Jun 13, 2017 UT: Re-aligning the 12-inch telescope

Michael Richmond
Jun 13, 2017

On the night of Jun 12/13, 2017, Jen Connelly and I re-aligned the 12-inch Meade LX-200. It was my first visit to the Observatory after returning from sabbatical.

During the last few months, the gears connecting the dome-top motor to the dome slit had become somewhat loose, but workers from FMS kindly tightened the gears sometime in the past few weeks. The dome slit opened and closed with no problems at all. We did notice a couple of globs of grease on the floor of the dome, but we cleaned them up before anyone slipped.

The procedure went something like this (for future reference):

  1. open dome
  2. take covers off telescope
  3. mount integrating camera on white guidescope
  4. mount eyepiece in right-angle prism in main telescope
  5. turn on telescope, set time and date
  6. manually move to bright object (Jupiter), align small finder and white finder with main telescope
  7. place telescope into "polar home" position, by unlocking the RA and Dec axes and swivelling manually
  8. start the polar alignment "1-star" procedure with LX200 keypad
  9. telescope will rotate by approx 180 degrees in RA -- watch out for cables!
  10. use mechanical adjustments to center Polaris in white finder's camera
  11. center Polaris in main telescope's eyepiece, still using mechanical adjustments
  12. press "Enter" on keypad to move to next step: telescope will slew to a bright star far from pole (Arcturus)
  13. use keypad adjustments to center this bright star
  14. Done!

The skies were completely clouded over when we finished, so we were unable to verify that the alignment was properly completed; but we'll do that soon.

Notes for the future: