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Polar alignment of my HEQ5 mount

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Hi all.

This is my first post, and I think the answer might be an obvious one and easy to answer!

I've recently got a heq5 mount from my friend, but I'm struggling to get the polar alignment setup.

So basically, when I look through the eyepiece on the mount, does the circle where I need to align polaris up to actually have to align with the polaris star in the sky? The problem is its a bit faint where I am, so to accurately polar align would be quite tricky.

Sorry if this is a desperately stupid question, and I would be really grateful if someone could post to links to some pages with an idiots guide to polar alignment and setup of the heq5 mount so I can use it for astrophotography.

Thanks :-)

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Here is a link to a downloadable instruction manual for the HEQ5, polar alignment begins on page 10:


The document is in PDF format, if you don't have ADOBE reader on your PC then download it here:


The polar scope can be difficult to use as it has a rather small aperture so Polaris is not that bright in the finder but remember to leave your eyes to become dark adapted before trying to use it.

Many people just rush straight out of their lighted rooms as soon as it get dark and don't leave enough time to get their night vision working before trying to align the mount.

For astrophotography the polar scope will only get you so close, it is not accurate enough because it has to cover such a large angle of view so you will need to refine the polar alignment, either by visual drift alignment or using add on PC software if using a CCD camera.

Basic polar alignment using the polar scope will usually just get you close enough to take 30 second un-guided exposures.

I read on one of the threads here that there is a new SYNSCAN firmware update released that includes a refined polar-align procedure for astrophotography but I haven't updated my handset yet to try it.

Here is a link to a document that describes drift alignment, I use this method with my HEQ5 PRO and DSLR and don't have a PC with me, this allows me to take up to five minute unguided exposures.

Manual drift alignment takes about twenty to thirty minutes, maybe a little less once you've done it a few times.



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Thanks for the replies. I will have a look at those links in morning.

If I had another scope that I have seen people use as a guider scope with a camera attached, would I still need to polar align the mount, or could I use some software to track a star using the guide scope?

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Yes, you still need to polar align even if using an auto guider, you can use a stand alone guider that doesn't need a computer such as this one:


But for maximum accuracy and control then you would need a laptop and separate guide camera, this also gives you the option to make a refined polar alignment using software running on the PC.

The best results in astrophotography depend on making the smallest tracking corrections during exposure and this is only possible if you have very accurate polar alignment.


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