Re: introductions from Florida

Jeff Hogan

Thanks Wes.  I’ll respond below each item as it pertains.


From: <> On Behalf Of Wes Mcdonald via
Sent: Sunday, December 20, 2020 11:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ESPMC-Eight] introductions from Florida


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Welcome to the group.


  1. The mount needs to be aligned with true north not magnetic.  


OK.  I had clearly gotten this wrong.


  1. Your iPhone compass can be set to display true rather than magnetic

I don’t have an iphone; but, have been using a Samsung Galaxy tablet…and it just seems unreliable.  My android cell phone does not have a true compass as it’s an inexpensive one that I got for about $40



  1. Google magnetic declination. Or maybe magnetic deviation and look up the error at your location.  Can’t speak to it there but mine is 10 degrees in NC.

Thanks.  I will.



  1. Put the mount down and level it as best you can.  Point the weight bar straight down and have the weight bar on the north of the mount

This is definitely user error.  My weight bar was at the south of the mount.



  1. Adjust the altitude bolt until the telescope tube is tilted up at the same angle as your latitude. 


This I managed.


  1. If you have a finder scope you can adjust the mechanical azimuth and altitude to center Polaris in the finder.   Before doing this be sure the telescope and finder are looking at the same object.  You can do this in daytime by pointing the scope at a distant object on earth line a cell tower, building top etc.  center the telescope on the thing and then adjust the finder scope to center it on the same thing.  This collimates two scopes.  At night then when you center something in the finder scope it will be in the mai. Scope field of view.  Use a low power eyepiece in the telescope when doing this.  Something like a 25 or 32 mm


Thanks. Have not tried this.



7.  When you get things pretty much set up mechanically it is time to turn on the pmc8 and the explorestars app.   Connect your tablet to the mount 


8.  For viewing the planets if you have the scope pointing at Polaris at turn on you are probably good to go.   Just tell explorestars to go to the planet.  It won’t hit it but it should put the planet in the finder field of view.  The. Use the left-right-up-down arrows on explorestars to center the planet in the finder and then using the low power eyepiece center it in the telescope.  Once centered press the sync button in explorestars and things should work for you.  Be sure the little triangle icon in explorestars is showing P for point mode.  You can change it from T to P by pressing it.


9.  To use the LRDU buttons you swill want to set the slew rate.  This is done by pressing one of the number buttons.  0 is very slow,9 is the fastest.  I use 3 or 4 to center.  Just touch a number which will be reflected in the center of the LRDU button cluster so you can see what rate you have


10.  Practice all this in daytime.  Don’t point to the sun.  Get used to it all before you need it Monday.  If you can get out tonight also after practicing today and getting your scope collimated with the finder you will be ahead of the game. 


11.  What scope do you have?  What mount ?  Your note is a bit confusing



All user ignorance here.  I don’t think I even realized I had 3 different systems.  I have the PMC-8 and the iexos-100 equatorial mount.  Along with that the Explore FirstLight 80mm Go-To-Tracker from Explore Stars.


12.  When you get centered up in an object you can go to higher power eyepieces, line maybe 18 or 14.  At some point the planets will look worse with high power than they do with lower power. 


When it’s over you can say you saw something that won’t happen again for 800 years.  Pretty cool. 


13.  If all else fails just plop the mint down approximately north.  Turn it on and tell explorestars to goto Jupiter.   release the clutches and swing the thing around until you. Center the planets.  Then lock the clutches and press the T button and the sync button. Then use the LRDU buttons to keep the planets about centered.  It’s that easy really.  The planets are away to see with the naked eye and thus easy to get into the scope field of view without a lot of accuracy.





Thanks Wes.  I’m hoping we are successful.  My 11 year old is very excited.


Wes, Southport NC
EXos2-GT PMC-8, iExos 100
ES ED 127, 10" LX200GPS+wedge, Astro-Tech 8" Newt, ETX-90, 60mm no-name guide scope ~ 260mm FL
Polemaster, Orion ST-80 and SAG, ZWO 290MM, D5300 astro modified
Nina, Bootcamped Mac Mini control computer, RDP to iMAC
110 amp hour lead acid deep discharge battery for field power
Electrical Engineer, Retired

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