First Light – Meade ETX-90EC – Sept 8, 2013

I had finally decided to take my ETX-90EC out to look at the sky in August.  We had a few weeks of perfect summer clear nights.  The kids were visiting my parents so no excuse not to stay up late.  I had re-read all the manuals and got everything prepared.  Then fate stuck.  The weather turned bad and the entire weekend was cloudy.  We had a vacation the following week so I resigned myself to just waiting for the next opportunity.

That opportunity came quicker than I could have imagined.  The weather forecast was for an entire week of hot days and clear nights in September.  The sun was setting earlier and the moon was also setting early in the evening.  So, I re-prepared to head out on Sunday evening, September 8, 2013.

The home position for polar alignment for the Meade ETX-90EC turned out to be very straightforward.  The Meade tripod helped with this situation.  I had also purchased a power adapter so I didn’t have to worry about batteries.  I also took out my eyepieces and red flashlight.  I add everything ready and then started the alignment using the Meade AutoStar.

The Meade AutoStar easy alignment was more straightforward than I thought.  It kind of made me wonder I didn’t try earlier.  The telescope slew to the first star, Arcturus.  I wasn’t sure if it was the correct one but there was only one bright star in the distance.  I used an app on my iPhone called Star Walk.  I was able to confirm I was in the right area.  I used the finderscope to get it closer to center and then looked through the eyepiece for finally centering.  I hit Enter of the AutoStar and it moved to the second star.  I did the same process.  However, this task was much harder because the telescope was pointed straight up and I could easily see through the finderscope.  The finderscope is a straight through type.  I had to get on the ground.  It was also made even more difficult because I hadn’t extended the tripod legs.  I figured it would be easier to be sitting in a patio chair.  Nevertheless, I got it aligned.

Then, I was at a loss.  What to a look at now?  I wasn’t prepared for the next step.  I used the AutoStar to search for a planet but none were visible at this time.  Uranus was but it was in the eastern sky which was blocked by my house.  I was out of time but remembered in the back of mind that there was a binary start in the Big Dipper so I usedg Star Walk to figure out which one and GoTo it.  I had to move the telescope to get close but there it was.

To summarize, I had finally aligned my ETX and saw something.  Not bad for my first light and first night.