Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.


Recommended Posts

POLAR ALIGNMENT IF THE POLE STAR IS OBSTRUCTED (e.g. OBSERVING ON A S-FACING BALCONY!!!) Set up your scope on the floor (assuming it's reasonably level) in equatorial mode, with a rough guess at North. Put the tube into whatever 'home' position the instructions specify, or that you have chosen. Now choose an easily recognisable bright star at mid altitude. Pretend you HAVE polar aligned, and tell the scope to go to this star. When the slewing stops lift the scope very gently and turn the mount round till the star is in the centre of the field of view and you should have a fairly good polar alignment. If you are for example videoing planets and can also autoguide, this alignment may be all you need. But you can now refine it by the drift method if you need to - see https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/accurate-polar-alignment/ This method should be quite useful for Southern hemisphere observing, where the 'south pole star' - Sigma Octantis - is difficult to find especially in light polluted skies. And of course my advice here applies if you have a North-facing balcony!


Edited by Sun
Extension of advice to southern hemisphere observers

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another method is using the polar alignment procedure is some mounts.. my CGEM has the ASPA (All Star Polar Alignment) and it's very accurate for a start... get within a few arc minutes... 

Surely the CGEM is not the only mount with such a feature.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Skywatcher handsets come with a polar align feature. I haven't used it for a while but I'm sure it uses 2 different stars for adjusting both alt and az axis. Pretty accurate for goto commands.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, David. I have Skywatcher mounts now but like you had forgotten about their refinement procedures! I quite like the Skywatcher, but in my opinion no modern mount is anything like as good as the now unobtainable and now almost unrepairable Vixen Skysensor - but that's another topic!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

For visual I found north and level worked ok even on a 2000fl sct...you could drift align if you can see south and east or west..

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By DeepSkyMan
      Hi there, our Astro group were booked into our normal dark skies venue for an observing weekend in February.  Unfortunately, the accommodations are now going to be undergoing renovation and will be closed for the first 3 months of the year.   We are looking at a couple of alternative venues.  These are field study centres, one at Blancathra near Keswick and the other Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales national park.  Wondering if anybody has  any observing experience of the skies in these areas.
      Kind Regards
    • 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 Ralphf
      Hi. Was up at dawn observing Mercury rising in the southeast and slowly swept my binoculars left. I was able to vaguely see a small triangle formed by Upsilon Ophiuchi, HR  6128 and HR 6137. That was the limit of view as sunlight was washing out anything else to the left of that. But I clicked on the adjacent HR6144 star in my Sky Guide app and it lists as being 6,900 light years away. When I checked the Ski Safari app, the same star is listed as 1,900 light years. I went online and found little info but, “In the Sky” web page it’s HR 6144 at 9 kilo years / 9,000 light years. Does anyone have any info as to why the huge discrepancies?
      Thanks in advance for your help. 
    • 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.
    • By umbilic
      I am considering buying a Skywatcher al/az+eq mount to use in alt az mode for lunar CCD photography. I currently have a celestron 11 CDC and a celestron 8 on a nexstar evo mount. I can use both these telescopes with the celestron 'solar system align' and sharp cap for short (~10 sec 300-500 frame) captures. I want to replace the nexstar evo mount for the C8 with a sturdier Skywatcher AZ-EQ 5GT mount BUT -
      1) the altz/az option is supposed to be 'for visual use'. Does this mean its tracking in lunar rate/alt-az mode is very poor ?
      2) I am confused about 'alignment' (is this only necessary to accurately access the database of interesting object positions?) The skywatcher mount does not have solar system align - but it does have lunar rate tracking in alt-az mode.  If I align on any random stars in lunar rate+alt-az mode with the moon centred in the telscope will the mount then track the moon? If not ,is there another way to track the moon ?

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.