" alignment requires some knowledge of the night sky. Autostar provides a database of bright stars and one star from this database is manually chosen for alignment.

Difference from Alt Az: Easy Alignment: Only one star is used for alignment instead of two and that star is chosen by the observer instead of by Autostar.

[ toc ]
Alt/Az: Two Star Alignment

MOUNT: Alt/Az (Vertical/Horizontal)
LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate
A "Two Star" alignment requires some knowledge of the night sky. Autostar provides a database of bright stars and two stars from this database are manually chosen for alignment.

Difference from Alt Az: Easy Alignment: Two Star alignment is identical to Easy alignment except that the two alignment stars are chosen by the observer instead of by Autostar.

Important Note: For all polar alignment options the telescope must be set up in the Polar Alignment Home Position. Also, the telescope mount chosen must be "Polar" (see AUTOSTAR PRIMARY MENUS AND OPTIONS chart).

[ toc ]
Polar: Easy Alignment
MOUNT: Polar (Right Ascension/Declination)
LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced
Autostar automatically locates two alignment stars, in addition to Polaris, based on the date, time, and location entered.

Difference from Alt Az: Easy Alignment:: The mount used is "Polar" as noted above. The alignment procedure is identical.

[ toc ]
Polar: One Star Alignment
MOUNT: Polar (Right Ascension/Declination)
LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced
One star from the Autostar database, in addition to Polaris, is manually chosen for alignment.

Difference from Alt Az: Easy Alignment: The mount used is "Polar" as noted above. One star, in addition to Polaris, is used for alignment and that star is chosen by the observer instead of by Autostar.

[ toc ]
Polar: Two Star Alignment
MOUNT: Polar (Right Ascension/Declination)
LEVEL: Advanced
Two stars from the Autostar database, in addition to Polaris, are manually chosen for alignment.

Difference from Alt Az: Easy Alignment: The mount used is "Polar" as noted above. The two stars, in addition to Polaris, used for alignment are chosen by the observer instead of by Autostar.

Chapter 4: Observing

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