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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 ?

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, lnlarxg said:

re-entered all the date/time/long&lat.

Hi. Your polar align wouldn't cause that. I think you've entered the date in the wrong format. It's MM DD YYYY so today is 10 15 2017 and daylight saving activated. Worth checking? HTH.

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you certainly don`t need to level the mount perfectly flat, there is no need, and as above, the day date should be in the american format

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Polar alignment and GoTo mapping are entirely different.  Just check the parameters you entered for the star alignment are correct as stated above including your GPS coordinates.  Your scope shouldn't be pointing straight up before alignment.  Make sure your counterweight bar is pointing down. In this position and if you have polar aligned then the scope will be roughly pointing at Polaris. 

Edited by Owmuchonomy
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also first star will be off somewhat, you then need to slew to it and sync it, then onto the second star

 

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There is more to the Home position than just the physical parking position.

Unless you have already aligned synscan (as different to polar alignment) the scope does not know where it is in RA.

For temporary and portable set-ups you can ignore the home position.

Do as you have done so far but when it slews to Vega or whatever you chosen star,  either manually slew the scope with the handset to actually centre Vega in the eyepiece or if it's really miles away, undo the clutches and slew it by hand with fine tuning on the handset after tightening the clutches again. Press accept and chose you next star, that should now land within your field of view, adjust with the handset to centre it if not already there and accept. 

If you are only doing 2 star alignment you will hopefully get an alignment successful message.

I usually do 3 stars but the third star usually lands bob-on anyway, and I'm rough, really rough at aligning! :)

Synscan is a great and very forgiving system once it knows where it is pointing. 

Edited by Paul M
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Not sure but the "home position" sounds a little odd, maybe it is just the way it is described.

Cannot see it being the date as the would mean you entered the 10 day of the 14 month and there are not 14 months. I think the handset would just ignore the 14 month input, well I hope it would or it would throw it out and you would have to enter a valid month.

Be careful of mixing polar alignment and goto alignment terms and actions up. Easily done.

Data is the obvious, you longitude is going to be East or +ve, most of use are West or -ve. Double check the timezone, seem to recall someone said it had to be -00, also the standard DST, that is still Yes or On.

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The first star alignment can sometimes be off. Assuming everything else is ok ie time, date, coordinates, home position (telescope pointing at NCP, counterweights pointing straight down), you can improve the accuracy of the first star alignment by doing a one star alignment, allow the mount to slew to where it believes the star is and then release the clutches and manually centre the star. Relock the clutches and accept the alignment (press enter on the handset). From there return the mount to the home position by selecting park mount from the handset menu. Once the mount has stopped slewing switch off and release the clutches again, manually returning the mount back to the correct home position. Retighten the clutches and switch the mount back on. Re-enter the correct date/time info and now do a one star alignment. The mount should now slew closer to the alignment star.

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Sounds like somethings amiss but don't worry it's easily rectified.couple of things to have straight in your mind first..star alignment and polar alignment isn't the same thing, polar aligning is to do with aligning to the earths axis..star alignment is to tell the mount where it is and makes the goto accurate..

A couple of things sound a little strange..you say you returned the mount to home with the scope point straight up? Now not sure totally where you live (says Essex on your page) we're  at 52 degrees in this part of the UK which means the scope should be pointing at that figure..also make sure you have entered the lattidude/longitude right on the handset and date/time in the American format..

2 other things..your polar scope may need collimating and the setting circles aligning..look on u tube..

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Thanks all for the replies, when I said scope is straight up apologies I meant it is pointing in the direction of NCP with both RA and Dec clock at 0, ie home position

will check all coordinates and manually slew to the first star during star alignment, hope he next clear sky is not 6 months away

Edited by lnlarxg

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I had some troubles with the same mount too. As I can't get Polaris in my scope anyway from my home "home" position, I just usually ignore it, and as I can see only very limited sky patch from where I'm usually viewing I just roughly align and then slew it to the patch of the sky I can see to explore it.

Now, the question. 

If the scope is polar aligned, in home position (the controller asks if it is) isn't it in itself one star alignment? At the end of the day, the mount now's my location, time and that it is in home position. On several occasions when asked to go to the first star it went off, very off. I had to stop it and then I just slew. Oddly enough, it tracked the star or other object reasonably well. And yes, the date was in correct format. 

You guys say polar and star alignments are different. This confuses me a bit. I thought I'll get it performing on a field with 360 degree view, but now you say these two things are not related, I would like you to elaborate to get a better understanding.

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Polar and star alignment are not the same thing. Polar alignment relates to the alignment of the mount , which is required for all equatorial mounts, aligning the mount with the celestial pole. Star alignment calibrates the goto systems star model onto the real sky. The home position for the mount (telescope pointing at NCP, counterweights pointing down) is the normal starting point for the alignment, but it is not a star alignment. The goto system needs a known start position so that when the first alignment star is selected it knows where to slew the mount to. It might miss the target initially, it usually does, then the target is centred using the handset. From here the second and third stars can be slewed to more accurately.

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The equatorial mount is designed so that once an object is in the field of view you only need to track it in one axis, right ascension. This is achieved by having that axis aligned with Earth's axis. That is where polar alignment comes in. Long before GoTo was invented we could have a simple motor drive (even clockwork) or hand operated knob on the RA axis that would keep an object in the field of view with minimum effort. It also meant that setting circles could be used to locate objects but in reality setting circles on mass produced amateur mounts are an almost useless novelty. 

It is important that the polar axis is aligned accurately so that only the RA axis need moving to track an object. So we make every effort to do so.

Then came along computerised GoTo mounts. They don't need to be equatorial. AltAz can be driven with a GoTo computer but it's not ideal for astrophotography due to field rotation. On an equatorial mount the computations are made on the basis that it's polar aligned but that only tells the mount how to expect the sky to move and not where in the sky it's pointing. Somehow the position encoders on both axes need to be "aligned" with a couple of points in the sky to inform the computer where the telescope is pointing.

That is exactly what 2 or 3 star aligning achieves. The mount needs to know your geographical position, your time and where the telescope/mount is pointing. Then it's away! If it's fully aligned and then placed in the home position and not disturbed it can be powered down and then GoTo operation resumed without re-alignment next time you use it. It looks at elapsed time since power down and calculates where the axes should now be pointing. But for "home" to have any meaning it needs to be place in "home" from a known position.

Polar alignment is the mechanical process of getting the mount aligned with Earth's axis. Star alignment gives the mount's software a positional fix on the sky.

 

Edited by Paul M
clarification!
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8 hours ago, lnlarxg said:

Thanks all for the replies, when I said scope is straight up apologies I meant it is pointing in the direction of NCP with both RA and Dec clock at 0, ie home position

will check all coordinates and manually slew to the first star during star alignment, hope he next clear sky is not 6 months away

I'd check your coordinates..ive not tried to manually slew to the first star but switching off and then back on I can't see that working myself..

You sound like you got the hang of the ncp etc..

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Imagine a pole running through the earth from the south to north pole. This is what we are polar aligning the mount against so the pole and our mount are parallel. This allow the mount to rotate in RA correctly. This is why the angle of the mount increases the further north or south of the equator you go due to the curve of the earth.

When we align the star we are just getting the software to work out where in the sky the mount is pointing, this info is not kept by the handset and needs to be done each time it is switched on.

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1 hour ago, newbie alert said:

I'd check your coordinates..ive not tried to manually slew to the first star but switching off and then back on I can't see that working myself..

You sound like you got the hang of the ncp etc..

You can improve the accuracy of the single star alignment by following the steps I laid out.

1 Set up mount as normal

2 Enter correct date etc.

3 Select 1 star alignment and select star to align on.

4 Allow mount to slew to star and where ever it stops release the clutches and move the telescope onto the target star. Retighten clutches and press enter to accept alignment.

5 Send the mount back to the home position using the park command. Where ever the mount stops switch off and release the clutches and move the telescope back to the correct home position, retighten clutches.

6 Switch on and repeat the star alignment. It will be more accurate this time.

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4 minutes ago, lnlarxg said:

I found this website which really is well written 

http://www.myastroscience.com/polaralignment

I blame synta or whoever owns Skywatcher for printing manuals that don't make much sense

I must agree that the box standard manual is by far the weakest aspect of the Skywatcher products I own!

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1 hour ago, Cornelius Varley said:

You can improve the accuracy of the single star alignment by following the steps I laid out.

1 Set up mount as normal

2 Enter correct date etc.

3 Select 1 star alignment and select star to align on.

4 Allow mount to slew to star and where ever it stops release the clutches and move the telescope onto the target star. Retighten clutches and press enter to accept alignment.

5 Send the mount back to the home position using the park command. Where ever the mount stops switch off and release the clutches and move the telescope back to the correct home position, retighten clutches.

6 Switch on and repeat the star alignment. It will be more accurate this time.

I will try this but my head says differently!!

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8 hours ago, newbie alert said:

I will try this but my head says differently!!

Thinking of it ,no i wont as if im releasing the clutches im no longer polar aligned..

Think I'd rather have the star a little off the first time

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2 hours ago, newbie alert said:

Thinking of it ,no i wont as if im releasing the clutches im no longer polar aligned..

The clutches have no connection to polar alignment. The part of your mount with the polar scope is static and will only move if you physically move it either with the adjustment bolts or re position the tripod. 

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11 hours ago, newbie alert said:

I will try this but my head says differently!!

The concept for doing this is to increase the accuracy of the star alignment. The theory is that the mount starts from the home position and then slews to where it thinks the first star is.  Where to mount stops slewing is usually nowhere near the star so you need to adjust the mount using either the handset or releasing the clutches and adjust the mount manually then retighten the clutches and then pressing enter to accept the alignment. By following the procedure I laid out you can improve the alignment accuracy of a 2 or 3 star alignment. Basically, it resets the home position of the mount. This does affect polar alignment, only the goto pointing accuracy.

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8 minutes ago, Cornelius Varley said:

adjust the mount manually then retighten the clutches and then pressing enter to accept the alignment

Am I right in saying you can only do this on Star 1

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I think the original poster's polar alignment routine is fine, I am sure it is just something in the data input that is wrong.  i.e. Date, time, location, etc etc

Personally I can never see how manually moving the mount by releasing the clutches is the right way to go, it will then alter the home position (OP it won't alter the polar alignment).  Surely the right way is to manually centre the star by using the handset/or EQmod (if necessary by slewing) until it is centred.  

Carole 

 

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    • By antariksha
      Abstract :
      The topic of Polar Alignment is not at all new. Lot of approaches, automation tools are available. Yet, some aspects in all the current approaches drove me towards doing some more work. The key aspects of this approach are as follows.
      Ability to do the Polar alignment without polaris sited Relatively less complexity than drift alignment Ability to address to a good extent the atmospheric refraction to finally locate correct NCP / SCP position A good starting point for amateurs who wish to graduate towards sophisticated tools and techniques Ability to quickly verify if the polar alignment is intact after one object photographed or viewed, and the equipment is being pointed to another object. This point is mentioned in light of the fact that sometimes the polar alignment gets disturbed and the next object photographed shows star trails. This is especially true if payload is tweaked for next photo imaging. What is required?
      One should have a good understanding of the sky and ability to identify stars upto Mag 4.5 using star maps and basic concepts of RA and Dec. One should have Equatorial mount with ability to fine tune Azimuth and Alt adjustments. Availability of cross hair eye piece for the ability to locate the star exactly at the cross hair point. It is good to have finder scope attached and the finder cross hair is aligned with the main telescope eye piece cross hair. Please note this technique is not for the GoTo mounts which many times have Alt-Az mounts fitted with tracking motors. The GoTo alignment is done using 3 Star method.
      However, there are a few mounts which are equatorial design and also have GoTo tracking capabilities with RA and Dec motors. For these mounts, it is preferred to carry out polar alignment. The only point about these mounts, is that GoTo should have ability to start the RA motor ( tracking) without doing the 3 Star alignment, in other words, bypassing the steps for 3 Star alignment.
      The technique is based on the mathematics around the stellar current positions precisely computed. The technique suggests NCP or SCP alignment using specific pointing stars.
      Method
      The technique relies upon pairs of stars identified such that pair has same RA or same Dec. The details about finding such pairs, are given in the next section ( Mathematics).
      Step 1
      Try to do a very coarse polar alignment using your latitude and pointing the equatorial axis approximately towards a possible Polaris direction. This is only to reduce the iterations in the method below. There is no dependency to visually site Polaris. Step 2
      Select the pair of stars of the same RA from the table 1 below. Now, while choosing the pair, please select that pair which is closest to the zenith. This will reduce the error due to atmospheric refraction of siting those stars. Choosing such pair, will get better alignment. Note that the NCP and SCP lie on the same RA contour of the pair, you have just chosen. Locate the first star of the pair in the cross hair eye piece. Loosen the DEC knob of your Eq mount. Let the RA axis not to be loosened. Further, please start the RA motor and hence the tracking. In case of GoTo capability, please ensure the tracking is On, while the 3 Star alignment being bypassed. Rotate the telescope around DEC axis such that the second star of the pair is in the Cross hair eye piece. In the first attempt, the second star almost certainly will not be at the center of cross hair eye piece. And you need corrections. At this point, take the help of the finder with its wider field of view. Identify the position of the second star whether it is below or above the finder cross hair. Adjust the Azimuth of the mount through the coarse or fine depending on how off the second star has been. o   Tip : In case, someone is facing difficulty in finding which direction to move Azimuth of the mount for correction, the following tips may be of use. A simple way to determine is to locate where the second star lies with respect to cross hair. Assume it is on the lower side of cross hair. Then the correction in the Azimuth of the mount should be such that the star is moved upward. It may be noted that your finder can be either inverting or non-inverting. Now, to determine the movement, please hold the finger on the lower side in front of the primary of the finder. And slowly lift the finger towards the center of the primary to obstruct it and continue moving upward. While doing so, please observe from the eyepiece. The blackish ghost image of finger will be seen moving. If movement is lower to upward, the optics is non-inverting. If ghost image moves from up to down, it is inverting. With this small trick, you would know how to apply correction. Once the correction is done, please point the finder to the first and then second star alternately simply by rotating around Dec axis of the mount. Both stars will be seen at the cross hair. At this point, coarse polar alignment is done. Now, please use the main telescope cross hair to locate the first and then second star using Dec axis movement. If required, please carry out the necessary Azimuth correction. Again, please use the above small trick to find out more on how to apply correction. At this point, please note that at the telescope’s high power ( with cross hair eyepiece), the Dec axis is correctly tracing two stars in your pair. Note that NCP/SCP lie on the same Dec axis. The Azimuth alignment of NCP/SCP is achieved. No more touching of azimuth knob of your Equatorial mount now. Step 3
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      Star Pairs
      Table 1 : Star pairs with same RA ( useful for Step 2 and 4)
       
      Sr No
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      Second star ( name)
      Second star HD Id
      1
      Gam Cas
      5394
      37 And
      5448
      2
      Nu Per
      23230
      19 Tau
      23338
      3
      Ups Tau
      28024
      71 Tau
      28052
      4
      90 Tau
      29388
      53 Eri
      29503
      5
      Kap Lep
      33949
      Rho Ori
      33856
      6
      The Aur
      40312
      Del Aur
      40035
      7
      Gam Mon
      43232
      Eta Gem
      42995
      8
      Eps Gem
      48329
      30 Gem
      48433
      9
      13 CMa
      50013
      V0415 Car
      50337
      10
      Omi CMa
      50877
      The CMa
      50778
      11
      P Pup
      63922
      Xi Pup
      63700
      12
      Chi Car
      65575
      11 Pup
      65228
      13
      Del Hyd
      73262
      E Vel
      73634
      14
      B Vel
      74180
      V343 Car
      74375
      15
      Iot Cnc
      74739
      Eps Hyd
      74874
      16
      31 Leo
      87837
      Alp Sex
      87887
      17
      Pi Cen
      98718
      Sig Leo
      98664
      18
      Lam Mus
      102249
      Nu Vir
      102212
      19
      Alp Crv
      105452
      Del Cen
      105435
      20
      Gam Cen
      110304
      Gam Vir
      110380
      21
      5 Boo
      120477
      2 Cen
      120323
      22
      SHT 56
      129116
      Alp Lup
      129056
      23
      Del Her
      156164
      Pi Her
      156283
      24
      102 Her
      166182
      Pi Pav
      165040
      25
      110 Her
      173667
      Phi Sgr
      173300
      26
      Zet Cap
      204075
      Gam Pav
      203608
      27
      Del Gru
      213009
      Del Cep
      213306
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      Iot Cep
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      Mu Peg
      216131
      29
      Bet Peg
      217906
      Bet Psc
      217891
       
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      Sr No
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      Second star ( name)
      Second star HD
      1
      7 Cam
      31278
      Gam UMaj
      103287
      2
      Iot Cyg
      184006
      The Boo
      126660
      3
      H Persi
      26630
      Dmi?? Cass
      4180
      4
      Pi Aur
      40239
      Iot Her
      160762
      5
      39 Cyg
      194317
      Omi Persi
      23180
      6
      Eta Peg
      215182
      Zet Cyg
      202109
      7
      Iot Cnc
      74739
      Bet Tau
      35497
      8
      Bet Peg
      217906
      Vet Cyg
      183912
      9
      54 Leo
      94601
      Alp Vul
      183439
      10
      Alp Tau
      29139
      Gam Gem
      47105
      11
      Mu Ceti
      17094
      Lam Ori
      36861
      12
      Omi Psc
      10761
      Bet Cnc
      69267
      13
      Pi Ori
      30836
      Del Hyd
      73262
      14
      3 Agr
      198026
      Lam Agr
      177756
      15
      Iot Ori
      37043
      Iot Vir
      124850
      16
      Lam Eri
      33328
      Eta Eri
      18322
      17
      The Lib
      142198
      Del Crv
      108767
      18
      Bet Cet
      4128
      Bet CMaj
      44743
      19
      88 Aqr
      218594
      Pi Sgr
      178524
      20
      88 Aqr
      218594
      Xi Oph
      156897
      21
      4 Xi CMaj
      46328
      3 Eri???
      18978
      22
      Rho Pup
      67523
      Omi CMaj
      50877
      23
      Omc Cau???
      56139
       
      61555
      24
      Bet Hyd
      103192
      43 Eri
      28028
      25
      2 Cen
      120323
      Eps Sgr
      169022
      26
      Alp CrA
      178253
      Mu Seo
      151890
      27
      Bet CrA
      178345
      Lam Gru
      209688
      28
      Phi Cen
      121743
      Eta Cen
      127972
      29
      Eta Col
      40808
       
      73634
      30
      Vel
      78647
      Gam Phe
      9053
       
      Good luck
      Ashirwad Tillu ( ashirwadtillu@gmail.com), user name ( antariksha)
    • By Phillips6549
      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. 
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      Mark
      P.S. Sorry for the huge pictures.
       
       
    • By LR Watanabe
      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.
    • By Ariasyhari
      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?
    • By Terrierist
      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
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