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Found 40 results

  1. isabe

    Polar Scope

    Hi, I’m looking for a polar scope for my skywatcher eq3-2 mount ASAP, please let me know.
  2. Question, is my pier out of level if I'm trying to PA (with asiair pro) and both directions are moving when I adjust the alt bolts? I can't get the mount polar aligned. Mount neq6 pro Pier mounted on a concrete slab OTA c8 with .63 reducer Camera asi294mc pro Zwo OAG Thanks in advance
  3. Beginner here who is really struggling! Apologies in advance if this is long! I only began pointing my camera up about two months ago. I have a Canon T7i. Last week my Star Adventurer Pro arrived and the frustration began. I’ve watched countless videos and know what I’m “supposed” to do - but it seems to all go out the window when I’m fumbling in the dark. I realize these questions are probably silly, but I can’t seem to find an answer online. I’ve only had three clear nights so far to practice and there’s been some improvement, but I’m way off! A pole master and/or guiding is not in the budget right now. Polaris - tripod pointing north. Level it properly. Set altitude. Look through and see so many stars and they look almost equally bright. How do you know you’re on the correct star? Last night I went out at dusk (can’t see Polaris from my yard so I have to lug everything to a different location) and that helped tremendously, as it was the only star there. But that’s not practical long term... can’t always head out that early. Should I get a laser pointer? Any other tricks or tips? PA - last night was the first time I had even marginal success. With 0 up and 6 down, I used an app to get the correct position of Polaris. I was not perfect, but close, which was a huge improvement in itself for me! I set up my camera with a Rokinon 135mm lens, balanced it, moved it to roughly the position I wanted to shoot, checked my PA and it was slightly off so I readjusted. Some time goes by and I’m noticing anything over 15 seconds has very noticeable trailing. Polaris is way off when I look in the scope. My axis is obviously turned to position the camera and I had no idea if I’m supposed to be repositioning Polaris to where it should be on a clock face - ignoring where the 0, 3, 6 and 9 are actually showing - or to realign to where it would be in relation to the numbers. I hope that makes sense! I ended up positioning Polaris where roughly 9 would be (as it was shown on the app by this time) and ignored that the number 9 was in a totally different position in the scope. Still could not get any images over 15 seconds without trailing. I’m sure my polar alignment wasn’t perfect when I started - before it all went totally to hell - but I really thought I was close and should’ve been able to get longer exposures. Any help or advice appreciated! It’s so frustrating when you go through your checklist and think everything was done correctly only to realize you screwed up bad somewhere. Balance - thoroughly understand and am able to properly balance my camera and counterweight. But I am certain that I was throwing my balance totally off when I would loosen the clutch underneath and rotate the actual camera to point in a certain direction. How do you compensate for that? The idea of moving everything back to “home” position and starting over can’t be right! Lol Anyone who stuck with me this long - thank you!!! This is completely new and overwhelming - yet very excited to learn. I don’t have the gear to get the amazing pics I see here, so trying to learn with what I do have before investing any more money. Have recently purchased the tracker, ordered a new tripod and bought two Rokinon lenses. Hubby has had enough! Lol Equipment - canon T7i, Star Adventurer Pro, relatively inexpensive tripod until the Star Adventurer one arrives, have only tried using my Rokinon 135 lens. Need to master that before I attempt anything heavier. I also have an intervalometer. Last suggestions needed - clip in filters? Which are a must? I have photoshop and Lightroom but see so many other programs. What should I consider getting down the road for post processing? Thanks again!
  4. I have an HEQ5-Pro mount, which has had relatively few outings. I also have a problem with polar alignment. I've watched all the videos (slight exaggeration - but lots) and I totally get the idea. I have a practical mobility problem in that I struggle to get myself into a position where I can look through the polar scope with any degree of comfort. I've bought a right angle prism device but still struggle really hard. It's a massively frustrating problem which is stopping me enjoying my hobby and, effectively, precluding me from starting imaging. Any hints, tips or pointers that can help and don't involve getting on my knees would be gratefully received.
  5. Hi all, as a complete beginner, who is gradually getting some kit together, the question of which Polar Alignment App I should get for my Android phone is exercising my mind. Looking at the android play store there seems to be a myriad to choose from, which do members recommend & why?
  6. In my own journey while learning this process and seeing similar areas of confusion among others, I decided to compile this FAQ. This FAQ has been put together using a combination of information from SkyWatcher manuals, my own experience and suggestions by various contributors on the forums. As most of the confusion is around the newer reticle, this FAQ deals with this in detail. Q: What is Polar alignment and why is it needed? A: Polar alignment refers to the act of aligning the Polar axis of an Equatorial mount telescope, so that it is parallel with the axis that the Earth revolves around. It makes the job of following objects across the sky much easier. Its of minor benefit to the visual astronomer but a necessity to the astrophotographer who is trying to take images of the night sky. Once a telescope is polar aligned and an object centred in the eyepiece, then assuming an RA motor is attached to the telescope, the object will stay centred. The better the polar alignment, the longer it will stay there. If no motor is attached then simply nudging the telescope around one axis will bring the object back to the centre of the eyepiece again. Q: Do I need to accurately do a Polar alignment? A: If you are a visual astronomer then its not that critical and you should be able to manage just doing a simple polar alignment by positioning the mount so that Polaris is in the centre of the reticle. But if you are doing astrophotography with long exposures then accurate polar alignment becomes critical to improve the quality of the images. Q: My reticle looks different to what is shown in the manual. A: There are 2 versions of this – the older one which has a bubble showing the location of Polaris Fig.1 and the newer one which has a clock face Fig.2. Figure 1 Figure 2 Q: How do I Polar align with the new Reticle? A: As Polaris is not located exactly at the North Celestial Pole (NCP), we can see it orbit the North Celestial Pole in a polar scope. The large circle seen in the centre of the pattern in Fig.2 is a representation of the Polaris’ orbit around the North Celestial Pole. When performing the polar alignment process, it is necessary to determine the orientation of the Polaris on the circle. The reticle is marked like a clock face with 0 at the top. Imagine this is the 12 position in a traditional clock. At the end of the initialization of the SynScan hand control, after entering the proper local longitude, latitude, date, time, and daylight-saving time, the SynScan hand controller will display the message: “Polaris Position in P.Scope=HH:MM”. Imagine the larger circle in Fig.2 as a clock’s face with 12:00 at the top, with the current time pointing to the “HH:MM”. The orientation of the hour hand of the clock represents the orientation of Polaris in the polar scope. Put the Polaris to the same orientation on the large circle to finish the polar alignment. In case you don’t use the Synscan hand controller, there are several apps available on Android and IOS which give you the position of Polaris on the clock face (such as SynscanInit for Android and Polar Scope Align for IOS). Skwatcher has their own app as well called Synscan Pro which shows the position of Polaris in the new reticle. The Polaris position also changes as time passes. The reticle displays 3 circles to represent Polaris’s orbit in the year 2012, 2020 and 2028. It also gives sub-dials at 0, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock position for year 2016, 2024 and 2032. An engraving labeled with the above years is also displayed on the right of the FOV for memo purpose. When doing polar alignment in the Northern hemisphere, the user should put Polaris on the correct circle corresponding to the present year for better alignment precision. This reticle is also covered in the SW EQ6-R manual. Q: When I position my mount in the Home position with the counterweight at its lowest point, the 0 mark on the reticle is not at the top. Is this a fault and how can I fix it? A: There is nothing wrong with your mount You just need to rotate the mount in the RA axis till the 0 is at its highest position. Now lock the RA axis and continue with the alignment process. Q: How can I ensure that the 0 is accurately positioned at the very top? A: 1) Firstly, level the mount and set it up pointing north as if making it ready for polar alignment. 2) Next use the Alt and Az bolts to centre Polaris in the reticle - i.e. put Polaris right in the centre of the cross-hairs, not on any circle. Be as accurate as you can. 3) Now using ONLY the Alt bolts, move Polaris vertically upward in the reticle from its central position until it reaches any of the circles. 4) Because you started with Polaris dead centre and moved it only vertically, Polaris is now exactly in the zero (12 o’clock) position on the circle. Now rotate the RA axis to put the reticle zero mark in exactly the same position as Polaris. Again, be as accurate as you can. 5) Lock the RA axis in this position and using a marker pen put alignment marks on the mount housing so that you can find this position again without the need to use Polaris. [Courtesy Jif001 on SGL] Q: How do I Polar align with the older reticle? A: Here is a good article http://www.astro-baby.com/astrobaby/help/polar-aligning-the-skywatcher-heq5orion-sirius-mount/ Q: How can I check if my polarscope reticle is aligned with the RA axis of the mount? A: Before using the polar scope for polar alignment, the polar scope itself must be calibrated to ensure the pattern in the polar scope is aligned to the mount’s R.A. axis. The following steps will outline how to calibrate the polar scope: This process is best done during daytime. Choose a fixed object (eg. a faraway object such as the tip of a TV antenna). Centre the reticle on the object by adjusting the two azimuth adjustment knobs and the two elevation adjustment bolts. Rotate the mount in R.A. axis for half a turn (180 degrees). Tighten the R.A. clutch after the rotation. If the object remains at the centre of the reticle in the polar scope after the rotation, then it means the polar scope has been aligned to the R.A. axis and no calibration is needed. If its not aligned, read this article which explains how to recalibrate https://www.myastroscience.com/polarscopecalibration There are also videos on YouTube that explain this process. Hope this helps. Do let me know if you have other questions (and answers) and I can add to this.
  7. Hello! This is my first post on stargazer’s lounge, so forgive me if this is the wrong place to ask. I have a SkyWatcher AZ-GTi mount (with a firmware update + eq wedge so that it can run in eq mode). I also have a Raspberry Pi 4 with INDI, KStars, and Ekos tools. I don’t have a guidescope (and my budget is extremely limited), so I was wondering if there was a way to polar align my DSLR using just the software running on the Raspberry Pi. I’m also competent in Python, if that could be useful for anything.
  8. Hi All When I use SynscanInit to help me to Polar Align, it shows me an image of Polaris against an Octans reticle (as fitted in my Polar Alignment Scope) as follows: However, when I look through my Polar Alignment Scope, the image I see is like this: It's upside down with respect to the SynscanInit view. So my questions are: 1. Is my Polar Alignment Scope fitted upside down in my mount (SW EQ3-Pro)? 2. If not, How do I read the information from SynscanInit? Should I position Polaris in the corresponding position, ie at the top of my view? Thanks in advance Mark P.S. Sorry for the huge pictures.
  9. Okay, I'll try to make this as short as possible. Info: I have a EQ5 mount (soon to become motorised and GOTO'd) and, after reading countless astrophotographers praise the QHY PoleMaster, I thought it'd be a good idea to follow in their footsteps and buy myself a PoleMaster. I saw nothing about the PoleMaster supporting the EQ5, so I thought I'd ask whether or not the PoleMaster would make my life easier by supporting the EQ5. Clear skies, Leon.
  10. So i just got my first telescope as a gift for my birthday which is celestron powerseeker 114EQ, and what i want to ask is do i have to do the polar alignment before i use it and what is the purpose of polar alignment?
  11. Hello fellow astronomers! I'm an amateur astrophotographer and a student and I made a Polar Alignment app for Android for German equatorial mounts. I kept the UI very simple and easy to use. If you would like to share some feedback, that would be very helpful. Cheers and clear skies!
  12. Hi, Please please please need some help on my NEQ6, its more about polar alignment on goto EQ mounts in general probably. Please allow me to list all the things I have done because l really want to know if I have done anything wrong during my polar alignment....as my goto can't find anything . It was last night 14th oct, my first time ever with clear sky with my first ever outdoor dressed rehearsal with my NEQ6 purchased circa 4 was ago so I did the polar alignment, i.e. I levels the whole mount first (i.e. Using a spirit leveller to make sure I have the home position of the mount 99.999% correct), found Polaris somewhere in my polar scope, centred it on my reticule cross hair, used the NEQ6's altitude (so I am only adjusting the mount vertically) nob to move Polaris on to its orbit (printed in the polar scope sight) around NCP, rotated the polar scope around its RA so the Polaris circle has Polaris inside. Rotated the polar scope again so the RA clock on the mount reads polaris's last transit (a read out from my NEQ6 handset's Hour Angle reading, verified with my polar align iOS app), and finally using both my Alt & Az bolts to again place Polaris within the Polaris circle printed out in the polar scope sight. By the way, I did all of this while the mount is switched on, mainly because I need the polar scope to have the LED on, and the handset to tell me the HA of Polaris anything wrong so far? So I at that point turned off my mount, my telescope was at a strange and awkward angle. I returned the mount to the home position by disengaging both clutches of RA and Declination (i.e. Manually returning my telescope pointing straight up). i then turned my mount back on, re-entered all the date/time/long&lat...etc, then did a 2 stars alignments , chosen my 1st star (Vega) , the mount started to slew and BOOM....., only that it ended up pointing towards something completely different.....:( i was very saddened... because that whole process took my novice self good 30-40 minutes, only to find I probably did soemthing wrong. experienced SGL'ers, help me! All I want it to take some short light frames so I can start enjoy astrophotography like your guys ?
  13. Hello. I was hoping someone might be able to help me??? This is my first post, so first off I just want to say a big "hello" to everyone here at Stargazers Lounge. My equipment is: Skywatcher ED 80 + FF/HEQ5/V2.04 Skyscan handcontroller/Tracer 12v battery/Canon 6D, I am not guiding or using a PC. My issue is......I can't get the GOTO function to work perfectly. My HEQ5 GOTO keeps on missing its target everywhere when I do a 2 star alignment. The target is just outside the field of view using a ED80 and 28mm eyepiece. When I do a 1 star alignment I seem to get much better GOTO results but start missing targets when I move further away from the star 1 used for alignment. I have done all the basics...I have callibrated the polar scope, levelled mount, entered correct info into the controller (date in US/Co-ordinates in hrs+mins) Polar aligned ok, tightened Dec and RA bolts and made sure HEQ5 is in home position before turning on the power, tried to centre the star when aligning etc. A few things I noticed over 3 nights of using my HEQ5 were: Night 1) Tried a few two star alignments with Alkaid and Betelgeuse but i found that the Goto was off on Jupiter and the moon in the East. I could see the light of the moon through the telescope but had to the center using the handset. Same issue with Jupiter.Tried again from scratch 3 times but always the same result. I used the same alignment stars because I'm not so sure on others yet apart from the obvious and some of those were not on the list the skyscan controller gave me.I gave up on the goto in the end and just looked at Jupiter and the moon for a few hours....they were superb, I was amazed at how far I could push Jupiter with the ED80, almost better than my 200p in ways.I can see why people like refractors! Night 2)Set the mount up. Tried the same 2 stars and got the same result.However this time I tried some targets to the West in Auriga without thinking about it and the Goto seemed more accurate????Is this because I aligned with Alcaid near the North and Betelgeuse in the West, therefore it tracks better in the Western side of the Meridian? Night 3) I then tried out a 1 star alignment just to see what the difference would be (I used Alkaid) I can get M51 and M101 bang in the centre of my Canon 6D but M81/82 start to appear to the top left corner and not in the centre....the tracking seems to be going off the further I move away from my alignment star.I then chose M44 in Cancer because it is to the South and it was off in the frame to the left, like the 2 star alignment was giving me......I assumed though that maybe this is the case with one star alignment, it can cope in an area near the alignment star but as you move further away it gets worse???? Using the 1 star alignment gave me a chance to do a bit of imaging for the first time so I stuck with that. I have not tried 3 star alignment yet and I know that this helps compensate for cone error...I will be trying this next anyway to see what I get. Is there a way to get the Goto to work on targets all over the Sky? Do most imagers just choose a star near the area of sky they want to image in and use the 1 star alignment?? For visual I thought the 2 star alignment should work but to be honest the 1 star was better!! I would really like to get the GOTO to work on any target i choose wherever it is in the sky. Anyway I've just started so I have a lot to try and experiment with but I thought I would try some suggestions here because I might be missing something obvious? Any help would be fantastic Thank you and clear skies to all. PS.I have included 3 pics to show how the first 2 targets are central but the third is starting to go amiss.They are also my first ever Images so thought I would share. If anyone knows what those black marks are on my images any advice to get rid of them would be really usefull...looks like something on the sensor...or from deep outer space..lol.
  14. I often read that leveling your mount is nonsense or a ‘myth’… Although it is not absolutely necessary to level a GEM to achieve good polar alignment, leveling is a very easy and handy way to make the first step into polar alignment, for the simple reason there is a relation between level and latitude. Latitude is always measured as a deviation from level, so why not start with level in the first place? When leveled you can use the marks on the mounts latitude adjustment scale to get a rough alignment together with azimuth adjustment. Yes, without leveling you can get polar alignment as well, but it is a lot harder, because there is nothing to start with… Especially when you cannot see Polaris at your favorite site, it is a good idea, to go to a site where you can see Polaris and prepare your mount for ‘blind’ pa, by leveling it as precise as you can, do a polar alignment as good as you can and leave the settings as they are for your next session at the ‘blind’ place. On that place point your mount roughly North with the tripod or azimuth adjuster and level again as precise as you can . Then slew to a star that you can see (preferably South) about the same latitude as Polaris. You will need to adjust azimuth to get it centered, and maybe a little tweak with latitude (because of ‘flaws’ in your bubble level), but it should be very close if you did a precise leveling... Simple one star polar alignment on a place where you cannot see Polaris! For imaging this alignment procedure together with the use of PHD will be (reasonably) ok as well.
  15. Hi there in prepping for a dark skies expedition in November last year, I discovered that the reticule in my Vixen PAS had come away from its retainers and was rattling around in the scope. I duly got in touch with Opticron (Vixen reps in U.K.) and they were happy to repair under warranty. After a couple of weeks I received delivery of the supposedly repaired PAS, only to discover that the reticule had been placed upside down in the PAS. The PAS was then sent back to Vixen UK in December, who promised that they would fix the error and ensure that the PAS was accurately calibrated. So after waiting about 4 weeks, I received a 2nd delivery of the PAS, installed the scope in my SXW mount, and set about checking the calibration again, only to discover that the calibration was off by about 30 degrees. Communicating with the rep at Vixen UK, he apologised and said that they would replace the scope free of charge. The following day he emailed me to tell me that Vixen no longer manufactured the setting circle based PAS , it has now been replaced by the new Polar Scope P-FL and that they would send me the new product instead. Quite happy with this arrangement I waited just 48 hrs to received my new all singing all dancing P-FL. This new device utilises a 3 star alignment process to achieve polar alignment. So the old PAS was swapped out and sent back to Vixen, and the new PAS installed. Familiarising myself with the new process I found that the quality of the optics in the PAS appeared to be sadly lacking. Once focused, the image of the reticule in about the centre 1/3 of the FOV was crisp, however outside of this area the image of the reticule quickly becomes blurred. The fact the other two stars involved are at the extreme of the field of view, I can only I imagine using this in the field may prove rather frustrating as you go through the iterative process for the 3 star alignment. Apologies for the diatribe, however this whole experience has led me to wonder about the quality of goods coming out of Vixen at the moment. Does this experience match with anyone else out there? Has anyone used the P-FL in the field, are my concerns needless or am I destined for more fruitless backbreaking, neck straining experiences at my PAS? Kind Regards Paul J.
  16. Hi, I'm new to GEM. Got a new SkyWatcher EQ5, and the enclosed reticle has me puzzled, see pic. I'm on the Northern hemisphere, but the only depicted constellation is Octans. And I'm missing the small circle to capture Polaris in. As the enclosed manual describes polar alignment with the more frequently seen reticle, as do numerous vid.s and how-tos on the web, I'm a little lost here. I suppose I have to rely on some smartphone app to tell me, where on the dial to place Polaris at a given time?! And is that reasonable? Any help greatly appreciated. Bjorn
  17. Hello all. I've recently come across a great app - before I go any further, I have no interest in this app financially at all. As a newcomer to the hobby, I have found polar alignment quite challenging what with learning where Polaris is at any given point and how to align with a polar scope. I've got a QHY Polemaster but that doesn't let me set up in the day or at a location where Polaris isn't visible. Along comes PS Align Pro and although I'd used it for levelling the mount and the weather forecasting side of things, until today I was unaware that you can use the app to ROUGHLY polar align during the day/when Polaris isn't visible. Hopefully, this set of images and step-by-step instructions will help another newcomer like myself to get somewhere near polar alignment without a significant purchase, I think the app cost me about £3.00. On opening the app you set up your time date and location, after this you can change to various polar alignment reticules, make calculations and allsorts with this app, it is quite astounding. So, how do you align during the day? You'll need a piece of timber that is a similar width to your Dovetail/Scope mount, two short screws, a means to cut a piece of wood for a smartphone holder, a means of setting the wood square and some good old elastic bands. Step one Remove your scope from the mount and try your selected bit of timber in its place, we're using timber to 'try' and stop any metallic interference between mount and phone. Don't clamp it too tight, you may well damage or split the timber, tighten it just enough to get a good hold. Step Two Cut a 'noggin' from the end and make sure it has a square/level edge, this can be done with a simple set square etc. Step Three Insert one screw, you are better drilling a pilot hole to help you drive the screw home without splitting your 'noggin'. Step Four Align the noggin with your square and install the second screw. You should now be able to rest your phone/smart device thus Step Five Transfer the timber to your mount and attach the smart device with the super technical 'laccy bands! The image in the back is me and the Missus in Monte-Carlo BTW! Step Six, level the mount. You can use your preferred method or use the apps own level and compass bearing to roughly point you in the right way. Now, click done on the app and press the icon that looks like the sun, this will bring up the day time polar alignment module. If you're somewhere near, the app will look like this Follow the prompts (seen above as Up and R, note the arrows) and adjust your RA/DEC adjustments, the cross will start to move. Your aim is to get it looking like this or with the centre a little bit closer, I couldn't get it just right whilst screen-shotting the image! That's it!! You're somewhere near polar-aligned during the day or if Polaris isn't visible, this may not be good enough for no-trail images, but it will get you a lot closer than guesswork. Step Seven Replace scope onto the mount and you should be good to go, check your PA when it goes dark, there are other parts of this app that will help you with that too. Really hope this helps someone. Kev
  18. Hi all, First post here, and I'm pretty new to AP, just picked up a Star Adventurer mount a couple months ago and have been happily playing around with it with DSLR and various lenses and a 72mm Sky-Watcher refractor. I'm new to the whole setup process, and I'm trying to do a decent job of leveling the tripod/mount, polar alignment, and I should probably think more about balancing the weight of things. I've gotten some decent shots, like 60-120 second subs with up to 300mm lens. My last time out I was getting star trails at 200mm and 15 second exposures, which could have been just a sloppy polar alignment, but today out of curiosity I looked through the polar scope and rotated the RA axis 360 degrees, and I saw that the target circle jumped a few times. I'm guessing that the target circle should appear not to move while the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12 would rotate around as I rotate the RA axis. So my guess is that the polar scope would need to be calibrated?
  19. Does anyone have any tips or advice on polar aligning my Newtonian reflector and anything on aligning my right ascension setting circle? It has a RA vernier scale and this will be my first time doing all this once the weather clears up.
  20. Near perfect polar alignment with the synscan? I doubt it, but the proof will be in the proverbial pudding. There's too much of a moon for serious imaging, but I need more training in guiding. Hope tonight there will be opportunity for that. Btw, 2-star alignment with a 2 x barlowed 17 (?) mm eyepiece with homemade reticule resulted in these numbers. The second alignment star was pretty much spot on without adjustment, so there's hope.
  21. With EQ5 Synscan there are 90 stars embedded for polar alignment (source: http://www.vcse.hu/konyvtar/Cikkek/SkyScan_Alignment_Stars.pdf) and I was fiddling with NEQ6 the other day and it only showed me 20-odd stars. Could it be that Synscan is "hiding" the stars that are below horizon or close to it so that they don't appear or does it really have fewer stars for polar alignment?
  22. I was wondering if anyone know the diameter of the etched reticle of the Star Adventurer polar scope I experimented a little in the past years with a diy polar scope for my barn door tracker,using this useful article: http://www.marcellocucchi.altervista.org/cannocchiale_polare.pdf Italian pdf,I or Google can traslate as needed. The polar alignment was as fast as roughly pointing in the pole area,move the "mount" up,down,left,right to center all the stars in the relative circles,done. My reticle was as this one: this is one of the best shot I got, with the barn door tracker and the custom reticle,179 s at 300mm: Significant exif data: Would this be an improvement over the SA standard reticle? I think it should allow faster polar alignment and no need to have apps or software to get the position of Polaris Comments/feedback welcome! Andrea
  23. Sincere apologies if this has been covered previously in the numerous newbie SA questions. I had a search here and on Google using many different ways of asking but can't quite find the answer. I've just received the SA astro imaging bundle and have been familiarising myself with it before the skies clear. Am I right in assuming that by setting the date/time to October 31st at 00:00 is just to align the polar scope reticule squarely? As I understand it, once polar alignment is completed, it will rotate as the L bracket and camera are positioned. I have the PS Align app on my phone and the reticule set in that matches what I can see through the polar scope (clockwise 0, 3, 6, 9) so I think I'm on the right track and know what I'll need to do there. However, the month markings on my SA have a wider division at the end on the October range, as do all the months with 31 days. You can see them in the attached pic. The only images I've been able to find on-line (and the diagrams in the manual) show equal divisions throughout. So, I guess what I'm really asking is, do I align as per the attached photo with the 0 on the last division mark in October? The reticule looks pretty level to me but I didn't know quite how crucial it was. (I'll try not to have such a rambling question next time.) Simon.
  24. Hey guys, following on from my last thread regarding drift alignment issues, I finally (after a year and a half of trying) managed to get what seemed to be precise polar alignment using the drift method. The goal of this is to get long(ish) unguided subs. My setup is a Skywatcher NEQ6, SW 80ED Refractor, Canon 100D DSLR and i'm using BackyardEOS to control the camera. I don't yet have a focal reducer or any form of autoguiding. Here is an image of my altitude alignment (using the D.A.R.V method), using a star at around ±10° dec from the celestial equator, as near to the east horizon as possible. (Apologies for the poor image quality - I had to use my phone camera since print screen didn't seem to want to work on the laptop). And here is my alignment for the azimuth (taken near the meridian at ~0° dec). I spent hours trying to get both as precise as possible - I think more precise alignment would have been next to impossible for me to do. Regardless, after finally feeling like i'd got good alignment, I went to take an image and I was pretty disheartened. A 30 second exposure left me with significant star trails. The longest subs I could get without trails were ~15 seconds. After nearly a year and a half of just trying to get good polar alignment, it feels like a bit of an insult, especially given that people often talk about getting 30-60 second unguided subs. But, i'm determined to eventually get there. So my question is, why is this happening? Could it be that my mount is flawed or damaged from the time I dropped it on my head? Do I just not have enough practice making the small adjustments to the mount required for unguided subs? Could balancing play into this? I've tried to balance my mount as best I can, but the dec axis is still heavily skewed towards the back/camera end of the scope and i'm unable to move the scope any further forward on the dovetail to counter this. Or could this be that i've simply hit the limit of my setup? I was always intending on buying an autoguider once I was familiar with my equipment and able to get good polar alignment, but would it be worth it? I'm a bit worried that if I can't get better alignment, an autoguider really isn't going to make much difference (and at best give me bad field rotation). Alternatively, are there any other methods of polar alignment I could use? I don't really want to use the polar scope method, and would prefer drift alignment if possible. I'm aware that pHd has a drift alignment procedure, and i'm tempted to try it if I do end up getting an auto guider. Any help or discussion is much appreciated! Cheers, Crowmium.
  25. Night 1-first light Took me from 2100 to 2330 to set up all the software. Another Hour to setup scope, USB-2-serial, etc. No direct sight to polaris. Put up only rudimentary polar alignment (with compass), then astrotortilla for plate solving. Problem: as i had a massive polar alignment error, i was on target, but with a severe tracking error- exposures of only 5 seconds already showed star trails. Did a nice shot of M42 (orion nebula) nevertheless. (2 months break due to exceptionally bad weather) Night 2 No astrotorilla available as VM software did not start. Setup only 15 minutes, but another 45 minutes to remember how to connect camera correctly to scope (was out of focus because i had a extension in-between that was unnessessary). Setup again roughly to north with compass. Entered coordinates, date,time. Start three star alignment. 4 out of 5 suggested stars covered by house. Repeated 2 times, always the same invisible stars . Sweared. Tried 2-star align, the same. Tried 1-star align-success, much bigger list to choose from for alignment stars. Wondered why on earth the programmer did these inconsistencies. Selected first star, slewed. Far off target. Finally realized that finder scope not correctly attached. Corrected this. Slew speed way too low- another 10 minutes until realized that "rate" button sets slew speed also during alignment. Success. Slewed to second star, aligned. Back to first star and realigned. Back to second star - directly in the crosshairs, mount tracks perfectly (at first sight). Relief. camera mounted and connected to laptop. Start taking images. Relized that there is still some error, but significantly lower than on first try (Okay up to 10-20 seconds). Shot images for hours until Orion reached trees. Happy Next up: the mystery of tracking with second cam+PHD.... If i live to see the day that we have good weather again.
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