Steps to Set
the Celestron 11" Telescope in ALT/AZ Mode
Note that you must be
by Tammy Smecker-Hane before using the Celestron 11" telescope! It is a
complex and expensive piece of equipment that is
easily damaged and costly to repair. People who have not been trained
should touch NEITHER the drives NOR the keypad.
- Scan through menu items using the Up/Down (6/9) arrows at the bottom of the keypad.
- Select a menu item by hitting ENTER.
- To slew the telescope, hit RATE (at the bottom of the keypad) and
then a number, where 1 is the slowest (normal guiding) speed and 9 is the fastest speed.
- The higher the focal length of the eyepiece (e.g. 40 mm), the smaller the magnification and
the larger the visible field of view are. Most star clusters and
galaxies are best viewed with the 26 mm eyepiece (one of which is
generally included in the box with the telescope accessories), while
objects like Jupiter and Saturn are
best viewed with a 13 or 7 mm eyepiece. Larger objects, like
the Orion Nebula and some
open clusters, are best viewed with the 40 mm eyepiece.
- To choose a target (assuming the telescope is aligned), use the "LIST" key and choose from
options with up/down and enter, or use keys like "M" to choose a Messier
catalog object, "Planet" for a Solar System object or "Star" to choose
a star by SAO number.
Once an object
is chosen, hit "ENTER" to slew to the target.
- Get the tripod reasonably close to
level using the level stored
in the plastic box. Please note that one of the legs may be loose if
not have it all the way in.
- Place the telescope on the tripod. The
metal peg should go into the hole in the center of the telescope base.
- Get the 3 metal bolts from inside the
case and screw them through the
tripod into the base using the large Allen wrench in the large plastic
bag. This will require looking up at the bottom of the telescope base
and rotating the base of the telescope to align
the holes. (Yes, indeed the holes do align; if it looks like they
don't, simply keep rotating the base until they do!)
- Screw up the knob on the spreader bar
so that it is pushing against the tripod legs because it provides added
- Put finder scope bracket on the
telescope using the two small screws in the small plastic bag that also
- Slide the finder scope through the
bracket. Align the finderscope
so it is pointed in the same direction as the telescope: put the 40 mm
eyepiece (widest field-of-view), point the telescope at an object on
focus it (note: if you remember how many turns and in what direction it
took to focus it, then you can undo it and be close to focusing on
stars at the start of the night), then adjust the screws on the finder
scope until the center of finder scope is centered on the same object
as the telescope.
the toggles on the ALT drive (located on top of the left fork of the
mount, as you face the panel display) and AZ drive (located on the side
of the telescope base) so that you can move the telescope freely. Put
the telescope in the starting position: telescope pointing North and
level with the ground. The flip the toggles back to lock the drives.
the power adapter into the socket located at the very bottom of the
side of the telescope's base (NOT
loctaed on the main panel socket,
which should be taped over to avoid error) and turn on the telescope by
setting the power switch
- If the GPS does not work, you will have to enter the longitude
and latitude of your location, and the current time. For the UCI
Once the GPS is done linking, choose "Auto Two Star" using the
up/down (6/9) keys.
- Longitude: -117:49:52.4
- Latitude: 33:38:10.4
- To get the longitude and latitude of another site, go to
googlemaps.com and find the cite, right click and choose "what is here"
and you will get the longitude and latitude in the web browser's
- After entering the current time using 24 hr notation (0 to 24
hrs as opposed to am/pm), you will also need to input whether or not it
is Pacific Standard Time (PST) or Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). PST is
used in Winter from the first Sunday in November through the second
Sunday in March, and PST = UT - 8 hr. PDT is used in Summer from the
second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, and PDT = UT -
Find a star from the list that you can find in the night sky and
Center the star in the finder and then hit ENTER.
Center the star in the eyepiece (may require focusing) and hit
ENTER and ALIGN.
Repeat this for a second star (the telescope should automatically
slew to point fairly close to it).
- Reverse all the setup directions above, and be sure to PUT THE BOLTS BACK
where you found them
in the case and the finder scope bracket screws back in the plastic bag.
Erik Tollerud & Tammy Smecker-Hane