Last updated: 4 November 2003
Subject: My First Experience with My New ETX-105AT Telescope Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2003 12:14:20 From: email@example.com (Rodger Fry) I have had an interest in astronomy for some time but have previously only owned one telescope and that was when I was going to college 35 years ago. It was a cheap Tasco scope. My Wife bought me an ETX-105AT with the optional UHTC coatings. First off, I am very impressed with the quality of the telescope for the price. It appears to be solidly built, has excellent optics and the scopes features and portability are good. For the first week I had this, the skies were cloudy and I couldn't try it out but this gave me a good opportunity to read the instruction manual cover to cover. I now know it inside out and can navigate through the maze of menus in the Autostar with no problem. Previous to last night, I had trained the telescope drive by aligning it on a street light about 1/2 mile from my home out of my kitchen window. The training of the scope was very straight forward and I had no problem. I also used this street light to align the view finder scope. The first good weather evening was last night. Cold and clear with a new layer of 4" of snow on the ground. I was viewing in city lights with a high degree of light pollution so my objective was to test the ease to align the scope and use the GoTo feature to locate visible planets and stars. I am a retired geologist and know the importance of proper leveling and aligning of instrumentation. To insure the best alignment I used the following procedures in addition to those in the manual: 1. Before going outside, I oriented the telescope in the Alt/Azm home position and turned on the scope 2. I entered the date and time using the time to the second from my hand-held Garmin GPS. I used this time because it was the most accurate time I have at my disposal. 3. I set the location using Long/Lat coordinates from my GPS rather than those stored in the AutoStar for the city I live. 4. I took the telescope out into the park behind my home and oriented the scope as described in the manual with the tube pointing north. 5. I used a bubble level that I have affixed to the top of the telescope base just to the left of the right fork to level the telescope in the tripod. 6. I then rotated the scope through 360 degrees of rotation to insure it is level at all orientations and then moved the scope back to home position. 7. I then raised the scope declination to place Polaris in the field of view and centered it to insure it was pointed north (Polaris is one star I feel comfortable with locating on my own). 8. I then lowered the scope to the horizontal position by using a 6" torpedo level placed on the top of the scope tube. 9. At this point, I let the AutoStar go to work and do its thing using the Easy Align. It picked Vega as its first star and slewed to that star. Incredibly, it was in the inner 25% of the field of view. I centered it and it then AutoStar slewed to Altair and it too was in the center 25% of the field of view. It responded with a happy message that the scope is successfully aligned. I proceeded to view solar system objects such as Mars, Neptune, Uranus and the Moon. All were placed well within the field of view by the AutoStar. Right out of the box, my first alignment was a success! I was impressed with the easy in aligning the scope. It may sound if my additional steps were overkill but it took about 5 minutes start to finish and I feel that the precision it gave helped in a good alignment. I looked at several stars visible that night and manually slewed to some stars unknown to me and asked the AutoStar to identify which it did. I was impressed. My next objective is to go away from the city lights and look at some nebula and deep sky objects such as Andromeda. In doing this, I plan to sync the alignment to a bright star in close proximity to the object being explored and then let AutoStar find the Object. I feel that this will minimize any alignment error in the part of the sky being explored. What else can I say, I am very pleased with the easy telescope set-up and the optical clarity of the EXT-105. Thanks for your Great Website! Rodger Fry Murray, Utah
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