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Indoor/Daytime Alignment on Newer Models with No Quick Align

With hand control version 2.3 (first shipped with the NexStar 8i SE) and higher, Quick Align, GPS Align and Auto Align are no longer available.  Previously, if a person wanted to align their NexStar indoors or during the daytime, one of these three alignment methods was employed.  With hand control version 4 or higher, a daytime alignment (outdoors) is best accomplished with the new Solar System Align method.  With version 2.3 in the daytime/indoors and with version 4 or higher indoors, Auto Two Star Align can be used as follows.

Northern Hemisphere
Point the telescope in the general direction of Polaris (the North Star).  Remember that Polaris is straight north and is the same number of degrees above the horizon as your latitude on Earth.  In other words, if you live at 45 degrees north latitude, you would point the scope north and up at a 45 degree angle.  Start an Auto Two Star Alignment and use Polaris as the first alignment star, pressing ENTER and ALIGN to accept the current position of the scope.  When the scope finishes the slew to the second star, press ENTER and ALIGN to accept this position as well.  The scope is now aligned and tracking.

Southern Hemisphere
In the Southern Hemisphere, you will need to use a planetarium program (such as Planetarium for Palm, Cartes du Ciel, TheSky, etc.) to look up the current altitude and azimuth of one of the bright alignment stars - this will be the first of your alignment stars.  To see which stars are available, power up the scope and start an Auto Two Star Align.  Scroll through the available stars and select one.  Find that star in your planetarium program and note the location in the sky.  Then, point the telescope to your best estimation of that location in the sky.  Follow the rest of the procedure as described above for the Northern Hemisphere.

Using Re-Alignment to Improve GoTo and Tracking
With hand control 2.3, to improve GoTo and tracking (for actual daytime use outdoors), GoTo the Moon or a bright planet or star.  Center it in the eyepiece (you may need to search around a bit to find it), and use the NexStar Re-alignment feature to replace one of the "fake" alignment stars.  If you then GoTo a second object and use Re-Alignment to replace the other "fake" alignment star, GoTo and tracking will be quite accurate.

Re-Alignment on the Sun to Improve GoTo and Tracking
Also available with hand control 2.3 is a special Re-Alignment routine using the Sun.  Center the Sun in the eyepiece (Caution: you must use a safe solar filter!!!) and press the ALIGN button.  Select either of the alignment stars for replacement and then press 0 on the keypad.  Follow the directions on the display to replace the star with the Sun.  To improve further, use the hand control's normal GoTo for any object that can be seen in the daylight and use the NexStar Re-Alignment feature to replace the other star with that object.

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Michael Swanson
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