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NexStar Alignment Guides

A good alignment is crucial to GoTo and tracking performance.  The most comprehensive alignment advice for NexStar telescopes can be found in my books, The NexStar User's Guide II and The NexStar User's Guide.  Here I present several alignment resources that are available on-line.

Version 4 and NexStar+ Alignment Methods
The following alignment methods were introduced in NexStar version 4 hand control.  I originally created the following articles at that time.  These articles are a rather brief treatment of what I more fully explain in The NexStar User's Guide II but I will continue to make them available here for anyone who might find them useful:

John Carlyle's NexStar Alignment Guide
The NexStar Alignment Guide, developed by John Carlyle with contributions from Alain Fraysse, Carroll Morgan, and Michael Swanson (me), provides many tips to insure the best GoTo performance possible from your NexStar.  Please note that it was written for the original NexStar 5/8 and the NexStar 60/76/80/102/114/4/130 GT.  Many of the points will apply to newer models, but some may not - specifically, for the 'i' series scopes, read below.  Click here to download (50KB).   Also, GT owners should read this list of common problems with alignment.  This file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (available at to view or print.

Jean Piquette's 'i' Series Alignment Guide
Jean Piquette has developed an alignment guide for the 'i' Series NexStar telescopes.  It addresses improvements in these newer models and presents a different approach for selection of the two alignment stars.  Click here to download (15KB).  Note that after you unzip the file, there are actually two guides - a quick start guide with all that most folks will ever need to get a good alignment on a NexStar 5i/8i and a more in-depth guide that provides additional details along with the theory Jean applied to come up with his alignment method.  You might also want to download Jean's program "Select Alignment Stars" - details and the download are available here.  These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader (available at to view or print.

AS-GT Alignment Guide
For alignment tips for the AS-GT scopes, join the Celestron_AS Group on Yahoo and refer to the Frequently Asked Questions found in the Files section.  Note that this information is mostly pertinent to hand control version 3 - the alignment routines in version 4 are much different.

Help Selecting Good Pairs of Alignment Stars (Alt-Az use only)
In addition to Jean Piquette's "Select Alignment Stars" program (above), NexStar Observer List (link at top of this page) provides assistance in selecting pairs of alignment stars.  People also report good success using "Best Pair II" to assist in selecting alignment stars.  Windows and Macintosh versions are found at

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Michael Swanson
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