Last updated: 10 May 2007
Subject:	Finding North
Sent:	Tuesday, May 8, 2007 20:05:46
From:	Eric West (
This might solve a problem, particularly for Southern Hemisphere users
using "Auto Align" in Alt/Az mode

Having recently acquired an ETX90EC, I was a bit disappointed with how
poorly it was able to find things, I had done all of the calibration,
training etc, and the scope was still all over the sky.

But then came to the conclusion that my problem was my "Home Position"
was not accurate enough. While I was somewhere near North, I was not
near enough. I am sure I am not alone in this.

Of course, being in the Southern Hemisphere (New Zealand) I did not have
Polaris to help. However, I have solved the problem quite simply.

I hopped onto "Google Earth" and found my house, (this is quite neat fun
if you have never done it before, It is also quite scary how much detail
you can see)!

(In the States, I believe, you can find your house by entering your
address in the search box).

I then rotated the compass rose so the picture was oriented exactly
"North Up" From my observing position in the back yard, which I could
see on the screen, I then ran a line straight up the screen and found a
prominent object, (a large tree in my case), which was directly North.

I went down into the garden and lined this up with my observing position
and then painted a small white mark on the back fence, which lined up
with the tree. I can see this mark in fairly low light. I then aligned
the scope North, by pointing it at the white mark. Bingo! perfect
alignment, both stars centered without searching and Saturn turned up,
centre screen, first try! My original North position was probably 10
degrees off.

I don't know how well this works if doing a "Polar Alignment" and trying
to find the South Celestial Pole, probably not accurately enough, but I
will give it a go sometime and let you know
Hope this helps someone
Eric West
Mike here: This tip could help anyone trying to locate True North, not just PE users.

Go back to the Buyer/New User Tips page.

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Copyright ©2007 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2007 by the Submitter