I haven’t started my official evaluation test yet for my using my scope (Attempt #0 of 5 to save my hobby), mostly as I am still struggling to figure out what exactly is causing the alignment problems. After lots of back and forth with a few people online and by email, the list of potential problems is known but not insignificant.
First and foremost, apparently the three-star method I’ve been using is notoriously prone to margins of errors. Nice. I don’t know how I missed that previously, but considering that’s the approach I’ve been using since the beginning, not encouraging. Apparently, I’m just a fucking idiot.
Second, I need to make sure everything is fine for the actual mechanics of it. This includes five things:
Reset everything in the hand controller to factory defaults — done;
Checking to make sure I have adequate power…I used fresh brand new batteries tonight, and it seems to be the same results as when I use my Lithium Ion pack, so I don’t think power is a problem — done;
Checking my basic left-right play (none) and up-down play (went to zenith, returned to horizontal, stops when coming down, no problem) — done;
Checking my slew motion…after I take my finger off the button, it doesn’t “stop” immediately like a brake, but it does stop within half a second or so…I don’t know if that’s a problem or not — pending;
I still need to check backlash for settings — pending;
Third, for the preferred two-star alignment, I confess it sounded less accurate to me originally so I never really considered it. » Read the rest
As I mentioned earlier, I have my Celestron NexStar 8SE setup finally working (Finally learning with the Celestron NexStar 8SE). So last Friday, when the night was promising good seeing, I headed over to the local park that I frequently use for viewing. I’ll confess it isn’t a “great” location in terms of light pollution. It’s just off Knoxdale and you can see streelights about half a block away, plus I’m in the middle of a suburb. It’s darker than most areas, and I have decent horizons, but that is in comparison to most suburban areas, not against a true dark sky site. But it’s close and I wanted to test the setup.
I did my new routine — vibration suppression pads, wifi link, app on phone, 17.3mm regular + 12 mm illuminated cross-hair reticle for centreing and aligning, stars far apart. When it finished, and the alignment was successful, I started with simply telling the scope to show me the moon. » Read the rest
I have a Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope…for those not in the know, that’s an 8″ optical tube on a simple tripod. They call them one-armed bandits (like the slot machines) because there is a single arm that goes from the tripod mount that it rests on up to the tube. Simple, easy to work, but it isn’t very stable, at least not in astronomical viewing terms. It doesn’t allow for much in the way of astro photography due to its limited ability to track the sky over time, thus limiting the photography options of long-exposures. However, there is one feature where the 8SE shines — it’s ease of use.
This was a key ingredient for me in buying a scope, based on knowledge of who I am and the patience I have. If a scope takes 30 minutes to setup, I’m not likely to use it. I need something relatively simple, and the 8SE requires you to basically setup the tripod, attach the scope to the arm, add some power and eyepieces, and you’re good to go. » Read the rest