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Cambridge - How to Use a Computer is Ed Telescope

Cambridge - How to Use a Computer is Ed Telescope

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Published by: Nu Guru on Sep 22, 2010
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No image in eyepiece (whole field is dark)

Some Meade ETX and Celestron NexStar models have a built-in flip mirror to
control whether the image is formed at the eyepiece or at the camera port in the
back.

Image quality is poor

Understand that high-power eyepieces never give a crisp image; you are work-
ingnearlimitsimposedbythelawsofphysics.Fordaytimetesting,trya25-mm
eyepiece.

If the image seems to be constantly moving and boiling, the problem is un-
steadyair.Allowthetelescopetocometothermalequilibriumwithitssurround-
ingsaftercomingfromindoors.Allowonehourper18◦F(10◦C)oftemperature
change.Evenaftertakingalltheseprecautions,theairmaystillbetoounsteady
for high-power observing, especially right after the passage of a cold front.
Check collimation (see p. 70). This adjustment is meant to be performed by
the user and should be checked whenever the telescope is used to view stars in
steady air; readjustment is required every few weeks or months. The symptom
of poor collimation is that stars look like comets or cones rather than round
disks.

Do not test the telescope by viewing through a window. Window glass is not
of high enough optical quality. Even an open window will cause air currents
that distort the image.

Dark spot in middle of image

Adarkspotinthemiddleoftheimage,shiftingasyoumoveyourheadslightly,
usually means you are using a low-power eyepiece in the daytime, when the
pupil of your eye cannot take in the whole beam of light coming out of the
telescope (see p. 88).

Normally, the dark spot is caused by the shadow of the secondary mirror.
For a different reason, some eyepieces (especially early Naglers) produce a
bean-shaped shadow that darts around the periphery of the image. Like the

129

Troubleshooting

secondary-mirror shadow, this “kidney bean effect” is evident only when the
pupil of the eye is constricted in bright light.
Occasionally, the only problem is that your eye is the wrong distance from
the eyepiece, either too far or too close.

Image shifts sideways while focusing

SomelateralimageshiftisinevitableintheSchmidt–CassegrainandMaksutov–
Cassegrain focusing mechanism. Image shift can often be greatly reduced by
running the focuser all the way from one end of its range to the other several
times to redistribute lubricants.

Image will not hold focus

At high power, especially when lubricants are cold and stiff, the focus may
continue to shift for a moment after you let go of the focusing knob. On the
LX200 and similar telescopes, it is best to do your final focusing by turning the
focusing knob anticlockwise. That way, you are tightening a spring rather than
loosening it, and there will be no further settling after you let go.

Diagonal prism is off center

This is a common problem with a batch of Celestron diagonals made around
1998,anditmakescollimationimpossibleaslongasthediagonalisinthesystem.
It is easily fixed by taking the diagonal apart with a screwdriver, putting the
prism firmly into its mount, and reassembling.

Complete inability to focus with camera adapter; light, but no image

Not all camera adapters work with all telescopes. In particular, a camera body
without a lens often will not reach focus with a Newtonian reflector, whose
focal plane is deep within the eyepiece tube; use afocal coupling or eyepiece
projection instead.

Also,ifthecamerahasalens,thetelescopemusthaveaneyepiece;youcannot
put a digital camera (with nonremovable lens) into an adapter designed for a
camera body without a lens.

Focusing with camera adapter is difficult

Athighmagnificationsandhigh f-ratios,theimagedoesnotsnapintofocusthe
way it would with an f/2.8 camera lens. Considerable skill is needed. Focusing
an SLR camera is easiest if you use a plain matte focusing screen and focus on
the Moon or a bright star. See p. 115.

130

Part II

Three classic telescopes

Chapter 9

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