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QHY PoleMaster


johnrt
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The link below is to a first-light photo of Polaris and associated star field through the PoleMaster Electronic Polar Scope. This is a saved-bmp using the software supplied with the camera. This is the focus achieved right out of the box. No adjustment necessary in my opinion. I was not able to check the accuracy of the polar alignment with PHD2 because clouds rolled in and obscured everything. In fact, I think you can see some cloud wisps in the posted image. I will post more later (probably the end of the week) when I can put the camera through its paces.

First Alignment shot with PoleMaster

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Many thanks Dave! It is amazing how little information is available on the interweb when it comes to specific details...lots of pretty photos all copied from the original source.

Doing a plate solve on it reveals that it is more like 10.9° x 8.14° rather than the quoted 16° x 10° degrees...this equates to a radius of 6.79° which is quite similar to regular polar scopes.

I was quite interested to read that the PoleMaster software is only valid until June 2016 due to precession.

Thanks again!

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Thanks for posting the pic.  I was comparing it to Stellarium and the faintest star I can identify if a 10 mag.  I don't think that too bad but I don't know how dark the skys are where that image was taken.  

I just ordered one from Astrofactors here in the States. They said it will ship in the morning.  

Never heard or even considered that the celestial pole was mobile. Still learning every day.

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Never heard or even considered that the celestial pole was mobile. Still learning every day.

Fire up Stellarium and search for NCP (wait for it to solve NORTH CELESTIAL POLE) and than hit enter.

Click to show Equatorial Grid

Zoom in until Polaris is nice and visible.

Open up the Date/Time window

Advance the year and watch Polaris "walk" as the years go by...

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It would be interesting to polar align as accurately as possible using the polarscope then see how far off Polemaster thinks it is. They quote an accuracy of 30 arc seconds for Polemaster, I'm guessing a polarscope alignment is nowhere near that accurate?

Edited by RobertI
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When I took this photo the sky was not that dark. The glare of St. George's lights plus the Christmas yard lights of neighbors sees to that. Despite this, I can see Milky Way from my driveway, my "observatory" location. There are no street lights in the area of St. George where I live. However, I had to increase the exposure and gain to get that detail. Leaving the camera at the base exposure and gain one could see Polaris easily, but the associated star field was a little dim. I think I went up 2 clicks on the exposure and 1 click up on the gain (using the controls within the PoleMaster program) during this alignment session.

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I was quite interested to read that the PoleMaster software is only valid until June 2016 due to precession.

Actually, looking into this a little, I don't think this will be too much of a problem.

They say v1.08 software only operates from Nov2015-Jun2016, but the software on the website (which is downloadable free) is already v1.10.  Presumably, all that will be required is to make keep an eye on the version being used and update before the expiry date.

In fact, I wonder if the short time-span (and therefore frequent updates) will not be an advantage in making it more accurate.

Thanks.

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Doing a plate solve on it reveals that it is more like 10.9° x 8.14° rather than the quoted 16° x 10° degrees...this equates to a radius of 6.79° which is quite similar to regular polar scopes.

I see that they have updated their website to reflect this...now stated to be "11 degree * 8  degree"...

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I tried out my Polemaster tonight before clouds rolled in and even though the instructions leave much to be desired, I was able to follow the steps and achieve alignment. I was concerned that the hazy and severely light polluted urban sky I live under would cause problems finding reference stars, but the camera software gave plenty of headroom for gain and exposure. It would be nice to see a better translated set of instructions and some dark frame subtraction added to later versions. Perhaps some auto precession compensation could be added as well?

I'm hoping to actually run some imaging and obtain some PHD graphs if the dang clouds would just stay away long enough to do so! This appears to be a promising product!

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I received mine last Thursday and got to use it last night, but through a fairly substantial cloud layer.  The clouds never cleared enough for imaging but I did get PHD2 guiding. I also ran the PHD2 drift align to double check the PA.  I also video taped the whole procedure from hardware/software installation and first light tryout. I am producing a review video and will share the link when its done.  But let me say preliminary results are very promising.  I got around 1 arc minutes of error with abhorrent seeing conditions.  Yes the English is broken, that will be remedied, but once you understand what they are getting at you don't need to read. It is rather ingenious. A couple mouse clicks, and a slider then a few EQMOD east slews, a few double clicks, park the scope, then your adjusting bolts, then a few more clicks and then fine tuning the bolts.  Once Im used to it, ya 5 minutes tops. And if it can get sub 1 minute accuracy it will have saved quite of bit of my hair from being pulled out.  To be able to look at the screen and adjust so the two circles overlap is just idiot proof. I'll save my opinion of the cost/value until I get a thorough test and before and after subs at 600 and 1200 seconds.    

20160102 171536

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I've been following the Cloudy Nights thread on this and it seems like the original work was done by a guy called Rick Kellogg a few years ago.  He wrote a paper with examples and code in which he expressed a hope that it would be taken up by makers of guide programs; this could be just co-incidence of course but PoleMaster does seem to follow the original work quite closely.

Here's a link to the original paper: http://www.syracuse-astro.org/pdf/2012_August_R_Kellogg_Electronic_Polar_Alignment_Scope.pdf

Quite an interesting read I found.

Robert

I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I'm h....  sorry it must be the weather  :confused:  :mad:
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Seems to me most imagers likely already have the necessary hardware (a guidecam and preferably separate guidescope, but the main scope would do if focal length is short). All that's lacking is the software. I had thought some ago of trying to use a plate solver and just rotating the RA axis to 3 points, then calculating the offset in Excel or something. Whatever, I don't see the purchase of an additional camera + lens is really required.

ChrisH

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This device mounts to the Polar Axis. Not sure if that is integral to the functionality. A similar adapter could be made to adapt a Lodestar with a simple lens to the polar axis.  But its the software that is really ingenious.  Took my about 5 minutes tonight to get my PA to this accuracy.  

Polemaster_Guidegraph2

Getting back that better part of an hour not having to fiddle with rough PA then drifting gave me at least 5 additional 600s subs.  It will return the investment soon.  And it works with Win 10.
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I finally got to test it out a couple nights ago. I am so happy, this makes life so much easier for those of us who have to set up each night. It took about 5 minutes to polar align. This was my PHD graph when I came back after a couple hours. Clouds had just rolled in hence the crash at the end.

post-29973-0-01993100-1452082348_thumb.p

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I finally got out last night, polar alignment took less than 10 minutes (this is the second time I've used the Polemaster).  The attached is an uncropped 15 minute sub of M42 through my 130PDS.  I'm happy, I usually spend much more doing a drift align to get close to this.

Cheers

Ross

post-31327-0-46817000-1452248521_thumb.j

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A whole clear night last night, and awesome guiding thanks to the Polemaster. I really am impressed.

Lakeside auto focuser dispatched today, really looking forward to simplifying as much as I can, spending less time fiddling in the dark, more time imaging.

One thing I forgot to say, I was worried beforehand that the Polemaster would not be able to detect enough stars seeing as I live in London. It's not a problem at all, I'm not even running the maximum exposure settings and it detects loads of stars. It's very sensitive.

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For those of you that have this device, what sort of situation would make this device worth it and what are the main benefits you have found?

At the moment I guide for 20 minutes on my HEQ5 with a normal polar alignment and it isn't a permanent setup.

It does seem quite a lot of money for something that I can do manually anyway.

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The main one for me is simply time. Decent polar alignment for imaging takes 5 minutes, I used to lose the first chunk of every session drift aligning, to try to get rid of field rotation. Now I spend the bulk of that time taking subs

Cheers

Ross

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

Edited by sidelight
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