Using a Telescope

Aligning an Orion SkyQuest Intelliscope

Aligning the Telescope Tip:  The telescope must be aligned on two stars which must be chosen by the user.  Try to select stars which are widely spaced in the sky and preferably not directly overhead.  Polaris is also not recommended. 1. Point the telescope vertically until it reaches the stop.  Press ENTER. 2. Use the… More »

Aligning an Orion Atlas EQ-G

Note:  To select items from a list on the Atlas EQ-G hand controller, use the scroll buttons at the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys at the top. First Steps Balance the telescope.  For help with this, see the Balancing a Telescope section. Polar align the telescope mount.  Use of the… More »

Aligning a Meade RCX400

Note:  To scroll through a list on the RCX hand controller, use the Up and Down buttons on the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys in the middle of the controller. First Steps Be sure to lock the clutch knobs in each axis before beginning the alignment procedure. Aligning the Telescope… More »

Aligning a Meade LXD75

First Steps Balance the telescope.  For help with this, see the Balancing a Telescope section. Polar align the telescope mount.  Only a fairly accurate alignment should be necessary.  For help with this, see the Polar Alignment section. Lock the clutch lever on each axis before beginning the alignment. Aligning the Telescope 1.  Press 5 to… More »

Aligning a Meade LX200GPS and LX200R

Note:  To scroll through a list on the LX200 hand controller, use the Up and Down buttons on the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys in the middle of the controller. First Steps Be sure to lock the clutch knobs in each axis before beginning the alignment procedure. Aligning the Telescope… More »

Aligning a Meade LX90GPS

Note:  To scroll through a list on the LX90GPS hand controller, use the Up and Down buttons on the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys in the middle of the controller. First Steps Be sure to lock the clutch knobs in each axis before beginning the alignment procedure. Aligning the Telescope… More »

Aligning a Meade ETX Premier Edition

Note:  To scroll through a list on the ETX hand controller, use the Up and Down buttons on the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys in the middle of the controller. Aligning the Telescope 1.  Press 0 to begin automatic alignment If this is the first time using the telescope, you… More »

Aligning a Meade ETX 60, ETX 70, and ETX 80

Note:  To scroll through a list on the ETX hand controller, use the Up and Down buttons on the bottom of the hand controller rather than the arrow keys in the middle of the controller. First Steps Be sure to lock the clutches in each axis (lever on the left-right axis, knob on the up-down… More »

Aligning a Celestron NexStar SLT

Note:  To select items from a list on the NexStar SLT hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. Aligning the Telescope 1.  Press ENTER to begin the alignment 2.  Press ENTER to select SkyAlign 3.  Press UNDO to edit site information 4.  Select… More »

Aligning a Celestron NexStar SE Series

Note:  To select items from a list on the NexStar SE hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. Aligning the Telescope 1.  Press ENTER to begin the alignment 2.  Press ENTER to select SkyAlign 3.  Press UNDO to edit site information 4.  Select… More »

Aligning a Celestron NexStar GPS

Note:  To select items from a list on the NexStar GPS hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. First Steps The telescope tube must be pointed below horizontal before beginning the alignment procedure.  Be sure to lock the clutch lever in each axis… More »

Aligning a Celestron CPC

Note:  To select items from a list on the CPC hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. First Steps The telescope can be in any orientation to start the alignment.  Be sure to lock the clutch knob in each axis before beginning. Aligning… More »

Aligning a Celestron CGE

Note:  To select items from a list on the CGE hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. First Steps Balance the telescope.  For help with this, see the Balancing a Telescope section. Polar align the telescope mount.  Use of the optional polar axis… More »

Aligning a Celestron Advanced Series GT

Note:  To select items from a list on the Advanced Series GT hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. First Steps Balance the telescope.  For help with this, see the Balancing a Telescope section. Polar align the telescope mount.  Only a fairly accurate… More »

Collimating a Schmidt-Cassegrain

Collimation is critical to obtaining the best performance from your telescope.  Aligning the optics of a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT) is much easier than collimating a Newtonian telescope and can easily be learned by any user.  However, there are some tricks to doing it right, and some things to avoid.  If done right, collimation should only… More »

Collimating a Newtonian

Collimation is critical to obtaining the best performance from your telescope.  There is a bit of an art to collimating a Newtonian.  Once you have done it a few times, it will start to become second nature.  Unless you have a truss-tube telescope which must be assembled each time it is used, collimation should be… More »

Cleaning Telescope Optics

Cleaning telescope optics can be important but there are some cautions that must be observed: Only clean optics if absolutely necessary.  Do not clean optics more often than needed. Be very careful not to scratch the optics.  Dusty glass is better than scratched glass. Use only the recommended materials for cleaning.  Using other cleaning supplies… More »

Star Testing Telescope Optics

Star testing a telescope can be a great way to determine if any errors are present in the optical system and what those errors are.  The star test is very critical and can show even slight aberrations.  It does require a sharp eye and some experience to really get the most out of it.  This… More »

Balancing a German Equatorial Mount

Unlike a fork-mounted telescope, a German equatorial mount must be balanced every time it is set up, whether for visual use or photography.  Once you have balanced the telescope a few times, this will become second nature.  Proper balance causes less wear on drive motors and allows the telescope to track more accurately.  In our… More »

Balancing a Fork-Mounted Telescope

For many applications, a fork-mounted telescope will be sufficiently balanced as it comes from the factory.  However, precise balance becomes critically important when taking astrophotos or when using heavy accessories such as 2″ eyepieces.  Proper balance causes less wear on drive motors and allows the telescope to track more accurately.  In our experience, most tracking… More »

Polar Alignment

If your telescope uses an equatorial mount, you will have to align the mount with the north star, Polaris, in order for the telescope to track properly.  For basic visual observing, polar alignment is not particularly critical and is easy to do.  For more precise alignment, such as when using a computerized telescope, there are… More »

The Basics of Using a Telescope

Getting started stargazing is easy, but there are some helpful hints to know in order to make using your telescope easier.  The other pages of theUsing a Telescope section give specifics on polar alignment, balancing, and aligning a computerized telescope, as well as more advanced techniques such as collimating and cleaning optics.  Below you will… More »