Using the Meade 12-inch Telescope


In order to use the telescope, one should follow these steps:

  1. open the telescope dome slit; wait for the slit to open fully, and give dust a bit of time to settle to the floor
  2. remove the plastic bag which covers the telescope
  3. remove the big lens cap from the front of the telescope
  4. place lens cap on short white file cabinet, with plastic bag sitting in it
  5. turn on telescope power
  6. after telescope's system finishes booting, it will prompt you to press a specific button on the hand paddle. Do so.
  7. use the Setup menu to set the time and date
  8. walk outside the dome, find a bright star in the sky
  9. select Objects -> Star -> Named and pick the star
  10. press the Goto button; the controller will try to find a GPS fix. As soon as it tries to do so, press the Menu button to abort the search for GPS (which will eventually fail anyway, due to the metal dome). The controller will then display the current time, date, and time zone -- they should all be fine. Press Enter to accept all the values.
  11. eventually, the telescope will start to slew to where it thinks the star ought to be. It will be wrong. As soon as the motors start to whine, abort the move by pressing the Enter button
  12. now point the telescope manually at the star, using the hand paddle; move telescope until star appears at center of crosshairs in the finder telescope. Then center the star in the view of an eyepiece plugged into the telescope itself.
  13. press and hold the Enter key for several seconds, then release. The controller should read "Press Enter to sync". Press Enter to tell the telescope that it is now pointing at the star.

At this point, one should be able to give the coordinates (or catalog number) of a desired target, command the telescope to slew, and expect to find the target in the field of view.

One can focus the telescope by rotating the silver cylindrical knob on the back of the tube.

Closing up

At the end of the night, one should shut the telescope down in the following order.

  1. slew the telescope so that it points due south, roughly 45 degrees above the horizon
  2. turn off the power

    Remove the CCD camera, if mounted

  3. place the lens cap over the front of the tube
  4. place the big plastic bag over the telescope
  5. close the dome slit