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Old 08-08-2019, 12:34 PM
Dober (Steve)
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Help with Alignment of EQ3 mount and setting circles

Hi All,

I'm just starting out with this hobby and this is my first post but have read a few from other members mainly on equipment to start me off.

I thought I would see if someone can point me in the right direction with videos (or PDF's) on polar alignment southern hemisphere and some plain English vids on using setting circles. I have found a couple but happy to see if there are better out there and I assume it's a bit hard to explain here.

I intend to check in with local clubs in and around the Sunshine Coast ASAP but wanted to get a head start on the process mainly to lessen the frustration for someone trying to explain in person. Instructions with the scope were a little lacking, or maybe just me.

I have a basic grasp on set up and with how the mount works but finer points of pin pointing the south celestial pole and the setting circles would be handy.

Having some success and enjoying the sights with my 8" DOB but picked up a refractor for my wife which is on the EQ3 so she can look around on that. Can't have her feeling left out while I'm on the DOB.

Thanks in advance for any assistance offered.

Steve
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:12 PM
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xelasnave
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Welcome Steve.
Polar alignment is easy just point the polar axis of your scope er mount directly at the CSP and you are there

If you are doing visual point up at an angle that is the same as your latitude and point South according to a compass taking into account the magnetic deviation.

If you want a challenge look up drift aligning...it will get you thinking..but it is really simple..just imagine you are pointing a builder's square at the pole and what the
stars will do in relation to where the other end of the square points if you are not pointing the other end at the pole..in fact try it with one in your hand as that helps build your intuition on these things.. .anyways I mainly wanted to welcome you as I can't really help much as to the best way to find the CSP..I use a DSLR camera mounted to point in the same place as the polar axis and take long exposures so you can see where in the sky they all rotate around..you could use a DSLR on a tripod to get an idea where it is...I adjust the mount to get the centre of the star circles in the centre of my picture...but look on YouTube if there is nothing there let me know and I will make one but as with most things there you be spoilt for choice.
And best you know a bit about it before talking to most folk as in an effort to explain how simple it is things come out sounding very complex..it's not. Good luck and let us know how you go and the method you find the most useful..as there are no doubt others with a similar question on their mind so your shared experience is bound to help many people.
Good luck.
Alex
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:31 PM
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The Mekon (John Briggs)
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I find that basic polar alignment is best done by sight. I suggest you become familiar with the asterism around sigma Octans, and learn to recognise it in binoculars. With the mount roughly pointing south, stand behind it and sight this asterism with the binoculars. This will give you an idea as to which way the mount needs to move to align in azimuth. Shift by lifting the whole tripod or just use the adjusters. If you have already set the altitude by the scale, you may find that the south pole asterism is already in the polar scope (if fitted). Then make adjustments to zero in the alignment. Remember - accurate alignment is not necessary to enjoy good viewing and hold objects in the scope using the RA axis only!

As for the setting circles, if the mount is aligned with the SCP, the Dec circles will be accurate and ready to use. Just set the circle to the Dec of the object. To use the RA circle, first set the scope on a well known bright star. Take Canopus as an example. Once the mount is polar aligned and Canopus in the field of view, the Dec circle (which should be fixed on the EQ3) should read close to 52.7 degrees. The RA circle can read anything as it can slide around the axis and be locked. So to use the RA circle set this on the RA of Canopus - 6h 24m and lock it at this. Your mount is then set for the night. You can by knowing the RA and Dec of any object, be fairly sure of having it in the finder scope field.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:36 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Been into astronomy for 45 years since 14, never used setting circles,
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:43 PM
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The Mekon (John Briggs)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukastronomer View Post
Been into astronomy for 45 years since 14, never used setting circles,
Not very helpful Jeremy. I have been into astronomy just a little longer than you (53 years) and have passed my knowledge on.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:33 PM
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Symon (Simon)
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Location: Corinella Australia
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Hi Dober whilst i cant help with setting circles i can share what has helped me with polar alignment, i was a person that really struggled with polar alignment, then i downloaded sharpcap pro and couldn't imagine now not having it, for me it has been a Godsend i like most people am time poor, i have two little kids that are neuro diverse and require a fair bit of attention so i can't be fluffing around . i believe there is an early free version 2.9 that has pretty much the same polar align routine i purchased the pro as i use some of the other features too
Regards
Simon
Sorry about punctuation
And also i am not trying to dismiss any of the great advice already given these guys have probably forgotten more than i will ever know i am just sharing what works for me

Last edited by Symon; 08-08-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:31 PM
Dober (Steve)
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All good gents,

Thanks very much for your input.

Plenty to work with there, I have a few days off now so will be playing with both scopes over the next couple of nights.

My Dob is a go-to so still getting my head around that system, getting there slowly but enjoying all the same. Finding some good sights without it too.

Vision from the Dob did not have the clarity I thought it should so made up measuring tools to check the alignment of the axis of mirrors and focuser, tool seemed indicate focuser needed a tweak, small adjustment and it was better. Plenty to learn that's for sure and from some of the comments provided in this post and others there appears to be a lot of hard gained knowledge out there given the years some of you have put in.

Thanks again, I'll let you know how I fair, I know I will get there just a matter of getting a kick start.

Steve.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:50 PM
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Be sure to come back with your experiences as posting those may help others at a similar lar stage to you.
Alex
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