Steps for Polar Aligning the Meade LX200GPS 

1. Mount the telescope on the equatorial mount that is seated on the cement pedestal outside the dome. Align the base so that when the telescope is parallel to the fork arms, the telescope points toward Polaris at the North Celestial Pole.

2.  NOTE: Before plugging in the power, be sure that the base is turned OFF!

3. Check the alignment of the finder scope. You can  use a star if its dark enough. If not point the telescope to the horizon and align it using a distance house or tree.

4. Insure that the "0-0" mark on the Right Ascension (RA) setting circle is aligned with the tick mark on the edge of the circle.

5. Rotate the tube's RA axis so that the tick mark on the base of the tube aligns with the "0-0" mark on the setting circle.  When complete, lock the RA axis.

NOTE: Once the telescope has been manually adjusted and the computer has located home, the telescope should only be adjusted using the keypad. Otherwise its position on the sky will be lost.

6. Unlock the Declination (DEC) axis and set it to 0°.  Ensure that the stars do not move when the RA axis is slewed to the east or west.  When this is done, the telescope should be aligned with the North Celestial Pole.  Verify that you're aligned to the North Celestial Pole.  This is done ensuring that the crosshairs in the finder scope are approximately 40 arcmins from Polaris along a line running between Polaris and the end of the cup of the Little Dipper.  If the alignment looks about right and then do not make any other adjustments.
 
7. Lock the DEC axis, and turn the unit ON.

8.  The keypad will display "LX200 GPS Version 1.1."  Next, "Initializing...Smart Drive" will appear.  When the WARNING appears, dismiss the warning by pressing the "SS" key (#5) on the keypad.

NOTE: Before completing the next step, verify that the telescope's computer is configured for a polar mount.  By default, this is configured to alt/az.  To do this, once the keypad displays "Setup: Align",  press the DOWN ARROW key at the very bottom of the hand paddle until "Setup:Telescope" displays.  Press ENTER, move to "Setup:Telescope:Mount" and press ENTER again.  Move to "Polar" and then press ENTER.

9. The keypad will display "Setup: Align."  Press ENTER.

10. The keypad will display "Align:Automatic Alignment".  Move to "Align:Two Star" and then press ENTER.

11.  Select a star when prompted.  Choose one of the brightest stars in the sky so that you will easily recognize it. You can use the sky maps in the back of the instruction manual to determine star's names. For example, Arcturus and Vega are good choices for July.  Choose a star, and then press ENTER.  The telescope will slew to the rough vicinity of the target star.

12. Center the target star in the Finder Scope's cross-hairs. Remember to only move the telescope using the handpaddle! First select a slew rate by hitting "Slew" and a number, where 1 is the slowest (guide) speed, and 9 is the fastest, and then use the up/down/left/right arrows to center the star.

13. Center the target star in the eyepiece, and then press ENTER.

14. Repeat steps 11-13 for the second target star, and then press ENTER.

15. The keypad should now indicate "Alignment Successful."  The telescope is now ready for use.

16. For example, to move to a given  Messier object, hit "M" and enter the number. To erase a digit, move forward with the right arrow and back up with the left arrow. Hit "Enter" and then "GoTo". The object should appear in the eyepiece. To center it, hit "SLEW" and "3" and use the arrow keys. Hit "SLEW" and "1" when its centered to put the telescope back into guide speed so that it will track the motion of the night sky.


bchart@uci.edu
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2002