Meade Instruments Corporation
Telescopes · Binoculars · Microscopes

Magellan II Telescope Computer System Instruction Manual
 I. Introduction
IMPORTANT NOTICE! Never use a telescope or spotting scope to look at the Sun! Observing the Sun, even for the shortest fraction of a second, will cause irreversible damage to your eye as well as physical damage to the telescope or spotting scope itself.
The Magellan Telescope Computer System offers an electronic package that permits the location and observation of thousands of deep-sky objects as well as all of the major planets. Features include:

[ toc ] A. Features

  • Celestial Navigation: Steer your telescope to any selected object using the distance display window. As you move the telescope, the distance to the object is continually updated. When within 1°, bars replace the distance meter, and shrink until the telescope is centered on the selected object.

  • Two Star Alignment: Point your telescope at two bright stars selected from the named common star database, and Magellan calculates an alignment solution that directs all subsequent movements of your telescope for fast, accurate object location. No need to level the telescope or input time, latitude, and longitude!

  • 12,218 - Object built-in Library: Select an object from either the Messier catalog, the complete NGC catalog, or the complete IC catalog. Use the STAR catalog to find bright stars, multiple stars, named common stars, and planets from Mercury to Pluto.

  • Large Membrane Keypad: Simplify Magellan operation by using the large back lighted keypad for data entry and object selection.

  • Dual Axis Drive Correction: Control the movement of your telescope from the direction keys on the Magellan II switch panel.

  • Liquid Crystal Display: Show information on a large, two-line, 32 character, red back lighted screen. Illumination is variable from bright to none in 16 levels.

  • Digital readouts on both axes: Read the coordinates (RA and DEC) where your telescope is pointing, displayed to a precision of 5.3 arc-minutes (0.09°).

  • RS-232 Communications: Connect Magellan to Epoch 2000 (or other compatible programs) and display your telescope's position in the sky directly on the computer star map.

[ toc ] B. Principles of Operation

The Magellan system is quite simple in its basic operation. All telescopes have two axes rotation that are perpendicular to each other. By rotating the telescope on these axis the user can point to any object in the sky. Telescopes with clock drives, like the Meade Starfinder Equatorial, have the axis of rotation such that rotation about the celestial pole is possible. This is called a "Polar" configuration.

Magellan is a sophisticated microprocessor system that is programmed to understand the relationship between the moving sky and Polar configurations of a telescope. For the Magellan to operate properly, it must have information about where the telescope is pointing. This is done by installing encoders on both telescope axes of rotation. These encoders tell Magellan which direction an axis is moved and how far. The encoders divide the rotation into 4,096 reference points or more for a complete revolution. These encoders are installed according to the installation procedures supplied with the Magellan unit, and are designed specifically for your telescope.

Now that Magellan has the capability to determine various positions of your telescope, it needs to know how these positions relate to the sky. This is where alignment of the telescope is very important. Alignment is the process of telling Magellan how to relate telescope positions with actual sky locations. Once alignment is complete, Magellan knows where in the sky you are pointing and can direct you to new objects or identify objects you find. Alignment is basically accomplished by showing Magellan the location of two objects in the sky. The alignment objects (stars) are the brightest and most easily identifiable in the sky. Once you become familiar with the location of these objects, alignment will become simple. This process is described in detail later.

Magellan will allow you to find objects too faint to be seen with the naked eye. One additional technique offered by Magellan is called "synchronizing." This is a method used to improve the accuracy of your telescope after it has been aligned. Alignment will not always be perfect and can have small variations that will be multiplied as you sweep long distances across the sky. These inaccuracies can be eliminated in a local area of sky by "synching" on a known object in that vicinity. This will help Magellan to improve its accuracy for other objects in the neighborhood and will permit you to accurately find hidden objects by "synching" on a bright neighbor.

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