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Magellan II Telescope Computer System Instruction Manual
 IV. Operations
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.
Magellan operates under one of four modes that are cycled by pressing the MODE key. The four modes are,
  • Telescope Mode
  • Coordinate Mode
  • Timer Mode
  • Blank Mode
Some modes have sub-menus accessed by moving the LCD arrow (positioned to the left of the menu item) up or down using the PREV or NEXT key, and then pressing ENTER.

[ toc ] A. Telescope Mode

The default start-up mode for Magellan is Telescope Mode. This mode has telescope-related functions. The sub-menus for this mode are: Object Library, Align, Date, Encoders Reverse N/S, Reverse E/W, North hemi and Help. These functions allow the telescope to be aligned, object libraries to be accessed for pointing at these objects, and to set certain telescope functions.

[ toc ] 1. Object Library

This menu item defaults to the top of the menu listing for quick access. All library data and object search filters are accessed from this menu. When selected, by pressing the ENTER key, a scrolling menu appears listing the object library functions. These functions include: Object Information, Start Find, Field Parameters and User Library.

The fastest method for selecting an object from the available catalogs is to press one of the catalog function keys, namely 2, 3, 5, 6 or 9. These keys will immediately access the selected catalog unless you are currently editing a character string.

[ toc ] a) Object Information

The display shows information about the selected library object. Pressing ENTER displays the object's description (i.e. the name, type, magnitude and size or separation). Pressing ENTER again displays the object's coordinates in Right Ascension and Declination. A third press of ENTER displays the distance to the object from the telescope's current position. This distance is continually updated as the telescope is moved allowing you to steer the telescope to the object.

As you move to various parts of the sky, you may find that object positions differ slightly from the position indicated by Magellan. These differences arise from inaccuracies in leveling (squaring) or centering stars during the initial alignment. You can make minor corrections to the alignment by "synchronizing" Magellan on any object within the Magellan catalogs. This is done by centering the known object in the field of view while the object information for that object is displayed. Press and hold the ENTER key for one or two seconds and the display will show the message, "Center object, then press ENTER." Pressing ENTER will now synchronize the Magellan to the coordinates of the centered object. This will improve the accuracy of Magellan for objects in the immediate vicinity. While any object from the object catalogs may be used to "sync" the Magellan, you may wish to select a bright neighbor of a fainter object to provide the final pointing accuracy to find that faint object. Appendix A lists the bright stars from the STAR catalog which may be used for this purpose.

The MODE key aborts the selected menu item and returns to the previous menu list.

[ toc ] b) Start Find

Selecting this option filters the library database for objects that match the specifications listed under the Parameters menu (see below) and displays the closest object's description (i.e. the name, type, magnitude and size). Pressing ENTER again displays the object's coordinates in Right Ascension and Declination. A third press of ENTER displays the distance to the object from the telescope's current position.

Press NEXT to display the information for the next closest object. PREV will display the information for the farthest object (or the previous closest object).

The MODE key aborts the selected menu item and returns to the previous menu list.

[ toc ] c) Field

This command identifies objects in the field of view of the telescope. By pressing ENTER Magellan displays the central object's description (i.e. the name, type, magnitude and size). Pressing ENTER again displays its coordinates in Right Ascension and Declination. A third press of ENTER displays the distance to the object from the telescope's current position.

The MODE key aborts the selected menu item and returns to the previous menu list.

[ toc ] d) Parameters

Start Find uses the specifications listed below to filter the database for matching objects. Scroll through these 6 specifications using the PREV/NEXT keys and select the ones to change by pressing ENTER.
[ toc ] 1) Type

This menu file option allows you to select the type of CNGC objects you wish to locate. The symbols GPDCO represent:

G Galaxies

P Planetary Nebulae

D Diffuse Nebulae

C Globular Star Clusters

O Open Star Clusters
Initially, the blinking cursor appears over the G symbol. If you decide not to look for galaxies, press the PREV/NEXT key and the letter will disappear, deselecting the GALAXIES category. If you wish to leave GALAXIES selected, then move the blinking cursor over to one of the other category symbols by pressing ENTER. You can then deselect the undesired categories. If you wish to recall a category symbol, move the blinking cursor over the symbol location and press the PREV/NEXT key. After your selections are made, press ENTER.

[ toc ] 2) Better

The BETTER menu file option allows you to define the visual object quality range. At power up, the range is set at the bottom of the scale on VP. When using the START FIND menu selection, it will select all objects that are very poor through super or what could be considered an "ALL" setting. The object quality symbols are:

SU Super

EX Excellent

VG Very Good

G  Good

FR Fair

PR Poor

VP Very Poor
If you wish to define the visual object quality range to very good and better, press ENTER and the blinking cursor will appear on the quality value. From the quality setting press PREV/NEXT to move to higher or lower quality settings. Once you have selected the quality value required, press ENTER to complete the selection process.

[ toc ] 3) Larger

The LARGER menu file option allows settings of the lower apparent size limit of the objects you wish to see. At power up, it is set to 000' (arc minutes). In order to make a decision as to the size limits that you may impose, it helps to have a clear understanding of exactly what an arc minute of sky is. A good example is the apparent size of the Moon, which could be expressed as 1/2 degree, 30 arc minutes, or 1800 arc seconds. Each arc minute is 60 arc seconds, and there are 60 arc minutes for each degree of sky.

Some beginning observers have a tough time discerning objects less than about 1 arc minute in size unless it is a double star or a planet. Astrophotographers and those involved with CCD imaging may want to set a higher value based on a desired image scale coverage that would be most impressive with different films or types of CCD cameras. Enter the new value in arc minutes by pressing ENTER to indicate that editing is required. This will cause the cursor to blink on the first digit of the sequence. Pressing a number key on the handbox will enter that number into the cursor position and move to the next digit. If you want to skip a position and leave it unchanged use the East (E) or West (W) keys to move the cursor. After the last digit is in place, pressing ENTER will cause Magellan to accept the data as formatted.

[ toc ] 4) Smaller

The SMALLER menu file option is the upper size object limit. At power up, the setting is for 200' arc minutes or 3.33°. This setting is high enough to cover the largest objects in the OBJECT LIBRARY. You may want to lower the value because of field-of-view limitations of a particular eyepiece.

Other reasons for limiting the value in SMALLER is for astrophotographic or CCD imaging requirements where you don't want the object to exceed the imaging area of the film or the CCD chip. Setting values by using the keypad are the same as previously described.

[ toc ] 5) Brighter

The lower brightness limits based on stellar magnitude can be limited in the BRIGHTER menu file option. At power up, the magnitude value is set to a very faint level of +20.0. You may want to adjust the magnitude level to a brighter value starting at perhaps the limiting visual magnitude of your telescope. Sky conditions also greatly affect the limiting magnitude due to atmospheric haze, high clouds, light pollution, or combinations thereof. Setting values by using the keypad are the same as previously described.

[ toc ] 6) Fainter

The upper level of brightness may also be adjusted with the FAINTER menu file option, although you may find few applications for limiting it to a lower value. Setting values by using the keypad are the same as previously described.

[ toc ] e) User Library

This option allows the user to create a user library of 125 objects selected from the existing libraries. Pressing ENTER will display the first of these 125 possible selections. Pressing PREV/NEXT will scroll through the user items. Press ENTER to select a particular user item that you want changed or added. Pressing PREV/NEXT will move you through the catalogs options, press ENTER when you have the object library you wish to choose from. You may then enter the object number with the keypad as in previous menus followed by ENTER to complete the selection.

[ toc ] 2. Align

Alignment of your telescope is the most critical procedure for the successful use of Magellan. The alignment procedure allows Magellan to determine the orientation and position of the telescope, and to thereafter guide you accurately to objects in the sky. The alignment function is selected from the menu by pressing ENTER when "Align" is indicated by the display arrow.

Next to the word "Align" on the Magellan display there is a number ("0" after power is applied). This number represents the quality of the alignment procedure performed. It is derived from taking the measured alignment values and comparing them with what should be expected based on the distances between the alignment objects. A value of 100 (as in 100%) means that your actual alignment measurements matched those expected based on calculations. Values between 90 and 110 are accepted but may affect pointing accuracy when moving to other objects. Values outthis range are not acceptable and will require that you make another attempt to align your telescope. The initial value of "0" indicates that Magellan is not aligned.

[ toc ] a) Polar Alignment

Polar alignment is the only alignment offered for Magellan II. Position the telescope/mount system such that it is aligned with the pole (the pole is in the center of the field of view and the telescope is at 90°( Declination). Your telescope instruction manual will provide information on this initial telescope positioning. Once in position, press ENTER as requested by the display.

At this point the first alignment star needs to be selected. Press ENTER and the alignment star catalog will appear. Scrolling with PREV/NEXT, select a star familiar to you which is near the meridian and press ENTER. Move the telescope to the selected star and center it in the eyepiece and press ENTER. At this point polar alignment is complete and you may exit by pushing the MODE key. Magellan also offers the option of selecting a second alignment star to further correct alignment inaccuracies in the original polar positioning of the telescope. The procedure for using the second alignment star is the same as for the first and Magellan will prompt the user with display messages.

If errors occur during the alignment procedure Magellan can detect these based on calculations of expected values. For example, if the wrong star is centered during alignment, Magellan will detect that the distance between stars is not what should be expected. If this variation exceeds preset limits, Magellan will display the message "Alignment Error Check Stars." If this occurs, press ENTER and begin the alignment procedure again. If the alignment is successful a number will be displayed next to the "Align" display which gives a relative value of merit for alignment quality (100 is perfect as in 100%).

[ toc ] 3. Date

The date is required to locate planets and is in Month/Day/Year format. The date can be altered by pressing ENTER to select the date function. This causes the cursor to blink on the first date digit. The value of each digit is changed and selected by using the keypad. After the last digit of the year is selected pressing ENTER will complete the date function.

[ toc ] 4. Encoders...

This function is used to select the encoder specifications used on the telescope. The default values may need to be changed for high resolution encoders shipped with your telescope. If the standard value of the encoder is different due to a change in gear ratios, a note will appear in the installation instructions which will direct you to change this ratio setting. Press ENTER to select the Encoder function and change the ratios as needed by using the keypad as in previous examples.

[ toc ] 5. Reverse N/S

The Reverse N/S menu selection reverses the direction of the telescope in North and South movements (e.g., when you press the N key the scope will move South instead of North or up). This is especially useful during some guiding applications in imaging and observing. To use the Reverse N/S menu, move the LCD arrow to Reverse N/S menu, move the LCD arrow to reverse N/S and press ENTER. If you wish to return the direction commands to the original setting, press ENTER again. A check mark to the right side of the display indicates when this function is active (reversed).

[ toc ] 6. Reverse E/W

The Reverse E/W menu selection reverses the direction of the telescope in East and West movements (e.g., when you press the W key the scope will move East). This is especially useful during some guiding applications in imaging and observing. To use the Reverse E/W menu, move the LCD arrow to Reverse E/W menu, move the LCD arrow to reverse E/W and press ENTER. If you wish to return the direction commands to the original setting, press ENTER again. A check mark to the right side of the display indicates when this function is active (reversed).

[ toc ] 7. North Hemi.

This function overrides the telescope hemisphere directions. If you activate this function your telescope will perform sidereal tracking movements in the direction specified. This will override the internal jumpers for this information. Pressing ENTER will toggle the function between North and South setting.

[ toc ] 8. Help...

A very brief description of Magellan functions is given by this option. Pressing ENTER will display the help messages and the PREV/NEXT keys move the user through this text. Pressing the MODE key will end the help session.

[ toc ] B. Coordinate Mode

This mode displays the direction coordinates of the telescope (where it is pointing). If the telescope has been aligned, the display will show RA and DEC values. If alignment has not been accomplished the display will show the raw encoder counts.

[ toc ] 1. Encoder Display

This display shows raw encoder counts. As the telescope is moved these values will increase or decrease depending on the direction of movement and axis involved. This display will quickly show any malfunctions in the encoder system or cables.

[ toc ] 2. Coordinate Display
If the telescope has been aligned, the display will be in RA and DEC values. You will see the RA = and DEC = coordinates of where the telescope is pointing. If you move the telescope, the coordinates display will immediately update the new position in Right Ascension (RA) and Declination (DEC).

[ toc ] C. Timer Mode The timer mode displays the stop watch timer and the current time.

[ toc ] 1. Timer

This function allows the user to measure precise time periods for such activities as photographic time exposures. The timer display shows time remaining in Hours:Minutes:Seconds. The timed duration is set by holding the ENTER key for more than one second while the timer display is present and selected. The cursor will appear in the hours position of the display and will respond to the keypad to set the values of each digit. After the last digit of the seconds position is completed, pressing ENTER will return the display to the original condition. A short duration press of ENTER will start the timer counting down. Pressing ENTER quickly will toggle the timer from running to stopped and stopped to running. When running the timer will continue to count down even if the display is not visible. Upon returning to the timer display, the time remaining will be accurate and available to the user.

[ toc ] 2. Local Time

The local time display shows local time as entered by the user. It will start at 00:00:00 when power is turned on. Local time is set by holding the ENTER key for more than one second while the Local display is present and selected. The cursor will appear in the hours position of the display and will respond to the keypad to set the values of each digit. After the last digit of the seconds position is completed, pressing ENTER will return the display to the original condition with Local time now displaying the entered value.

[ toc ] D. Blank Mode

This mode is used to set the brightness of the LCD backlighting.

[ toc ] 1. Adjust Brightness

Pressing ENTER in the blank mode will cause the "Set Brightness" message to appear. Pressing the PREV key will make the backlight display brighter, while pressing the NEXT key will make the backlight dimmer. There are 16 levels of brightness available. After the lighting has been adjusted for the best viewing, press MODE to exit this function.

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