Monday, 9 April 2007

Testing Meade AutoStar #497

Last weekend I finally used the AutoStar 497 Computer Control System from meade.

I connected the controller to my telescope a Meade DS-114mm (4.5" reflecting telescope) with dual motor control system.
The First Time I connected the Autostar I had to set it up :
Daylight Saving (yes/no)
Telescope Site - Buenos Aires Argentina
Telescope Model : DS-114
Then I selected the Easy Align procedure. So I had to set the telescope in "home" position, tube level at 0 degress and pointed north (I used a compass) and pushed "Enter".
After that the Autostar selected the brightest start, Sirius and moved automatically, it stopped moving and I had to correct the positioning using the key numbers to select the speed and the arrows to move the tube, after a few movements I centered Sirius and pressed "Enter". Then the autostar started moving to Canopus. Like Sirius I had to correct the positioning with a few movements. After that the telescope was aligned in less than 5 minutes.
I selected the "Guided Tour" -> "Tonight's Best" and then the telescope started moving to Saturn. The planet was well centered but I couldn't see it in the eyepiece, I could see it in the viewfinder. So I pressed Enter for two seconds and then corrected the alignement using the arrows keys and pressed Enter again. Then the planet was perfectly centered. And thanks to the auto tracking feature I didn't need to care about keeping the planet centered. The autostar did the job for me. I waited more than 5 minutes and the planet was still correctly centered. Then I selected to watch the Moon. And this time it was automatically centered by Autostar. After enyoing the view with different eyepieces the clouds covered the sky. So I had to abandon skywatching.
The next day during the sunlight I trained the Motors using the "Setup->Train Drive" option using a distant land object. And at night the Alignment was perfect, the only issue I had was that this time the Autostar selected other less bright stars and some of them I didn't know exactly where they were. For example Spika, Regulus, Bellatrix, so I had to press the down button sometimes until a star familiar to me was selected. In another session I decided to use the Two -Star align method, in this option I was able to choose the stars.
The autostar is an excellent accessory for the telescope it has a huge database more than 30000 objects. Including planets, messier object, nebulaes, meteors, satellites. The alignment procedure is easy and the auto tracking feature is awesome.

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