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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.
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.
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.
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.
Insert one screw, you are better drilling a pilot hole to help you drive the screw home without splitting your 'noggin'.
Align the noggin with your square and install the second screw.
You should now be able to rest your phone/smart device thus
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.
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.
First post here, and I'm pretty new to AP, just picked up a Star Adventurer mount a couple months ago and have been happily playing around with it with DSLR and various lenses and a 72mm Sky-Watcher refractor. I'm new to the whole setup process, and I'm trying to do a decent job of leveling the tripod/mount, polar alignment, and I should probably think more about balancing the weight of things. I've gotten some decent shots, like 60-120 second subs with up to 300mm lens. My last time out I was getting star trails at 200mm and 15 second exposures, which could have been just a sloppy polar alignment, but today out of curiosity I looked through the polar scope and rotated the RA axis 360 degrees, and I saw that the target circle jumped a few times. I'm guessing that the target circle should appear not to move while the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12 would rotate around as I rotate the RA axis. So my guess is that the polar scope would need to be calibrated?
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!