Tuesday, October 25, 2005

First Light: Meade Super Wedge

I made a very nice deal with Todd for his modified Meade Super Wedge to use with the LX200. I had read lots of info online about aligning the wedge, and either I'm doing it wrong (possible), or it's just not as difficult as some folks make it out to be.

I found instructions on an iterative method of aligning that were easy to follow. Start level and north and follow the Meade instructions to align on Polaris using the wedge controls, then goto a sync star and align on it with the hand paddle. Meade thinks you're done at that point, but I continued: Goto back to Polaris, which will almost surely not be centered, and take out half of the error using the wedge controls. Goto the alignment star again, which will be off-center since you just moved the wedge, recenter it with the hand paddle and sync again. Repeat the process 4 or 5 times, and you should be accurately aligned. I found that 4 iterations was enough to not show any drift at all at low power, which was all I was after. Took about 15 minutes, maybe less.

The Mars shots I made weren't all that great. It was still too early, as the planet was only 45° up. I wasn't really dressed for the weather, so I packed it in. Tonight's plan is to set up at dusk, and grab a nap until around 2:00 and try again.

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