Last updated: 24 January 2001

Autostar High Precision Usage

Subject:	 High Precision Requires Knowledge of Star Names/Locations
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Just a note to let you know of something forthcoming within the week
that I will make available to all your site users.

I mentioned I spent the past three days high in the Ozarks observing
under near-perfect skies, free of moonlight.  Since running into many
minor (some major) slewing errors and tracking problems with my ETX 125
I have, as you know, resorted to operating in the POLAR mode of my
mounting.  To do this has required adding the #887 tripod and heavy
wedge to offset the center of gravity of the scope in this position.

In addition, I have gone nearly entirely to HIGH PRECISION during
observing sessions, as I find that - not only is my GO TO far more
accurate - the tracking ability of the scope and the amount of random
"creep" is reduced substantially. This was particularly true during the
past three nights.

HOWEVER, any observer with an ETX EC who uses "high precision" (Dick
Seymour recommended it to me) absolutely MUST be acquainted with the
sky.  Having spent better than 30 years of my life observing the sky
both for enjoyment and a paycheck, the sky is very familiar to me. 
Nonetheless, it is easy to be confused by the many similar-sounding STAR
NAMES out there.

High Precision requires the observer to know more than just the 20
brightest stars by NAME!  It slews to a bright star near the object you
want to observe, tells you the NAME of that star and asks you to center
it.  WHAT IF there are several bright stars in the field (i.e., the
Pleiades.....Orion.....Sagittarius....)??  Even the most seasoned
professional can confuse them!  I caught myself looking at my handy
Peterson's Field Guide more than once.  It was quite a hassle in the
dark, not knowing exactly WHERE in the book to look for a star NAME!

So....I am in the process of making available several black and white
high quality star charts that will cover the entire sky.  Every season
will be covered. So what's new about these charts from what you already
have?  Instead of a bunch of objects, RA and DECs listed, I am providing
the NAMES of all bright stars to which the Meade Autostar will reference
when using "High Precision."

That way, an observer will know which star is "Alpheratz."  ("Oh
yeah....it is the one on the "corner" of the great square, closest to
the Andromeda Galaxy!")

Anyway, this series of charts is bound to help and observers can look
forward to these charts very, very soon.  Other telescope types (besides
ETX EC's) that are computerized "GO TO" telescopes can also functionally
use these charts.

Now anybody can use the advantages of High Precision GO TO.  The quick
reference as to slewing star can be quickly checked and verified upon
centering.  The High Precision allows so much more accuracy that make a
night of observing absolutely pleasurable.

It seems like a very good idea, to have these laminated and put into a
small notebook (they will be 8.5 x 11 inches for hole-punching) and
accompanying the telescope on ALL outings!  The charts will be provided
in JPG format so that the Weasner ETX site users can merely download or

Just thought I would let you and your faithful know!
Clay Sherrod, Conway, Arkansas

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