Telescope Setup Saturday

On Satruday 1st April 2023 the inaugral SIGMA Workshop took place at Lhanbryde Community Centre.

This workshop concentrated on telescope setup. There were 15 people at this event and several members brought along their telescopes for setting up and a general explanation of how they work.

Several telescopes were brought along to the event including the club Solar Scope and 6 inch Skywatcher Dobsonian. Ray Palmer brought along his setup which featured an equatorial mount capable of moving a 100kg telescope.  Several of the members brought along their telescope to setup.

Pete started the event by checking the collimation of the club’s 6 inch Dobsonian Skywatcher telescope this proved to be perfectly collimated!  Pete then went on to start the setup procedure that should be followed for a telescope when setting it up in the field. This is started by balancing by the main body of the telescope in the c clamp attaching it to the mount which is mounted on the tripod. This exercise was repeated on several of the members telescopes. Correct balancing of the scope on the mount ensures that the mount motors are not unduly loaded and the telescope is easy to move and is no danger of it toppling over.

Pete then checked the collimation of several telescopes brought along by members,  Collimation is achieved by shining a laser through the eyepiece and checking that it is centred on the main lens.  The centre of the lens is normally indicated by a doughnut stick-on feature and the laser should fall in the centre of this doughnut.  This activity proved rather difficult for some of the telescopes that didn’t have doughnut feature but they were able to be collimated effectively.

The final activity involved check in the alignment of the viewing scope attached to the telescopes.  Viewer scope alignment is carried out by selecting the lowest magnification viewing lens of the telescope then finding a feature on the horizon that is in clear view.  The main telescope is focused on this feature so that the object falls precisely in the middle of the viewing area. Then the viewing scope is then aligned so that it’s cross hairs are centred on this feature.

Several members were also instructed on the correct use of fine tuning and how to avoid collisions between the actuation mechanisms and the mounts.

The Event started at 11.00 and finished at 13.00.  Most people were very happy with the format of the event and what they had learnt. Tea and biscuits were available throughout the event.