First endeavour on the new Astro-Physics mount 1100 GTO
The alignment routine is a bit different to what I've used before on the HEQ6 and CGEM. The AP will assume perfect orthogonality within the mount itself, so if you want to use Polaris as an alignment star you need to be spot on with the OTA mounting. Best avoided with my gear I think. You will centre one star and then select star two. The mount will slew there. Unlike routines I'm used to, the AP routine expects no internal errors, but instead assumes your polar alignment is off if star two isn't on the cross hairs! So you use the alt/az adjusters to physically centre star two. A few iterations of this will have you aligned with the NCP to great accuracy. To target cone error you'll need to flip and do a routine to cancel the effects of a misaligned OTA. (I don't flip so won't bother with that until I take this one out to a dark site)
It's an absolute joy to use in short. It adjusts with no effort at all in alt and az to find Polaris. Polar alignment was extremely easy using the new RAPAS - Righ angle polar alignment scope. This has a built in diagonal, and the reticule has circles and hour markings rather than the constellations. It will make for even easier setup with less neck strain.
It slews very precisely, and I can't see any traces of backlash judging by star movements on the CCD. I didn't go through the full routine, but did a good PA and then I synced on Kochab. In theory this is all you need to do to get going - and it sure was! Any target I picked from the keypad appeared almost on the cross hairs straight away.
I set guide rate to 0.5 sidereal, on the AP Ascom V2 in Maxim DL calibrated quickly using 1 second intervals - from then on it was plain sailing! I have been used to the graph constantly going off scale with the EQ6, I've seen Dec just trail off never to return... I used to resort to high aggressiveness and max one second interval to hold it by the ear. Not so this time around!
|First alignment only using a one polar alignment, then selected the first star (Kochab) and it when directly to the center of the cross-hair. This is a 10 seconds unguided.|