View Full Version here: : NCP Alignment? Meade Audiostar
02-12-2011, 02:22 AM
I live in Port Macquarie and use a 12" Lightbridge with Argo Navis for my serious viewing but just bought a Meade StarNavigator 102 guided refractor to use on the deck for casual viewing and for visitors. This scope calls for a "home" setup based on aligning with the North Star.
I have no experience of this sort of scope or alignment and no idea how I align on an unobservable star or what I need to do to fix this (or if I need to bother at all).
I assume (correctly?) that the alignment is for auto tracking purposes and, as I don't intend to use this for imaging, only observing, I guess a ball-park alignment will do the job - but what do I align with and how do I account for being in the southern hemisphere??
Will appreciate help - have read the sticky notes on SCP alignment but they don't seem to address the north/south issue and there is nothing I can find on the Meade site.
02-12-2011, 10:38 AM
You need to align to the South Celestial Pole (SCP) not the NCP, as as you pointed out, you can't see Polaris from Port Macquarie :)
Frank has the same scope, perhaps he can help you out with specifics.
02-12-2011, 05:03 PM
You dont align on the North star,
you set it up pointing "North".
The StarNavigators are AltAz scopes,
so, in Meade land, you always align them
by setting the tube level and pointing them North.
( This is effectively the altitude = 0 and azimuth = 0 datum )
Based on the latitude entered when you select a site
the firmware will determine what hemisphere you are in
and provide/allow visible alignment stars as required.
If you know a few bright stars, the simplest thing then
is to do a manual 2 star align.
Pick 2 bright stars you know that are at least 90deg apart in Azimuth
and use them to align. Your gotos and tracking should be pretty good after that.
Note. In the Audiostar, you get two options of true or magnetic North
as your start point. If you have a good idea of true north for yr deck,
then use that method as it will get your first align star much closer.
If you want a really rough alignment method, you could set up pointing Nth and level, Start a one star align and just hit enter on the star.
That will give moderately good gotos and tracking if the scope base is roughly level when you start.
02-12-2011, 06:48 PM
Thank you Andrew - will follow your advice and go the 2 star route. It's a bit confusing when the directions say point the scope to magnetic north and then find Polaris and point the tube at it - I didn't pick up that the tube was still level, ergo no NCP alignment, just some True North "pointing" !! Thanks heaps, you have given me some confidence to proceed (seems the older I get, the slower I get)>
03-12-2011, 09:23 AM
You shouldnt have seen "Polaris" in any Hbx menus/comments?????
Have you set your site correctly in the Hbx?
as the Hbxs normally come defaulted to Irvine in California.
Just spend some time looking at what handbox settings you have,
before going out to do a proper align.
Or if you know the sky reasonably well, you can do a dummy indoor align test and just hit enter when it wants you to centre stars.
Then do some gotos and see if it points roughly in the right directions.
03-12-2011, 03:22 PM
OK, will do and thanks again Andrew
Will report back on results - have had to put in abeyance for a while so I can sort out the 'puter.
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