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Alignment Procedure

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Step-by-Step Alignment Procedure 

  1. Level the base of the telescope mount or tripod using a leveling device.

  2. Disable any multi-star approximate alignment controls and connect the telescope mount to the computer. Start the Alignmaster software program and observe its computer display:

    IMG 1

  3. Enter the geographical location of the telescope/mount site very accurately either by manual entry or by using a connected Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. The GPS data can also be entered manually from an external GPS unit.

  4. Make sure the Local Mean Sidereal Time (LMST) on the program display is correct by comparing its LMST with:
    http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/sidereal.html or
    http://www.jgiesen.de/astro/astroJS/siderealClock/

  5. Sequence through the alignment steps by following the instructions given in the program. Click the box labeled "Next" to increment to the next alignment step. Click the box labeled "Back" to return to the previous alignment step.

  6. Select a pair of stars from among three groups of star pairs which are labeled as "good", "better" or "best" choices for the telescope alignment process:

    img 2

    The selection of a star pair should consider and satisfy any local user recognition and visibility criteria. Selection is accomplished by clicking on and highlighting the selected row.

    1. The Alignmaster program calculates the Right Ascension and Declination position of the first selected star, given user location and time, and directs an auto-slew of the Goto mount to the indicated AZ and ALT angles.

    2. Because of telescope misalignment error the selected first star's visible image is not centered in the telescope ocular. Use the handbox of the Goto mount to center the first star in the ocular cross-hairs. Upon proceeding to the Next step, the program stores the updated position of the Goto mount for the first star.

  7. Repeat the above two-step procedure on the selected second star to center it in the ocular cross-hairs.

  8. The program then calculates and displays the telescope's polar axis misalignment errors in AZ and ALT and asks if telescope/mount adjustment of the AZ or ALT axis, or both axes, is desired.

    A "Yes" answer to either question enables a programmed auto-slew of the telescope/mount, first in AZ and then in ALT, to the program-calculated position of the second star at the current LMST time. (This auto-slew to the second star will off-center its image in the ocular a small amount because manual slewing to remove final misalignment errors is not selected).

  9. Manually turn the AZ and ALT alignment screws on the Goto mount, in succession, to move the ocular image of the second star, such that it becomes centered in the ocular cross-hairs, first in Azimuth and then in Altitude.

  10. The telescope/mount axis should now be well aligned to the polar axis. This completes the alignment procedure. A second round of alignments may be done to verify the first alignment results or improve upon their adjustments.

 

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