Last updated: 4 January 2001

Quick "Align" with the Autostar

Sent:	From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
rhudson asked:
>do you HAVE to go through the alignment process to get the Autostar
>to turn on its RA tracking motor?

It's easy... in fact, there are two ways.

(1) Park the scope when (before) you turn it off.
    It remembers the alignment, and corrects for the new date and time.
    Park is one or two scroll-ups from the beginning of the Utilities
     menu set ("one or two" depending upon firmware version)
    The next time you turn on, it'll still ask date, time and daylight,
      but then will proceed immediately to Object

(2) When faced with Align, merely press [mode] twice.
    That'll lift you to the top level of the menus.
    Then press scroll down once, and you're at the start of the Object
     menu.  [goto] any astronomical target to start the sidereal drive.
    There are a few operations which may complain "not aligned".
    If you PARK from this condition, even those will disappear.

Mike asked: Not having an Autostar currently, I can't check this:
If you do #2 above, what geometry is used for tracking in Alt/Az since the Autostar only knows the date/time/location? Or does it assume that the HOME position was exact and the base perfectly level? If so, why even align?

Dick responds:

(1) The same geometry it uses for the initial guess at alignment stars.

(2)> Or does it assume that the HOME position was exact and the base
   > perfectly level? 

(2) Yes (i don't know if it retains SYNC offsets)

(3)> If so, why even align?

(3) (a) untruth of postulate (2)
    (b) welcome to "Park".. you don't need to align if (2) is true,
        or if you've already entered the corrections.
    (c) imagine the perfect night when the initial Easy Align slews
         are -exact-, so you just press [enter] to accept them.
          Have you "aligned"? (that's a Zen question)

(this actually took a day to realize the simplicity of the answers)
I -don't- suggest avoiding alignment altogether.

My own method of operation is:
 Align if i've moved my site,
 or if i've switched from Polar to Alt/Az,
 or if it's working poorly,
 or if i didn't Park.

I -only- use the "skip by [mode] twice" when i'm indoors, testing.

Otherwise i faithfully Park when turning off,
and then check it (by [goto]ing stuff) when i resume the next time.

--dick (also misleading and dangerous)

And another version:

Subject:	 Using the Autostar to "just track"
Sent:	Wednesday, January 3, 2001 09:48:18
From:	mike@mike-hadley.demon.co.uk (Mike Hadey)
Great site!  I noticed the question on your site written on Dec. 30th by
Richard Hudson about getting the Autostar to  start tracking in RA
without going through the alignment process.  I also want to do this
occasionally to set up accurate polar alignment and want to ensure the
dec. motor isn't running.

It turns out that when the Autostar initializes on turn-on, the
"Targets" gets automatically set to "Terrestrial" until the alignment
process is complete and then switches to "Astronomical".  All that you
need to do to start tracking without going through the alignment process

1) Turn on scope
2) On the Autostar, press "Enter" 3 times to get past the date, time,
daylight savings stuff
3) Hit "Mode" once (display changes to "Setup:Align")
4) Scroll down 5 times to get to "Setup:Targets"
5) Hit "Enter" (display shows "Current Targets:>Terrestrial")
6) Scroll down once (display shows "Current Targets:Astronomical)
7) Hit "Enter" to select "Astronomical"

The Scope will start tracking.  If the scope is set for polar alignment,
only the RA axis will track.   I also always put my scope in the
relevant Home position before I turn on the scope to avoid the stops.

Mike, thanks again for the great site.  I can't tell you how much help
it has been and how much time it has saved me.

Mike Hadley

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