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polar Alignment or not as the case may be.


simmo39
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Ok, I have just got my new HEQ5 mount and Im in the situation that when the weather clears( 6 to 8 weeks away! ) i cant actually see polars from my garden, (2 well placed trees!) Does anybody have any ideas or tips what to do?  

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I think there's a polar align function on the handset that let's you polar align on a different star. I think you set up pointing roughly north and then do 3 star alignment then the scope will allow you to align the tripod using the alt/azi but looking through the scope eyepiece on another star. Perhaps someone else knows a little more about this? I've never done it myself.

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I would find somewhere in the garden that you can see polaris, level the tripod and put polaris in the centre of the polar scope, then get a good compass and level the tripod at your normal site then use the compass to get it close, the goto will not be as good but will be close enough with a three star align, then in winter when the leaves have gone set it up properly and mark the leg locations and then you will be able to relocate your scope. (also mark the legs as you need a datum should you take your scope to another sight)

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Read up and practise as best you can what you have to do.

Set what you can before going outside.

Watch those bolts in case you have the standard soft ones, you do not want the first night to be the night you bend them and have to get it all repaired. It is easy to do.

Get used to ending up in odd positions, those polar scopes were not made for ease of use.

There may be lots of ideas thrown at you but the bottom line is you set up the mount and perform the polar alignment.

Do not forget that you are aligning the mount not the scope, where the scope points is somewhat immaterial. Until you align the Synscan but that is a different function and not to be confused with aligning the mount.

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The handset will allow you to PA using another star, do a 2 or 3 star aligne then the polar aligne option will show on the handset, i run this twice on different stars, the second attempt it hardly needed any adjustment, i did a 1 star align when i finished the PA align......

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Read up and practise as best you can what you have to do.

Set what you can before going outside.

Watch those bolts in case you have the standard soft ones, you do not want the first night to be the night you bend them and have to get it all repaired. It is easy to do.

Get used to ending up in odd positions, those polar scopes were not made for ease of use.

There may be lots of ideas thrown at you but the bottom line is you set up the mount and perform the polar alignment.

Do not forget that you are aligning the mount not the scope, where the scope points is somewhat immaterial. Until you align the Synscan but that is a different function and not to be confused with aligning the mount.

Yes, very good advice about the bolts!!  I managed to bend a bolt the first time I used my SW150PL (I have subsequently replaced the bolts).  Best advice someone gave me was to always loosen the bolts first before tightening them and also to practice turning the bolts when you are at odd angles to the mount, so you know which way to loosen the bolts.  

Pete

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As mentioned above, there are mechanisms to do non-polaris polar alignments. Simply getting close by pointing north via compass, levelling with spirit level and manually choosing latitude will work, as you can then use drift aligning methods to get it closer.

Also, be prepared for the scope to be in some crazy positions when aligning. The scope will be horizontal just to allow you to look through the polarscope anyway, and will probably move to even worse positions to get alignment.

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