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Iris Nebula. Align Master for drift alignment?

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Yesterday I tried a new piece of software for accurate polar alignment. It's called Alignmaster and according to it, my polar alignment in alt and dec had a precision of arc seconds. Well, this is my graph in PHD. Not sure what to think about it. What do you think. Should I buy the software?

I was imaging the Iris Nebula but I didn't manage to get much detail. The Moon was around and my sky is heavily polluted. Do you need really, really dark skies for this target?

Thanks

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i use align master found its great although my mount is on the pier i like to redo PA every so often to keep it fresh, its a super program real easy idiot proof!

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Your PHD trace looks very good - but the "litmus test" for how good your polar alignment is this - you need to take a 5 minute sub unguided, then look at it in detail in Maxim (200%) and see the extent or otherwise of star trails. If there are non, or it's very minimal then you've got good polar alignment. I have purchased Alignmaster, but now routinely use Pempro which is absolutely excellent for polar alignment - it uses a software automated drift alignment method and tells you exactly how much to turn the Az & Alt knobs each time. HTH

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I agree with the last poster and would add that if your focal length is at or below 1000 mm then anyone should be able to get a nice trace in PHD or MaxIm. Alignmaster is built-in to my mount and is very easy to use to get accurately aligned on the poll to within a couple of arc-minutes. Drift alignment is the best technique but you really do need a permanent setup for this.

Edited by Darth Takahashi

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I have an evaluation copy of Pempro but it seems that you need a PhD course to start using it. It really looks challenging.

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I have an evaluation copy of Pempro but it seems that you need a PhD course to start using it. It really looks challenging.

I've had a look at it too, but it just went over my head to be honest. Must try harder .... :)

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Agreed - Pempro looks horribly daunting initially - I also passed it by for a whie until another SGL member (Whirlwind) very kindly did a demo of Pempro when I was able to visit him. Let me assure you, it really is much easier in practice! After the demo, I was able to go back home to my set-up and run it - it worked first time although it took me about 45 minutes to do. However the polar alignment accuracy was excellent, totally round stars after 5 mins unguided. After 2-3 further nights and experience with Pempro it's an absolute doddle now, and from start to finish it takes me 20 minutes. I don't think this is wasted time, since I do the Pempro usually before it's fully dark enough to do full blown imaging subs anyhow and it's comforting to know that you have the mount optimally set-up. I don't have a pier or an obs, so set-up/dismantle every time. Even with this I don't find the 20 mins on Pempro a hassle.

If you're lucky as I was to have a demo of Pempro by somebody who already uses it, I'd highly recommend it - it's by far the best & easiest way to see it in action and to be reassured that it's easy to use after all.

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I use Align Master - very easy and straight forward. Usually run two iterations but the second is normal knats wiskers stuff.

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Agreed - Pempro looks horribly daunting initially - I also passed it by for a whie until another SGL member (Whirlwind) very kindly did a demo of Pempro when I was able to visit him. Let me assure you, it really is much easier in practice! After the demo, I was able to go back home to my set-up and run it - it worked first time although it took me about 45 minutes to do. However the polar alignment accuracy was excellent, totally round stars after 5 mins unguided. After 2-3 further nights and experience with Pempro it's an absolute doddle now, and from start to finish it takes me 20 minutes. I don't think this is wasted time, since I do the Pempro usually before it's fully dark enough to do full blown imaging subs anyhow and it's comforting to know that you have the mount optimally set-up. I don't have a pier or an obs, so set-up/dismantle every time. Even with this I don't find the 20 mins on Pempro a hassle.

If you're lucky as I was to have a demo of Pempro by somebody who already uses it, I'd highly recommend it - it's by far the best & easiest way to see it in action and to be reassured that it's easy to use after all.

Really!? 5 mins unguided subs with perfectly round stars? That would remove the need for an autoguiding setup surely. I'm missing something here?

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Agreed - Pempro looks horribly daunting initially - I also passed it by for a whie until another SGL member (Whirlwind) very kindly did a demo of Pempro when I was able to visit him. Let me assure you, it really is much easier in practice! After the demo, I was able to go back home to my set-up and run it - it worked first time although it took me about 45 minutes to do. However the polar alignment accuracy was excellent, totally round stars after 5 mins unguided. After 2-3 further nights and experience with Pempro it's an absolute doddle now, and from start to finish it takes me 20 minutes. I don't think this is wasted time, since I do the Pempro usually before it's fully dark enough to do full blown imaging subs anyhow and it's comforting to know that you have the mount optimally set-up. I don't have a pier or an obs, so set-up/dismantle every time. Even with this I don't find the 20 mins on Pempro a hassle.

If you're lucky as I was to have a demo of Pempro by somebody who already uses it, I'd highly recommend it - it's by far the best & easiest way to see it in action and to be reassured that it's easy to use after all.

You've convinced me, perhaps I should take another look at it after all. Like you, I have to setup and tear down each time, but I could probably swallow 20 mins setup time if it guaranteed round stars - that would be good.

Edited by Black Knight

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I use Align Master - very easy and straight forward. Usually run two iterations but the second is normal knats wiskers stuff.

Ditto - Brilliant program, cheap and it works very well.

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