- When I align the telescope, the alignment star is not in the viewfinder. What am I doing wrong?
A: First, make sure your viewfinder has been aligned to the main telescope. This is done by centering a distant terrestrial object in the eyepiece of the telescope and then making adjustments to the viewfinder collimation screws until the object is centered in the finder. Another problem could be due to local magnetic disturbance, which is affecting the electronic compass. The telescope uses level, north, date, and time to find the alignment stars. If any of those data are incorrect, the alignment star positions can be off. Since the date and time is gathered from the satellite, only level and north could be problems. Use the Calibrate Sensors function to correct for any deviations and realign.
- Is the pointing accuracy of my telescope affected by how accurately the alignment stars are placed in the viewfinder?
A: No. The alignment stars need only to be in the finder so you can see them. Once you center the alignment stars in the eyepiece and press ENTER, all the previous position data has been corrected. Pointing accuracy is based solely on how accurately you center the alignment stars in the eyepiece.
- After I select an object and press GOTO, the Autostar displays "Slewing.....", but does not seem to move. Is my Autostar broken?
A: No. You are holding down the GOTO button too long and entering the spiral search function. The Autostar has a spiral search function that is designed to move the telescope in ever widening circles to aide in finding objects. This is done by holding the GOTO button for more than a second. When this occurs, the Autostar II will display "Slewing....". To exit from this feature, press mode until you are back at the object menu. Now re-select the desired object and quickly press GOTO. The telescope will now begin to slew to the selected object.
- Before aligning my telescope, do I have to level my tripod?
A: No. The Autostar II can determine how level the base of the telescope is and make adjustments to compensate for it. During the alignment process, you see the telescope make three measurements for level, each at 90 degrees from the previous measurement. Based on this information, the Autostar II can determine the plane that the telescope's drive base is on and compensate for any tilt.
- When selecting an object, I pressed ENTER and the Autostar II displayed PRESS ENTER TO SYNC. What is happening?
A: You're holding down the ENTER button too long and entering the SYNC function. The SYNC Function is provided to improve pointing accuracy on one area of the sky. After you have slewed to an object you may press ENTER for 2 seconds to enter this function. You can then center the object that is currently selected and press ENTER again. Now you have synchronized on that object and all other objects in that area of the sky should be very well centered in the eyepiece upon each subsequent GOTO.
Please note: Use of this function may decrease pointing accuracy in other portions of the sky.
- The Autostar displays TAKING GPS FIX and nothing happens. What should I do?
A: Wait. After taking the LX200GPS outside for the first time, you turn on the Autostar II and follow the prompts. The Autostar II then attempts to acquire a GPS signal and displays TAKING GPS FIX. This routine can take as much as 6-8 minutes the first time the telescope is used. After that, the GPS will acquire very quickly, around a minute or two on a new site and much faster on known sites. Make sure your GPS receiver in not obstructed from its view of the sky. Avoid buildings or trees that may block the signal.
- The Autostar II is beeping. What should I do?
A: Check the batteries. The low battery alarm will sound when battery power levels are below the operating range required by the telescope. You can turn off this alarm in the ULTILITIES menu.
- My friend has an LX200GPS too. Can I use my Autostar II on his telescope to access my user objects?
A: No. Unlike the #497 Autostar, the Autostar II hand box is just a terminal. The real computer lies in the base of the telescope, which is where all the data is stored.
- Can I take astro-photographs with my telescope? What do I need?
A: Yes. Many of the improvements on the LX200GPS were designed specifically for astro-photography. To begin to take photos you need only a camera adapter and t-ring appropriate for your model camera. This set-up is suitable for short duration photos of the moon and planets. Longer exposures require the use of an equatorial wedge so you can polar align the telescope and track celestial objects using only one motor. Long exposures in Alt/Az will result in field rotation, which appears as trailed stars in the corners of the exposure. For best results in equatorial mode, an autoguider can keep a star precisely centered on the very longest of exposures.
- Is my LX200GPS upgradeable?
A: Absolutely! With an LX200 interface cable you can upgrade the software in your telescope from your PC by going to Meade's web site at www.meade.com You can download Meade's ASU (Autostar Update Utility) and the latest software for your Autostar II absolutely free. You can also use the ASU to add Comets, Asteroids, Satellites, and User Objects to your Autostar II with a few simple clicks of the mouse.