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Fig. 3: Tripod leg lock knob.
Fig. 4: Accessory shelf installation.
4. Adjust the tripod legs. Spread the tripod legs as far as they will open, so that the leg braces (28, Fig. 2c) are taut. Should one of the leg braces slip out of the center triangle fastener, reposition the brace and slide it back into the triangle fastener.
5. Attach the accessory shelf to the tripod: Remove the mounting knob from the round accessory shelf (6, Fig. 1). Place the accessory shelf on top of the center triangle leg brace fastener so that the threaded stud protruding from the bottom of the shelf (Fig. 4) passes through the hole in the center of the triangle fastener. Next, thread the mounting knob shaft into the threaded stud. Tighten to a firm feel. 6. Attach the counterweight to the counterweight shaft: Look through the hole in the counterweight and note the pin blocking the hole (Fig. 5). Tilt the counterweight slightly and the pin moves out of position, clearing the hole. If the pin does not move, slightly unscrew the counterweight lock knob (Fig. 5) until the pin moves. Holding the counterweight (8, Fig. 1) firmly in one hand, tilt the counterweight to move the pin from the hole and slip the counterweight onto the counterweight shaft (9, Fig. 1). Tighten the counterweight lock knob (Fig. 5) to a firm feel. 7. Attach the counterweight assembly to the mount: Attach the counterweight shaft assembly by supporting the counterweight firmly in one hand, while threading the counterweight shaft into the base (Fig. 6) of the Declination axis of the telescopes equatorial mount with the other. Once firmly attached, loosen the counterweight lock knob, slide the counterweight to the midpoint of the counterweight shaft, and re-tighten the lock knob firmly in place (Fig. 5). NOTE: If the counterweight ever slips, the secured threaded safety washer/knob (12, Fig. 2a) prevents the counterweight from sliding entirely off the shaft. The safety washer/knob is pre-attached at the factory. Make sure that this safety washer/knob always remains in place.
Fig. 5: Counterweight and pin.
Thread shaft into base
Fig. 6: Attach counterweight assembly to the mount.
8. Tilt the assembly: Unlock the R.A. lock (26, Fig. 2b) and the Dec lock (27, Fig. 2b) so that the telescope turns freely on both axes. Tilting these axes makes it easier for you to perform the following steps. Turn the latitude adjustment knob (16, Fig. 2a) until approximately 1 1/2 inches of thread is showing. This will adjust the equatorial mount (1, Fig. 2a) to a comfortable angle for tube attachment. 9. Attach the cradle rings to the saddle plate: Remove the attachment screws from the saddle plate (these screws come attached in the threaded screw holes of the saddle plate, 1, Fig. 7). Position the threaded screw hole of a cradle ring (4, Fig. 7) under one of the threaded screw holes of the saddle plate (1, Fig. 7). Thread one of the attachment screws (5, Fig. 7) through the bottom side of the cradle ring and through the saddle plate, tightening it with the provided 5mm hex wrench (so that it is only "fingertight," that is, just loose). Repeat for the second cradle ring. Remove the cradle ring lock knobs (20, Fig. 2b) and open the cradle rings. 10. Position optical tube: While firmly holding the optical tube (2, Fig. 2a), position it onto the cradle rings (3, Fig. 2a) with the mid-point of the optical tubes length lying roughly in the center of the saddle plate. Point the tube so that the front end (this end comes shipped with the dust cover (8, Fig. 2a) over it) is oriented as depicted in Fig. 2a. Then close the cradle rings (3, Fig. 2a) over the optical tube and loosely tighten one of the cradle ring lock knobs (20, Fig. 2b) just to hold the tube in place so you can perform the next step of this procedure. 11. Secure the optical tube: Tighten the cradle ring attachment hex screws to a firm feel. Then tighten both cradle ring lock knobs (20, Fig. 2b) to a firm feel; do not overtighten these knobs as you may wish loosen them frequently in order to rotate the optical tube and position the eyepiece (19, Fig. 2b) in a more comfortable observing position. This adjustment may be performed several times in one observing session, if so desired. 12. Attach viewfinder: The viewfinder holder has two restrained screws, i.e., they cannot be removed from the holder. Position the two screws over the threaded holes in the viewfinder mounting plate and tighten the screws using a #1 or #2 Phillips screwdriver. It does not matter which way you orient the holder lengthwise. Loosen the viewfinder's thumbscrews (7, Fig. 2a), but do not remove them. Remove the viewfinder tube's rubber eyecup (5, Fig. 2a) and slide the tube (6, Fig. 2a) through the bracket rings of the holder. Then center the tube by adjusting the thumbscrews (7, Fig. 2a) on each bracket ring. Re-attach the eyecup. Make sure that the viewfinder is oriented so that the rubber eyecup is pointing away from front end of the optical tube (5, Fig. 2a). 13. Insert the eyepiece: Lift to remove the dust cap from the focuser assembly (17, Fig. 2b). Put the dust cap aside in a safe place and replace it when you have finished observing to protect the eyepiece assembly. Loosen the eyepiece thumbscrews (18, Fig. 2b) and insert the H 25mm eyepiece (Fig. 8) into the focuser. Tighten the focuser thumbscrews to secure the eyepiece. 14. Adjust the height of the tripod: Adjust the height of the tripod by loosening the tripod lock knobs (29, Fig. 2c) and extending the sliding inner section of each tripod leg to the desired length; then tighten each knob. Adjust the tripod to a height that is comfortable for viewing.
Fig. 11: Motor drive system assembly. Key to Figure 11 1. R.A. Worm Shaft 2. (R.A. Axis) Plastic Adapter 3. Aluminum Shaft 4. Set Screw 5. Circular Housing containing notched plastic shaft 6. Battery Pack Connector 7. LED 8. R.A. Motor Drive 9. Handbox (HBX) Port 10. Dec Motor Drive 11. R.A. Lock 12. Dec Worm Shaft 13. Set Screws
Observe the World Around You
Practice observing during the day, when it is easier to become familiar with the controls of your telescope. 1. Loosen the telescopes R.A. lock (26, Fig. 2b) and Dec lock (27, Fig. 2b). 2. Move your telescope to observe distant street signs, mountains, trees, and other structures. Use your viewfinder to to help site-in an object. 3. When the object is centered in the viewfinders crosshairs, remember to re-tighten the R.A. and Dec locks. 4. Center the object in your eyepiece. Practice focusing with your eyepieces. 5. Once you get a feel for how your telescope moves and focuses, try to view something more challenging, like a bird or a distant moving train.
LESSON 5: Observing Using Starfinder's Arrow Keys
Before you can observe using Starfinder's Arrow keys, the motor drive assemblies and the Starfinder handbox must be attached to the telescope.
Motor Drive System and Starfinder Handbox Installation
To attach the Electronic Motor Drive System to the telescope, follow this procedure: 1. Locate the plastic adapter (2, Fig. 11) on the R.A. axis (1, Fig. 11). Note the aluminum shaft (3, Fig. 12a) inside the adapter and the four small protrusions (2, Fig. 12a) on the adapter's circular edge.
2. Locate the components of the R.A. motor drive (8, Fig. 11). Note the notched plastic shaft (6, Fig. 12b) inside the circular housing on the side of the motor drive. Also note the four small recesses (5, Fig. 12b) inside this housing. NOTE: The R.A. motor drive has a connector for the battery pack that is marked "15v." 3. Attach the R.A. motor drive to the R.A. axis: Align and slide the notch (6, Fig. 12b) of the plastic shaft of the R.A. motor drive over the aluminum shaft (3, Fig. 12a) inside the plastic adapter on the R.A. axis. Orient the R.A. motor drive box as depicted in 8, Fig. 11. 4. Rotate the R.A. motor drive until you feel the four protrusions (2, Fig. 12a) on the plastic adapter slide into the four matching recesses (5, Fig. 12b) inside the motor drive. 5. Tighten the set screws: Tighten the two set screws (4, Fig. 11) to a firm feel only with the supplied 1.5mm hex key. The set screws come attached to the motor drive. 6. Repeat the process to attach the Dec electronic motor drive to the Dec axis (10, Fig. 11). Orient the Dec motor drive box as depicted in 10, Fig. 11. 7. Attach Starfinder: Plug Starfinders coiled cord into the connector (9, Fig. 11) on the Dec motor box. 8. Install batteries: Install ten (user-supplied) AA-size batteries into the separate battery pack and plug the battery pack into the connector (16, Fig. 1) on the R.A. motor box (6, Fig. 11). The battery pack case has a strip of adhesive attached to it. Remove the protective covering from the adhesive and attach the case to the tripod, if so desired. The Electronic Motor Drive System is now ready for operation.
Fig. 12a: Plastic adapter assembly. 1. Plastic adapter 2. Protrusions 3. Aluminum shaft
Fig. 12b: Motor drive assembly. 4. Motor drive 5. Recesses 6. Notched shaft
Activate the Arrow Keys
NOTE: Press and hold the Up Arrow key to speed up the scroll speed of the display or press and hold the Down Arrow key to slow down the scroll speed. When the display is scrolling at a speed that is comfortable for reading, release the key. This procedure describes how to activate Starfinder's Arrow keys: 1. After Starfinder's cord is plugged in and the batteries are installed, a copyright message lights on the Starfinder LCD display (1, Fig. 13). 2. A message warning not to look at the Sun scrolls across the display. Press the key prompted by Starfinder to acknowledge that the Sun warning has been read and understood. 3. Press the ENTER (2, Fig. 13) key repeatedly until "Country/State" appears on the display. (Ignore the prompts requesting Date and Time these functions will be explained in Lesson 7, but are not necessary for the current lesson.)
Fig. 13: The Starfinder handbox.
4. Use the Scroll keys (6 and 7, Fig. 13) to cycle through the database of countries, states, and provinces. Press ENTER when the correct location displays. NOTE: Starfinder only prompts you to enter Country (or State) and City as described in steps 3, 4, and 5, the first time it is activated. These prompts do not appear again, unless you reset Starfinder (see "RESET," page 32). However, if you need to enter this information (e.g., you change your geographic location), you need not perform a Reset, which erases user entered data, such as Landmarks and User Objects. You can change the location information by using the Site option of the Setup menu. See "SITE," page 32, for detailed information. 5. Starfinder then prompts you to enter the nearest city (listed alphabetically) to the observing site. Use the Scroll keys to cycle through the database of cities. Press ENTER when the correct city appears on screen. The display then reads "Align: One Star." You now can use Starfinder's Arrow keys to move the telescope to observe. NOTE: If you go past the "Align: One Star" (or any other menu display you wish to select), press MODE to return to the previous display(s). 6. Press the Arrow keys (5, Fig. 13) to slew (move) the telescope up, down, right, or left. You can slew (move) the telescope at different speeds.
Starfinder has seven slew (move) speeds. Each speed has been calculated to accomplish specific functions. Pressing the Speed/? key (8, Fig. 13) briefly changes the slew speed, which is shown briefly on Starfinders display as the key is pressed. Each press decreases the slew speed down one level and then cycles back to the fastest speed. NOTE: Pressing the Speed/? key briefly changes the slew speed. Holding down the Speed/? key longer (one to two seconds) accesses the Help function. The seven available speeds are: Speed 1 Max = 240 x sidereal (60 arc-min/sec or 1/sec) Speed 2 Speed 3 Speed 4 Speed 5 Speed 6 Speed 7 0.5 = 64X = 32X = 16X = 8X = 2X = 120 x sidereal (30 arc-min/sec or 0.5/sec) 64 x sidereal (16 arc-min/sec or 0.27/sec) 32 x sidereal (8 arc-min/sec or 0.13/sec) 16 x sidereal (4 arc-min/sec or 0.067/sec) 8 x sidereal (2 arc-min/sec or 0.033/sec) 2 x sidereal (0.5 arc-min/sec or 0.008/sec)
Fig. 14: Latitude dial.
Fig. 15: Dec setting circle.
Observe a Star using the Automatic Tracking Feature
In this example, Starfinder's Arrow keys are used to find a star, and then Starfinder's tracking capability automatically keeps the star centered in your telescope's eyepiece. 1. If you have just completed Lesson 5, Starfinder's display now reads "Align: One Star." Go to Step 2. If you have not used Starfinder yet or have just plugged it into the HBX port, perform the procedure described in "ACTIVATE THE ARROW KEYS," page 14. Then go to Step 2 of this procedure. If you have been using Starfinder to perform other functions and the display does not read "Align: One Star," follow these steps: a. Press MODE (3, Fig. 13) repeatedly until "Select Item: Object" displays. b. Press the Scroll Up key (6, Fig. 13) once. "Select Item: Setup" displays. c. Press ENTER (2, Fig. 13). "Setup: Align" displays. Go to Step 3. 2. Press MODE (3, Fig. 13). "Setup: Align" displays. 3. Press the Scroll Down key repeatedly until "Setup: Targets" displays. Press ENTER (2, Fig. 13). 4. "Targets: Terrestrial" displays. Press one of the Scroll keys once (6 or 7, Fig. 13). "Targets: Astronomical" now displays. 5. If you have not already done so, Polar align your telescope as described on page 15. 6. Use the Arrow keys (5, Fig. 13) to locate a bright star in the night sky. Use the viewfinder to help line up on the star. You may choose any unobstructed, bright star for the purposes of this example. Use Starfinder's Arrow keys to center the star in the eyepiece. Once the star is centered, press ENTER to select "Astronomical." The telescope's tracking motors then engage. It may take the tracking motors several seconds to begin tracking. When they do, it may be necessary to once again center the star in the eyepiece. The tracking motors will then keep the star you have chosen in the center of the eyepiece. 7. Press and hold the ENTER key for a few seconds and then release to stop tracking. You may repeat the procedure, if so desired, to locate another star or object using the Arrow keys. Then press ENTER to re-engage the tracking motors.
It is possible for the 4504 telescope to move in such a way that the telescope tube might interfere with the mount while slewing. Starfinder has a feature called "Check Mount" to alert you of this possibility. If "Check Mount" displays, inspect the assembly to see if it's moving in such a way that the mount, tube, levers, motors, etc., might catch on or collide with each other. Also inspect the cable to see if it might become tangled. If any of these possibilities seem likely to occur, press MODE to abort the current operation of the telescope. If they do not seem likely, press GO TO to continue with the current operation. Press any key during slewing to stop the telescope. If "Check Mount" displays during alignment, and interference seems likely, press MODE. Select another alignment star by pressing one of the Scroll keys to select the next alignment star in the database. Repeat this procedure as necessary to align the telescope. To abort the alignment procedure, press and hold MODE for about two seconds.
Which Ones the Alignment Star?
If Starfinder has chosen an alignment star that you are unfamiliar with, how can you be sure if the star in your eyepiece is really the alignment star? The rule of thumb is that an alignment star is usually the brightest star in that area of the sky. When you view an alignment star in an eyepiece, it will standout dramatically from the rest of the stars in that portion of the sky. If you have an obstruction, such as a tree or a building blocking your view of the alignment star, or if you have any doubts at all about the star that has been chosen, no problem. Just press the Scroll Down key and Starfinder will find another star to align upon.
Go To Saturn
After performing the Train the Drive and the One-Star alignment procedures, the motor drive begins operating and the telescope is aligned for a night of viewing. Objects in the eyepiece should maintain their position even though the Earth is rotating beneath the stars. IMPORTANT NOTE: Once aligned, only use the Starfinder menus or Arrow keys to move the telescope. Do not loosen the telescope locks, or move the base manually, or alignment will be lost. This exercise demonstrates how to select an object for viewing from Starfinders database, i.e., Saturn. Note that Saturn is not visible all year long and it may be necessary for you to choose another object from Starfinder's database. However, the procedure is identical to the one used for observing Saturn. 1. After the telescope is aligned, Select Item: Object displays. Press ENTER. If Select Item: Object is not currently displayed, press MODE repeatedly until it displays, then press ENTER. 2. Object: Solar System displays. Press ENTER. 3. Solar System: Mercury displays. Use the Scroll Down key until Solar System: Saturn displays. 4. Press ENTER. Calculating displays. Then Saturn and a set of coordinates displays. Saturns (and other planets) coordinates change throughout the year. 5. Press GO TO. Saturn: Slewing. displays and the telescope slews until it finds Saturn. You may need to use the Arrow keys to center Saturn precisely in the eyepiece. Starfinder then automatically slews (moves) the telescope so that it tracks Saturn (or whatever other object you may have chosen). Saturn remains centered in the eyepiece.
1. When a desired object is visible in the eyepiece, press MODE until the "Select Item: Object" menu is displayed. 2. Scroll through the Object menu options until "Object: Identify" displays. 3. Press ENTER to search the database for the identity of the object being observed. 4. If the telescope is not directly on a Starfinder database object, the nearest database object is located and displayed on the screen. Press GO TO and the telescope slews to that object.
The Event menu provides access to dates and times of astronomical events. The Event database includes: Sunrise and Sunset calculates the time that the Sun rises or sets on the current date. Find rise and set times for other dates (e.g., a date three months in the past or future) by entering the new date into the "Setup: Date" menu. Moonrise and Moonset calculates the time that the Moon rises or sets on the current date. Find rise and set times for other dates by entering a new date into the "Setup: Date" menu. Moon Phases displays the date and time of the next Full, New, 1st Quarter, and 3rd Quarter Moon. Meteor Showers provides information on upcoming meteor showers (e.g., the Perseids, the Leonids, etc.), the dates of the showers, and when they reach maximum. NOTE: Meteors are fast moving objects that cover large areas of the sky and are usually best observed with the naked eye. NEVER point the telescope directly at or near the Sun at any time! Observing the Sun or an eclipse of the Sun, even for the smallest fraction of a second, will result in instant and irreversible eye damage, as well as physical damage to the telescope itself. Solar Eclipse lists upcoming Solar Eclipses, including the date and type (total, annular, or partial) of eclipse, and the location and time of the first and last contacts of the Moon's shadow. Use the Scroll Up and Down keys to display the available data. Lunar Eclipse lists upcoming Lunar Eclipses, including the date and type (total, partial, penumbral) of eclipse. Use the Scroll Up and Down keys to display the available data. Min. (Minimum) of Algol is the minimum brightness of the dramatic eclipsing binary star system, Algol. It is relatively close at a distance of 100 light years. Every 2.8 days during a 10-hour period, Algol undergoes a major change in apparent magnitude as one of the two stars passes behind the other. The combined magnitude of the two stars thus dips from +2.1 to a minimum of +3.4 halfway through the eclipse as the second star is hidden. Starfinder calculates minimum magnitude time at mid-eclipse. Autumn and Vernal Equinox calculates the time and date of the fall or spring equinox of the current year. Winter and Summer Solstice calculates the time and date of the winter or summer solstice of the current year.
The Glossary menu provides an alphabetical listing of definitions and descriptions for common astronomical terms and Starfinder functions. Access directly through the Glossary menu or through hypertext words embedded in Starfinder. A hypertext word is any word in [brackets], usually found when in the Starfinder Help function or in a scrolling message such as a description of a planet or star. Press ENTER whenever a hypertext word is displayed and Starfinder links directly to the glossary entry for that word.
To access a hypertext word directly from the Glossary menu, use the Scroll keys to scroll through the alphabet. Press ENTER on the desired letter. Scroll to the desired entry, then press ENTER to read the description.
The Utilities menu provides access to several extra features within Starfinder, including a countdown timer and an alarm. The Utilities functions include: Timer selects a countdown timer. This feature is useful for functions such as astrophotography. To use the Timer, press ENTER, then choose "Set" or "Start/Stop." Set: Enter the time to be counted down (in hours, minutes, and seconds), then press ENTER. Start/Stop: Activates the timer set previously. Use the Scroll keys to toggle between ON and OFF. When ON is displayed, press ENTER to activate the timer. When the timer runs out, four beeps sound and the timer is deactivated.
Alarm selects a time for an alarm signal as a reminder. To use the Alarm, press ENTER, then choose "Set" or "Start/Stop." Set: Enter the time of day for the alarm to sound (in hours, minutes, and seconds), then press ENTER. Start/Stop: Activates the alarm set previously. Use the Scroll keys to toggle between ON and OFF. When ON is displayed, press ENTER to activate the alarm. When the alarm time arrives, Starfinder beeps. Press ENTER to deactivate the alarm.
Eyepiece Calc calculates information about an eyepiece for the specific telescope to which Starfinder is connected: Field of View: Scroll through a list of available eyepieces. When an eyepiece is selected, the field of view is calculated. Magnification: Scroll through a list of available eyepieces. When an eyepiece is selected, the magnification is calculated. Suggest: Starfinder calculates and suggests the best eyepiece for viewing, based on the telescope and the object being viewed.
Display Options enables or disables Starfinders two initial displays. If both displays are disabled, Starfinder begins with the Date display. Sun Warning: Turns the Sun warning message on or off. Getting Started: Turns the Getting Started message on or off.
Brightness Adj: Adjusts the brightness of the display using the Scroll keys. When complete, press ENTER. Contrast Adj: Adjusts the contrast of the display using the Scroll keys. When complete, press ENTER. NOTE: This feature is usually only required in very cold weather. Landmark Survey automatically slews the telescope to all user-defined landmarks with a short pause at each location. Press ENTER to start the survey. While a slew is in progress, press any key to skip that object and go to the next landmark on the list. To observe a landmark for a longer period, press MODE when paused on the object to stop the survey. Press ENTER to restart the survey at the first object on the list. Sleep Scope is a power saving option that shuts down Starfinder and the telescope without forgetting its alignment. Press ENTER to activate the Sleep function. Starfinder goes dark, but the internal clock keeps running. Press any key, except ENTER, to re-activate Starfinder and the telescope.
Park Scope is designed for a telescope that is not moved between observing sessions. Align the telescope one time, then use this function to park the telescope. Next time it is powered up, enter the correct date and time and no alignment is required. Pressing ENTER causes the telescope to move to its pre-determined Park position. Once parked, the screen prompts you to turn off the power (i.e., unplugging the battery pack). IMPORTANT NOTE: When the Park Scope option is chosen and the display prompts to turn off the telescope power, Starfinder is unable to be returned to operation without unplugging the battery pack and then plugging it back in.
The Setup menus primary function is to align the telescope (see "ALIGN YOUR TELESCOPE USING STARFINDER," page 20). However, there are numerous other features available within Setup. These options include: Date changes the date used by Starfinder. This function is useful to check events in the past or future. Example: set the Date for a day three months in the future and then check the" Select Item: Event" menu for the Sunset time or Moon phase on that date. See EVENT MENU, page 29. Time changes the time entered into Starfinder. Setting the correct time is critical for Starfinder to properly calculate locations and events. Daylight Saving is used to set the status of Daylight Savings time. NOTE: Daylight Savings Time may be referred to by a different name in various areas of the world. Check local time to verify. Telescope accesses the following options: Focal Length: Displays the focal length of the selected telescope. Az Ratio and Alt Ratio: The Az (Azimuth or horizontal) ratio and Alt (Altitude or vertical) ratio refers to the gears installed in the telescope motors. Do not alter these numbers. Train Drive: Trains the motors to locate objects with more precision. NOTE: If you are experiencing any problems with pointing accuracy, follow the procedure described in TRAINING THE DRIVE, page 19, to insure accurate pointing and tracking. Tracking Rate: Changes the speed at which the telescope tracks targets in the sky. a. Sidereal: The default setting for Starfinder; sidereal rate is the standard rate at which stars move from East to West across the sky due to the rotation of the Earth. b. Lunar: Choose this option to properly track the Moon over long observing sessions. c. Custom: Allows entry of user-defined tracking rates. Reverse L/R: Reverses the functions of the Left and Right Arrow keys (i.e., the Right key moves the telescope to the left). Reverse UP/DOWN: Reverses the functions of the Up and Down Arrow keys (i.e., the Up key moves the telescope down).
Table 1: Time Zone Shift.
Owner Info accesses the owner information menu options, including: Name: A user may enter both his or her first and last names using the Up and Down Arrow keys to cycle through the alphabet. Use the Right and Left Arrow keys to move across the text. Press ENTER when the entry is complete. Address: Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to enter your street address, city, state, and zip code. Press ENTER when the entry is complete.
Download transfers information from a personal computer or another Starfinder. NOTE: The Download function requires the optional Cable Set. See the instruction sheet for the optional cable set for more information on how to download. Statistics provides basic statistical data about Starfinder, including: Characters Free: Shows how much room is available in user-defined object memory. Version: Shows the current version of the Starfinder software.
Reset completely resets Starfinder. Starfinder requires initialization again after a Reset before proceeding with observations. See INITIALIZING STARFINDER, page 17. You will also need to perform TRAINING THE DRIVE, page 19, after a Reset.
PART 3: Caring for Your Telescope
The lens or mirror surfaces should be cleaned as infrequently as possible. Front surface aluminized mirrors, in particular, should be cleaned only when absolutely necessary. In all cases, avoid touching any mirror surface. A little dust on the surface of a mirror or lens causes negligible loss of performance and should not be considered reason to clean the surface. When lens or mirror cleaning does become necessary, use a camels hair brush or compressed air gently to remove dust. If the telescopes dust cover is replaced after each observing session, cleaning of the optics will rarely be required.
Mount and Tripod Adjustments
Every Meade 4504 Telescope equatorial mount and tripod is factory inspected for proper fit and function prior to shipment. It is unlikely that you will need to adjust or tighten these parts after receipt of the telescope. However, if the instrument received unusually rough handling in shipment, it is possible that some of these assemblies can be loose. To make adjustments you will need a 1/2" or 11/16" socket or adjustable end wrench, a 5/64" hex wrench, and a Phillips-head screwdriver. The equatorial mount has four main areas that can be adjusted: A loose polar shaft can be tight3 ened by releasing a 5/64" hex set-screw that is on the side of the 11/16" polar shaft acorn cap 4 nut (3, Fig. 21), and then turning the 11/16" acorn cap nut clockwise to a firm feel, and then tightening the 5/64" hex set-screw. A loose Azimuth base (4, Fig. 21), can be tightened by turning the 11/16" Azimuth shaft bolt, located 1 underneath the mount and in between the three tripod legs, clockwise to a firm feel. The R.A. (1, Fig. 11), and Dec (12, Fig. 11) worm block assemblies can have backlash removed by Fig. 21: Maintenance adjustments. releasing the two Phillips-head screws on each assembly, applying pressure to the worm block against the worm gear, and then tightening the Phillips-head screws. Note that overtightening of any of the nuts, bolts, or screws can inhibit the smooth rotating action of the axes and gears, and may result in stripping the threads. The tripod legs have 1/2" nuts (1, Fig. 21), and Phillips-head screws (2, Fig. 21) that may have backed off. Tighten to a firm feel for the most sturdy performance of the telescope.
Fig. 29: Collimation.
MODEL 4504 TELESCOPE SPECIFICATIONS
Optical design...Newtonian Reflector Clear aperture..114mm (4.5) Focal length...910mm Focal ratio (photographic speed)..f/8 Resolving power..1.0 arc secs Multi-coatings on objective lens.Standard Limiting visual stellar magnitude (approx.)..12.4 Image scale...1.6/inch Maximum practical visual power..325X Optical tube dimensions (dia. x length)...14cm x 86.4cm (5.5 x 34) Eyepieces Modified Achromatic...H 25mm (0.965 O.D.) Modified Achromatic...H 12.5mm (0.965 O.D.) Modified Achromatic...SR 4mm (0.965 O.D.) Barlow...3x magnification Telescope mounting...German equatorial mount Setting circle diameters..6.2cm (2.45") Input voltage...12-volts DC Motor Drive System..DC servo motors with encoders, both axes Slow-Motion Controls..Electric, 7 speeds, both axes Hemispheres of operation...North and South, switchable Materials Tube body..Aluminum Mounting...Die-cast aluminum Telescope net weight: (telescope only, without batteries, eyepieces).10.5 kg (23 lbs.) Telescope shipping weight (telescope, accessories, instruction manual, packing).14 kg (31 lbs.) Battery Life (approx.) with Starfinder...20 hrs.
Processor...68HC11, 8MHz Flash Memory...512KB, reloadable Keypad...10 key Display...2 line, 16 character LCD Backlight..Red LED Coil Cord..24"
Length...14.2cm Width (LCD end)..78.0cm Width (Connector end)..53.5cm Depth...23.5cm (5.60") (3.08") (2.10") (0.93")
APPENDIX A: Calculating Eyepiece Power
The power, or magnification of the telescope depends on two optical characteristics: the focal length of the main telescope and the focal length of the eyepiece used during a particular observation. The focal length of the 4504 telescope is fixed at 910mm. To calculate the power in use with a particular eyepiece, divide the focal length of the eyepiece into the focal length of the main telescope. E.g., using the H 25mm eyepiece supplied with the telescope, the power is calculated as follows: Power = telescope focal length = 910mm = 36x eyepiece focal length 25mm
APPENDIX D: Helpful Charts
Latitude Chart for Major Cities of the World To aid in the Polar Alignment procedure (see "TO POLAR ALIGN THE TELESCOPE," page 15), latitudes of major cities around the world are listed below. To determine the latitude of an observing site not listed on the chart, locate the city closest to your site. Then follow the procedure below: Northern Hemisphere observers (N): If the site is over 70 miles (110 km) North of the listed city, add one degree for every 70 miles. If the site is over 70 miles South of the listed city, subtract one degree per 70 miles. Southern Hemisphere observers (S): If the site is over 70 miles North of the listed city, subtract one degree for every 70 miles. If the site is over 70 miles South of the listed city, add one degree per 70 miles.
UNITED STATES City
Albuquerque Anchorage Atlanta Boston Chicago Cleveland Dallas Denver Detroit Honolulu Jackson Kansas City Las Vegas Little Rock Los Angeles Miami Milwaukee Nashville New Orleans New York Oklahoma City Philadelphia Phoenix Portland Richmond Salt Lake City San Antonio San Diego San Francisco Seattle Washington Wichita
New Mexico Alaska Georgia Massachusetts Illinois Ohio Texas Colorado Michigan Hawaii Mississippi Missouri Nevada Arkansas California Florida Wisconsin Tennessee Louisiana New York Oklahoma Pennsylvania Arizona Oregon Virginia Utah Texas California California Washington District of Columbia Kansas
N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N
EUROPE (cont'd) City
London Madrid Oslo Paris Rome Stockholm Vienna Warsaw
England Spain Norway France Italy Sweden Austria Poland
N N N N N N N N
SOUTH AMERICA City Country
Asuncion Brasilia Buenos Aires Montevideo Santiago Paraguay Brazil Argentina Uruguay Chile
34 S S S S S
Beijing Seoul Taipei Tokyo Victoria
China South Korea Taiwan Japan Hong Kong
23 N N N N N
Cairo Cape Town Rabat Tunis Windhoek
Egypt South Africa Morocco Tunisia Namibia
23 N S N N S
Amsterdam Athens Bern Copenhagen Dublin Frankfurt Glasgow Helsinki Lisbon
Netherlands Greece Switzerland Denmark Ireland Germany Scotland Finland Portugal
39 N N N N N N N N N
Adelaide Brisbane Canberra Alice Springs Hobart Perth Sydney Melbourne
South Australia Queensland New South Wales Northern Territory Tasmania Western Australia New South Wales Victoria
S S S S S S S S
APPENDIX E: Basic Astronomy
In the early 17th century, an Italian Scientist named Galileo, using a crude telescope considerably smaller than your 4504, turned it to look towards the sky instead of distant trees and mountains. What he saw, and what he realized about what he saw, forever changed the way mankind thought of the universe. Imagine what it must have been like being the first human to see moons revolve around the planet Jupiter or to see the changing phases of Venus! Because of his observations, Galileo correctly realized Earth's movement and position around the Sun, and in doing so, gave birth to modern astronomy. Yet Galileo's telescope was so crude, he could not clearly make out the rings of Saturn. Galileo's discoveries laid the foundation for understanding the motion and nature of the planets, stars, and galaxies. Building on his foundation, Henrietta Leavitt determined how to measure the distance to stars; Edwin Hubble proposed a glimpse into the origin of the universe; Albert Einstein unraveled the relationship of time and light. Almost daily, using sophisticated successors to Galileo's crude telescope, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, more and more mysteries of the universe are being solved and understood. We are living in a golden age of astronomy. Unlike other sciences, astronomy welcomes contributions from amateurs. Much of the knowledge we have on subjects such as comets, meteor showers, variable stars, the Moon, and our solar system comes from observations made by amateur astronomers. So as you look through your Meade telescope, keep in mind Galileo. To him, a telescope was not a mere machine of glass and metal, but something far more a window through which the beating heart of the universe might be glimpsed, a fuse to set fire to mind and imagination. Starfinder Glossary Be sure to make use of Starfinders Glossary feature. The Glossary menu provides an alphabetical listing of definitions and descriptions of common astronomical terms. Access these directly through the Glossary menu or through hypertext words embedded in Starfinder. See GLOSSARY MENU," page 29, for more information. Objects in Space Listed below are some of the many astronomical objects that can be seen with the 4504: The Moon The Moon is, on average, a distance of 239,000 miles (380,000km) from Earth and is best observed during its crescent or half phase when Sunlight strikes the Moons surface at an angle. It casts shadows and adds a sense of depth to the view (Fig. 33). No shadows are seen during a full Moon, causing the overly bright Moon to appear flat and rather uninteresting through the telescope. Purchase a neutral Moon filter for use when observing the Moon. Not only does it protect your eyes from the bright glare of the Moon, but it also helps enhance contrast, providing a more dramatic image. Using the 4504, brilliant detail can be observed on the Moon, including hundreds of lunar craters and maria, described below. Craters are round meteor impact sites covering most of the Moons surface. With no atmosphere on the Moon, no weather conditions exist, so the only erosive force is meteor strikes. Under these conditions, lunar craters can last for millions of years. Maria (plural for mare) are smooth, dark areas scattered across the lunar surface. These dark areas are large ancient impact basins that were filled with lava from the interior of the Moon by the depth and force of a meteor or comet impact. Twelve Apollo astronauts left their bootprints on the Moon in the late 1960's and early 1970's. However, no telescope on Earth is able to see these footprints or any other artifacts. In fact, the smallest lunar features that may be seen with the largest telescope on Earth are about one-half mile across.
Copyright (c) 2004 Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews
StarGPS add GPS to your Telescope
By Bob Pasken
I have been an amateur astronomer for almost forty years. Over the forty year period, I have ground several mirrors and purchased several commercially built scopes ranging in size from a Orion 60mm refractor to a 10 Meade LX-6. I am a research meteorologist and my work has carried me around the world at times for extended periods. Early in my career, I purchased an Optical Technique Quantum-4 (Q4), which traveled with me around the world to the field experiments that are an essential part of my work. As the Q4 became more of an antique with value more than just as a scope, I became loath to trust the Q4 to the vagrancies of checked bagged on an airline and bought the ETX-90EC to carry with me on my travels. The ETX-90EC had the added benefit of having GOTO capability and a large database of objects in both hemispheres so that I could search the heavens without carrying all of my books and star charts. The ETX-90EC has also become my grab-and-go scope during the hectic academic year. I leave the scope setup and simply carry it out on the deck and turn it on
When the StarGPS unit was announced I was interested in the StarGPS because it automatically set the Autostar with the correct time and location without my intervention. I could simply turn on the scope and while setting up my observing table and chair the StarGPS unit would take care of setting the time and location. Although the GPS
function would not be major advantage at home where the time and location are accurately known, it would be a big
Figure 1 Contents of the StarGPS package
plus when I was in a field. I was eager to test the StarGPS unit to see if it helped with the initial setup and if it could improve the accuracy of an already accurate GOTO.
The StarGPS package is designed for Meade telescopes equipped with either the Autostar 495/497 series or the AutostarII and provides GPS time and location information. A shown in Figure 1 the StarGPS package consists of three parts, a small Rikaline GPS unit, the software and the necessary cables needed to load and use the software needed to make StarGPS work. Chris Conner, with help of Dick Seymour (the Autostar expert!), developed a GPS Setup software patch for both Autostar versions, which allows Autostars to interpret GPS NMEA 2.0+ data and use this data to set the date, time, latitude and longitude.
In addition, Dick helped dream up the idea of a newer Windows program called StarPatch that allows the GPS setup patch needed by the StarGPS package and Dicks' Autostar and Autostar II patches to be added in a simpler and much faster manner than Meade Autostar Update (ASU) program. StarPatch provides a number of enhanced features over ASU. StarPatch adds 495/497 GPS Setup capability, Fast 495/497,
automatic verification of download, reuse of unchanged data from previous updates, easy selection and use of available patches, an "Update Autostar" button to simplify updates, "Get Updates" retrieves the latest software, and it works with Autostar II (excluding features 1, 2 and 3). The StarPatch CD-ROM includes a registration key that enables all the program features and allows the GPS Setup patch to be installed onto one Autostar 495/497 Handset. This patch allows you to connect a GPS receiver to the Autostar so the date, time, latitude and longitude can be automatically set. Unlike the LX200gps, it cannot north align and level the tripod. StarPatch does not entirely replace ASU. ASU must still be used to move Library Objects to and from the Handset (e.g. satellites, comets and tours). You can purchase a complete package with a small GPS receiver, cable to connect it to the scope, CD to update the Autostar. According the PixSoft website you can use a Garmin GPS receiver if you already own. In this case, you get the CD and two cables, one to connect your computer to your Autostar to update the Autostar and one cable to connect your GPS receiver to the Autostar.
Setting up StarGPS was simple. I inserted the StarPatch CD and let it run. Once StarPatch is installed on your computer, you can click on Help>User Manual. Read the steps for installation, print them if you need to, and then install the GPS patch to the ETX. As I noted earlier, StarPatch works just like Meades ASU. The GPS patch is one of a number of patches to the Autostar you can download. All of Dick Seymours current patches are included on the CD among them a patch to allow the Autostar 497 to drive a Meade 4504. The CD box will have a label attached with a registration code. If you do not register StarPatch at the point indicated in the setup instructions the Autostar will not make use of the GPS data and the download of patches will suddenly slow down about half way through the download.
Figure 2 The ETX-90EC before the installation of the StarGPS package
Figure 2 shows my ETX-90EC in its normal configuration for travel. I use a Manfrotto photo tripod with a small wood plate bolted to the top. The wood plate has holes for eyepieces and a notch to hold the hand paddle. The tripod and scope combination fit into a small bag that I use for travel. Installing the StarGPS package was simple. The first step is to thread the Autostar to GPS cable through the center of the hand paddle cord. This solves a cable management problem with having too many cords that are liable to be tangled when the scope is in use. A second cable is supplied that is used for downloads and to control the scope from a computer. Figure 3 shows how little changes after you
install the StarGPS package. Note the Autostar is displaying the GPS search message. This is the only way you can tell that an Autostar has the StarGPS patch. Having downloaded the latest version of the Autostar 497 code and the StarGPS patch, connected the cable between the GPS receiver and the scope, and turned on the scope. The scope came to life, beeped, the Autostar flashed "Checking for GPS." The time, latitude and
longitude appeared on the Autostar and after few seconds, the familiar Align routine came up. I aligned the scope and went on my way. I set up the scope on my deck and ran it through its paces several times. This involved turning on the scope, allowing a GPS, align, viewing a few objects, turn the scope off (not park) and repeating same process over again. The scope performed flawlessly.
Figure 3 The ETX-90EC after the StarGPS additions have been made
The Autostar was reading the time, date and location from the GPS and setting the date and time correctly. A nice feature of StarGPS is that while it is searching for GPS satellites it displays the number of satellites it has found and the relative signal strength of each of the satellites while it is acquiring the GPS signal. When it has found enough satellites with strong enough signals, it determines the location, date and time from the GPS satellites. The display during the
Figure 4 StarGPS satellite acquisition phase
acquisition phase is shown in Figure 4
and the process is fun to watch. This acquisition phase can last up to five minutes, although two to three minutes are more typical.
Curiously, the acquisition phase lasts only a few seconds once the GPS has been setup for the evening. Powering the scope off and then back on at a new site a few feet or miles away that night results in the acquisition phase occurring much more rapidly once the scope has been started that night. I used Xephem to determine the number of GPS satellites visible. The number of visible satellites was always larger than what StarGPS found. Even when there were as many as five well placed satellites, StarGPS would struggle to find three. The long acquisition times are likely due to the small size of the antenna in the GPS unit.
I started with two laptops and four sets of hard drives. My iBook with Virtual PC and a Compaq 1700 with drives loaded with Windows-98SE, Windows 2000 and WindowsXP. I loaded StarGPS on each set of the disks and then tried loading and upgrading the Autostar. This was not an entirely fair test since once the StarGPS software is loaded it is tied to a specific Autostar Reloading or upgrading does not alter the software on the Autostar. I started with Windows-98SE and everything went smoothly. I moved the scope around the Saint Louis area and no matter where I moved the scope it correctly set the date, time and location. It was convenient not to have to do anything but turn the scope.
When a new set of patches came out from Meade and from Dick Seymour I attempted to load these patches from a Windows-2000 system. Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem with StarPatch and Windows-2000. Every time I attempted download the patches, the download would get between 10 and 15% complete when the entire system would hang requiring a reboot of the computer. The Autostar would needed careful handling to get it into the Safe Load mode to allow reloading of the base code from Meades ASU. After several attempts to use StarPatch and Windows-2000, I destroyed a 497-hand paddle by not carefully restarting the Autostar in Safe Load mode. I did not
have the same problems with Windows-98 or Windows-XP. The problem appeared with both the iBook and Compaq-1700, thus eliminating a hardware problem with one of the laptops Since Windows-2000 is known to have compatibility problems with software, I should have known better than to use Windows-2000 for a critical download.
After acquiring another Autostar and using ASU to load the most current version of the software, I started the testing process over again. Moving the scope to sites away from home demonstrated the value of StarGPS. I used the scope at several sites in the Saint Louis area and in Upstate New York. StarGPS worked flawlessly at each site; it returned the date, time and location correctly and made setting the scope up easier. After setting the scope level and pointing, the tube north I merely turned on the scope, set up my observing chair and pushed enter when Align -> Easy appeared in the display.
I also ran a series of tests to determine if the StarGPS provided any improvement in the quality of the GOTOs. The scope already provides extremely accurate GOTOs being able to put an object in to the field of view of a 9mm Meade 4000 Plossl eyepiece. Tests with the StarGPS active and inactive showed no real change in accuracy. This may or may not be the case for all users of StarGPS, since the difference between my home and the closest site in the Autostar database is small, and my scope already is already very accurate.
As I mentioned earlier there seems to be some incompatibilities between StarPatch, which is needed to download the software patch necessary to make StarGPS work and Windows-2000. The problem manifests itself when a patch is downloaded to the hand paddle. After the download is about 15% complete, the computer locks up and requires a hard reboot. My other complaint has to do with the long time it takes to get a GPS fix. Although the average GPS fix time fell in the two to three minute range, often I got frustrated waiting for a lock and restarted the process by shutting off the scope and turning it back on.
So, do I recommend the StarGPS package?
Well, StarGPS is not necessarily for
everyone. The complete StarPatch with the GPS receiver is $169.00; if you use your own GPS receiver, it's $99.00 for the CD and cables. Having time and location download is just a convenience, but it was worth the price for me, especially since the ETX-90 is my grab-and-go scope and I use it at Boy Scout summer camps and Cub Scout day camps around in the Saint Louis area. If you observe from one or two spots and you don't mind changing sites, do it by hand and forget the GPS. However, if you travel with your scope, or if you just don't want to fool with entering the time every time the scope is turned on and changing SITE when you travel, the StarPatch GPS is for you. My experience is that it was easy to install, the instructions were well written and clear, the cables are sturdy and well made, and it worked right out of the box. In case there are, other Autostar users who have been wondering if anyone has tried this product out, I can tell you that it works as advertised and I am happy to have it.
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