Category : Meade LX200

Spotting the International Space Station

International Space StationIt has been an evening ritual just lately to find out when the ISS is passing overhead (via the heavens-above website) and then rush out and spot it. It’s amazing actually how bright it is, and how lots of people have not thought it was some sort of UFO.

After spotting it a couple of times, I then decided I wanted to try and get some images via my webcam and LX200, which can track satellites. I have seen video on YouTube from other people with similar telescopes and the video looks really good.

I began by downloading the latest ISS data from the Meade website, (which actually just links to another website) and installed it into Autostar.

I then read the LX200 manual about tracking satellites and I thought originally the LX200 would do everything for me and track automatically, but unfortunately this is not the case.

You actually have to allow the telescope to move in the path that the satellite is moving, but start your tracking once you see the object in the viewfinder, so really a bit hit and miss.

So far I have not managed to get it right, and track the ISS, but I’ll keep trying and see if I can get some video.

Second Night with LX200

Well tonight I managed to get a thiry minute gap in the clouds in order to get the scope out into the garden. I am still having problems getting the screw into the scope through the base, but as I had such a small window of time I did not power up the scope but instead used it to view the moon manually.

The view through the scope with the meade 26mm and my 20mm eyepieces was really good, even though clouds kept coming across my view of the moon.

I just need more time now to read the manual properly.

First night with the LX200

Well after a rushed assembly tonight in my conservatory at around 8.30pm, I managed to get my LX200 turned on whilst I got familiar with the hand controls.

After about 30mins I just had to get outside, as the sky was fairly cloudless, so out I went. The first thing that I had problems with was to screw in the bolt under the tripod, even though I have a deluxe locator plate, so heck knows what it would be like without one!

I finally got the tripod screwed into the telescope after what seemed like 15 minutes, I think the problem was that the legs of the tripod were not spread out evenly, even though they were all spread out, as the spacer kept knocking on one of the legs stopping me from connecting the bolt thread with the telescope.

If any body has any tips on how to easily and quickly connect the bolt thread to the LX200 then please tell me, like using the ‘C’ clip or using nuts etc.

I then set the scope off into its automatic alignment, although it kept asking me to identify stars (I thought it was fully automatic with GPS?), and when it did there were no “brightest stars” around, so I think I just unlocked the RA and Dec and manually moved it – which I now know is wrong and you should just use the keys on the handset instead (hey don’t blame me – I didn’t read the manual!).

So obviously when I asked for Andromeda then GOTO – it found me blank sky, and went completely the wrong direction when I asked for the Ring Nebula via GOTO. So for the rest of the evening I gave up on the GOTO until I have read and mastered the manual, instead I manually used the Dec and RA to find Andromeda etc myself.

The LX200 is a cool machine – I just wish I knew how to use it. I think practice will make perfect.

Any tips on setting up the LX200 would be welcomed.