Saturday, August 18, 2012

aligned Nicole's polar scope

Steve and I helped Nicole with her polar scope. Steve said the 3 screws shouldn't be loose. That's what was allowing the reticule element to move and flop about. We tightened them up.

When I set about trying to align the 'scope, I discovered something very interesting about the Celestron CG-5 mount. One cannot adjust the altitude to zero. The big bulky plastic housing around the body right ascension axis prevents one from tipping the mount all the way down. In fact, it limits the usable range of the telescope to about 30 degrees. People living near the equator would not be able to use this telescope! Goofy.

Clearly an afterthought by Celestron. No consideration for all possible scenarios. And they've made a mount that cannot be used in a large area of the planet.

I removed the front elevation bolt from Nicole's mount to improve the range of motion. Even then, trying to target a distant object on the horizon required adjusting the tripod leg heights, leaning the mount nose-down, propping it against a chair, and getting a human to stand guard to ensure it didn't fall. Ugly. Daytime polar scope alignment with this mount is not for the meek.

In short order, I had the reticule aligned fairly well. More black magic. Nicole exclaimed, "How do you do that?" Steve and I tried to explain it. Difficult, when it's a by-the-seat-of-your-pants thing. I offered to "un" align it to let her try. Nope. She was happy to let it lie.

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