New user General comments and Polar Scope USe

Wes Mcdonald

Hi guys, I am a new owner of an EXOS IIGT PMC-8 and though I would share my observations and also ask a question concerning the polar scope.

I have managed, without that much effort, to get POTH connected and use ASCOM via POTH to hookup Cartes du Ciel to the scope and control it nicely.  Had no success with Stellarium, but I believe I was misusing the ASCOM drivers, haven't gotten back to it yet.  I am running this on a Mac Air in a Windows 7 bootcamp configuration.  Some wit once stated the Mac runs windows better than a PC...not sure that is true but it has been pretty trouble free.  I only use the Mac Windows for astronomy programs that require Windows.  The trick to getting the POTH connected is to put in the correct IP address into the driver setup.  As one of the photos show it has to be the default server address used by the PMC-8...not the actual PMC-8 IP address reported by windows, which in my case was (the server is  I still don't know what to do with the network settings in Cartes du Ciel, but I left them at their default value and things worked fine.  BTW, the Stellarium error I got was the same as that shown in the photos in the photo section for the Group, Async move error or some such.  My only remaining problem is POTH crashes and seems to be doing so with increasing frequency.  Anyone have this issue?

I am intending to use the mount for an AT8 newt.  I  have mounted it and moved it around, all ok, sort of.  the scope weighs in at 20 pounds, and all seems ok so far.  But I did run into some interference of the telescope body with the mount.  Haven't tried to figure out what to set where to avoid this.  Not sure I have a handle to pull on -- only can control the meridian flip via POTH (I think, haven't actually been able to get that to work).  Any ideas concerning definition of "keep out" zones for the mount would be appreciated...Also, if anyone knows where one can get a pier extension for the mount that might help.  This problem is probably my biggest issue at the moment.

Plan to buy a cheap Windows 10 tablet, 2GB ram, 32GB memory plus microSD slot and run ExploreStars app.  Still noodling what to buy.  Pretty sure it is not critical, given comment elsewhere that a fellow used an old Slate 1 to good effect.  Primary requirement, once the computing needs are met, is the battery life. 

The other night I decided to see if I could do a polar alignment, as we finally had a clear night around here.  I found the polar scope pattern a poor match.  Observing Polaris with binocs clearly showed the four etched stars and Polaris, and demonstrated via Kochab the correct orientation required.  I was at Polaris hour angle of about 18:00, more or less.  In the polar scope Polaris was clearly visible, as well as the four other stars....but I'll be darned if I could tweak things in to where the four stars and polaris all went where they are supposed to be.  The visual error was that the position of polaris was rotated above the small circle in the reticle when the four other alignment stars were positioned...and there seems to be no happy medium which satisfied me that things were about right. Has anyone else had this problem? The manual does state the alignment will not be perfect....but in the face of imperfection, what should be made closest -- polaris at the circle fiducial, or the four star pattern?  Why is the pattern not better?  Is the pattern sensitive to a latitude assumption?  I am at latitude 34 north, about.

I am not a complete newbie to astronomy, I have been using a 10" Meade LX200 GPS for about 3 years.  But this is my first GOTO equatorial mount.  I do use my Meade on a wedge, and in fact I am a clod in getting it aligned...but it helps a lot with its software and I can do it pretty well sometimes.  But the EXOS brings a whole new meaning to setting circles.  I could use a quick hand with setting the scope RA to a star hour angle, at least for Polaris.  It seemed to me that the proper orientation of the weight bar, when I was trying to align the polar scope etching with the stars, was to the right as viewed from the south side of the scope to the north.  What would be helpful would be a way to glance at the sky to see where Kochab and Polaris are (and thus the approximate place of the north celestial pole), use the Polaris hour angle (obtainable from lots of places at the moment you want it) and rotate the RA using a  number on the RA setting circle to get stuff really close, then tweak in using the polar scope pattern (or a pole master which is what I am going to use, bought one awhile ago to align my Meade).

I know, TLDR.  But thoughts appreciated.




I made an 8” PVC pier adapter for like $25 using 4” diameter PVC for my AVX. There is a thread with steps on how to do it at cloudynights. Took about an hour to make and now no issues with 8” newt slewing to zenith. It can now go a little past the zenith before needing a flip.