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LX600 StarLock Autoguider Tests

Posted: 8 November 2018

Open: Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 1754 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 1300
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece

iPhone 8 Plus

As I was pretty well wiped out from my daytime activities, I decided this would be a short session. I wanted to test the StarLock autoguider to ensure there was no issue with the StarLock. On recent previous sessions there have been autoguiding difficulties that could be attributed to either poor seeing or a problem with the StarLock guidescope. I hoped to rule out the guidescope as the culprit.

1800 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Saturn and its moon Titan, 102X. Then viewed Mars, 102X. The Martian South Polar Ice Cap and the large dark area Syrtis Major were visible.

1808 MST: High Precision ON.

Slewed to M13 (the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules). It was faintly visible against the still bright twilight sky, 102X.

1830 MST: StarLock ON.

1840 MST: StarLock OFF. Autoguiding was good during this 10 minute test. So the seeing conditions were good and the StarLock autoguiding performed well.

Slewed to M74 (galaxy). 1845 MST: StarLock ON. The StarLock would not lock on to any guide star.

Slewed to M33 (Triangulum Galaxy). Autoguiding was good, as seen in the photo of the AutoStar II StarLock Guide screen:


Values =<2.0 are indications of good autoguiding. Values of >2.0 would indicate not so good autoguiding. Positive or negative values don't matter as long as the numbers are between +2.0 and -2.0 for both Right Ascension (left number) and Declination (right number).

Slewed back to M74 (galaxy). The StarLock began searching for a guide star:


The StarLock eventually found a guide star and locked on to it. However, autoguiding began deteriorating very quickly:


1905 MST: StarLock OFF.

The good StarLock autoguiding with M13 and M33 indicate that there is no problem with the StarLock autoguider (whew). Apparently the star field near M74 does not have any stars that the StarLock can effectively use. I will keep trying to image M74 (for my Extragalactic Supernova Project); perhaps once it is near the Zenith I'll get sufficiently good autoguiding.

1910 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 1917 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session Length: 1h 23m
Conditions: Clear

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