Chapter 5 (of Michael Swanson’s “The NexStar User’s Guide II”) is entitled NexStar and StarSense Hand Control Operations and you would be right if you assumed this was going to more like a software manual than a telescope manual. It is a highly specific reference manual for the use of the hand controller and reading it page by page is for the hard-core geek only. But it is full of fantastic info that I didn’t know enough about, even though I’ve worked with the hand controller for years. These are the highlights for me:
Pg. 128 – Adjusting slew rates…I knew how to manually adjust the slew rate (MOTOR SPEED then press 1-9 where 9 was the fastest). I really only use 3, 6, and 9 for rates though. 9 if I’m going a great distance, 6 if I’m adjusting for centreing, and 3 if I need very fine adjustments while doing astrophotography and looking at centreing something on the screen. » Read the rest
Chapter 4 of Michael Swanson’s “The NexStar User’s Guide II” is entitled Alignment and is the chapter that made me want to buy the book and read it cover to cover. Readers of the blog know that I struggled with alignment for my NexStar 8SE (Solving alignment problems with the Celestron NexStar 8SE) and Michael’s online resources were helpful in resolving some of them, or at least narrowing the problem. I even held off buying the book because he said Guide II was coming and I should wait over Guide I. Then I managed to solve most of the alignment issues, and so when his book arrived, I didn’t devour the whole book right away. I just cruised through the Alignment chapter. Then this past summer, I went back and re-read everything in order.
Here are some highlights from Chapter 4:
Backlash compensation (P.87): A great element for those of us with slightly older scopes whose mounts are no longer “factory fresh”. » Read the rest
I like to blog about non-fiction books as I read them, as it helps me both synthesize and retain the info. Chapter 3 is a general overview on all the computerized scopes in Celestron’s arsenal, and I found myself liberally highlighting as I read it. Here are some highlights:
P.57 — a great overview of the different processors in the mount, including some of what the processors in the mount do (drive the motors) and the hand control (determining the correct tracking rate)…I was initially confused about something in the manual, as it said the hand controller sends the update to the mount every thirty seconds. I wasn’t sure if this meant it sends a “movement” command every 30s (as that seemed too slow) or a rate adjustment every 30s (adjusting the existing tracking speed), and the author confirmed the latter. Now rereading it, it was already clear, I think I just confused myself;
My #50by50 years have come and gone, both the lead up and the bonus time when I was actually 50. I’m now 51, and there are a couple of items that I started during the period that I haven’t written up yet. One of those was a commitment to purging some books from my collection.
To be honest, I have no idea how many books I have in the basement. My educated guess is somewhere between 1500 and 2500. A huge range I know, and a large number of books. I’ve held on to them over the years, and they have followed me through multiple moves. For some of those homes, the books were basically just piled on a big book shelf four and five layers deep or left in boxes for a while. Most are mysteries, and while I occasionally go back and read some, part of the reason I have them still is that they are part of series. » Read the rest
I mentioned previously that it helps me to blog about NF books as I read them — kind of like transcribing my notes into something more coherent that my brain can recognize. Chapter 2 on Astronomy Basics in the NexStar User’s Guide II is a similar outcome. Here are some thoughts:
P.12 — Constellations…There are 88 constellations that divide the sky…I always assumed there were WAY more than that. I’m curious if each of them will fit in an EP at 50x magnification which is my smallest / lowest power option;
P.13 — Meridian…I knew horizon and zenith of course; I had not heard the term “meridian” to indicate a line going from northern celestial pole to southern celestial pole through the zenith to divide items west and east;
P.15 — Magnitude…I wasn’t aware that a 1 magnitude increase in power equaled a 2.5x increase in brightness…I guess I just assumed a flatter linear scale.