Last night saw the first clear skies since receiving all the bits for my new Skywatcher AZ GoTo mount, meaning it was time to give the mount its first outing. I didn’t intend to do any serious gazing, so didn’t bother with levelling the mount, I just put in on our patio and off I went.
I used my new Skywatcher PowerTank for power and my old scope tube, saving myself a bit of money. It only took a few minutes to get everything setup, which was made even easier as the new mount is soo much lighter than my old EQ2 setup.
The first thing was to align the scope as I had already entered all the other setup details (location, date etc), I started with Arcturus as my first alignment point. You align the scope with the first start manually, using the hand controller. Once aligned and centred in the eyepiece, simply press ok and select a second star (Regulus). The scope should them automatically slew to the position of your second star, though in my case it went in completely the opposite direction. At first, I was a bit confused but decided to manually align with my second alignment star. Again, once the star was centred in the eyepiece I hit ok, and off I went. Judging by the accuracy of the scope finding all the other objects I had a quick look at, I would say the alignment was not bad for the first time.
Using Stellarium and the GoTo mount, I quickly looked at what interesting object would be visible… there were plenty. I started with Messier 53 (M53) using my 25mm eyepiece, and although it was very faint I could just about work it out. I then hopped over to M3 and although very faint again, I was able to pick it out. I also had a quick look at Jupiter and Mizar Double star before packing up for the night.
If last night was anything to go by, I’m hopefully for some exciting gazing in the future, will hopefully set up my new camera for next time to get some shots of the objects I see.