Jump to content

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_31.thumb.jpg.b7a41d6a0fa4e315f57ea3e240acf140.jpg

Trouble and ambiguity with finding Polaris


Recommended Posts

So here is what I do, I put the mount on the ground, its leveled, after that I make sure its pointed at North using compass on iphone, adjust latitude to match mine, but nothing in the polar scope, i move the latitude up i see a bright star but no constellation, i thought that would be polaris but after getting star trails probably not.

What are tips for finding polaris? Should I polar align when its dusk, i saw that tip on an older thread? the house could be obstructing polaris, but i highly doubt that given that apps show polaris above the house and not really close.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Can't see Polaris to polar align? You folks from the northern hemisphere have it so bad 🙄

I'd work on positively identifying a few constellations first. As said, there are "pointers" and "guideposts" to help find your way. The picture below isn't a million miles away from the present

When I used to go to club meets, I often had to confirm the name of a few brightish stars (not Polaris) to folks who were setting up their GOTO's

Posted Images

Maybe I'm missing something but why not use the "pointer stars" of the big dipper? Polaris should be really easy to find, provided it's actually in your line of sight. No apps required, no compass required.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

Maybe I'm missing something but why not use the "pointer stars" of the big dipper? Polaris should be really easy to find, provided it's actually in your line of sight. No apps required, no compass required.

I agree.  I struggle to find things in the sky,  but using  the big dipper pointer stars makes it one of the easiest. 

Edited by Jason B
Link to post
Share on other sites

When using an app or compass to find North, make sure the compass or your phone isn't near the mount because the metal in the mount can affect the readings. ;)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

....and magnetic North is not the same as true North by some margin. Identify polaris by using the pointer stars of the plough and the mark 1 eyeball then align the axis of the mount with the star. Then move on to the polarscope.  There are also smart phone planetarium apps to help you identify constellations and stars when holding the phone to the night sky.

Edited by Owmuchonomy
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ddm4313 said:

So here is what I do, I put the mount on the ground, its leveled, after that I make sure its pointed at North using compass on iphone, adjust latitude to match mine, but nothing in the polar scope, i move the latitude up i see a bright star but no constellation, i thought that would be polaris but after getting star trails probably not.

You are not going to see constellation in polar scope - just a star - a bright one.

Use constellation by naked eye before you look thru the polar scope to verify you are aiming in general direction. Setting latitude and aligning to compass north is going to be only roughly accurate - it can deviate by a degree or two - enough to move Polaris outside of the polar scope - but it should provide you with good rough pointing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd work on positively identifying a few constellations first. As said, there are "pointers" and "guideposts" to help find your way.

The picture below isn't a million miles away from the present early evening view looking north. The Plough rising in the NE and the "W" of Cassiopeia setting in the NW.

Polaris is in a relatively barren patch of sky. You'll know when you have it in the polar scope. 

Image result for finding polaris

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi I set up daytime normally and I use polar alignment pro but if you have stellariaum on your phone go into search more ask it to show you Polaris your then get an arrow on the phone screen now place your phone were the telescope would mount (I use a spare dove tail with phone fitted to it ) now adjust mount till arrow points straight up  then when it gets dark Polaris will be in the polar scope some times I don't need to do any more adjustments to the mount 

Edited by Neil H
Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I'd put all the electronic gadgets in a big black bag in the house. All they'll do is ruin your night vision. We don't know where you are located so we don't know how far from magnetic north true north is for you. If you're in Iceland it could be a lot! 😄 However, I would just use a cheap magnetic compass and check your latitude, roughly. If you look north and up at the same angle as your latitude Polaris will be there if the sky's clear. Begin by getting it naked eye and fix it in your mind using local features on the ground. Don't get all distracted by gadgets and widgets.

Olly

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 I use an app called PS Align Pro, similar to @Neil H It has a daytime polar align routine which you can carry out when setting up. It is not accurate enough for good PA but it will get Polaris in the fov of the polar scope so at night it just needs tweaking 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I find Polaris quite difficult to pick out when its dark and looking through the polarscope, however its much easier during twilight/daylight or with the polarscope illumination turned up so that the dimmer stars get swamped.

Alan

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, ddm4313 said:

It shouldn't be too hard to find Polaris, but perhaps it is obstructed by the house, though it is dusk in about 20mins so will try then.

No it’s not, it’s easy, but what can be awkward is getting it in the fov of the polar scope which is where the app comes into its own

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's true , doing it the way I do I found Polaris is always in the polar scope just needs a adjustment some times no adjustment  but I did adjust led in polar scope so that must help like you said just never thought about it when I got the mount it was way to bright 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a lot of help finding Polaris for the first time, there’s heaps of good advice above, but a great help for each time thereafter:

If you have to pack away each time, always set the tripod back up in precisely the same position and identify that position by permanent markers in the ground corresponding to the location of each tripod leg foot.

Speeds up levelling and alignment no end and for visual you’d barely need to check.

This was one of the first tips given by my college lecturer back in the 80’s.

Edited by SMF
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a compass away from the mount which I shine a red light on then adjust the mount accordingly once I've done that look in the polar scope and it's usually there just needs a bit of adjustment. 

20210207_171022.jpg

20210207_170931.jpg

Edited by wookie1965
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Once you find Polaris just once from the spot where you normally set up your telescope just remember what landmarks it is above/beside.  When you stand in the same spot next time, you'll know polaris will be directly above your neighbors  chimney for example. Even if I cannot see the stars while setting up at dusk, I know that when I stand a couple of feet from the end of my steps and look directly over the highest point of my neighbors  rooftop, polaris is just above. Sometimes I manage to set up my scope precisely enough so that polaris ends up within the polar scopes FOV, Using landmarks helps for a rough alignment well before polaris is visible. my method may sound archaic but, because polaris will always be in the same spot, as long as you remember where you are standing with respect to permanently placed objects in your yard and, facing the same way, you'll be able to point to polaris very accurately, day or night.

Edited by Sunshine
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Following a chart as shown above is the easiest way. Once you see it Polaris is unmistakable. As a bright star, it's out there all on its own and bright enough to be seen even in light polluted skies.

All these gadgets and apps are just faff. Once you get used to where Polaris is (it doesn't move) alignment will take seconds.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

Following a chart as shown above is the easiest way. Once you see it Polaris is unmistakable. As a bright star, it's out there all on its own and bright enough to be seen even in light polluted skies.

All these gadgets and apps are just faff. Once you get used to where Polaris is (it doesn't move) alignment will take seconds.

I entirely agree about gadgets and faff, but I had a group of highly experienced imagers from the south of England who struggled to find Polaris at our dark site precisely because it wasn't 'all on its own!' :D But, seriously, I agree with you. There is a mania for gadgets. I have pretty much given up hope of trying to explain how to find our village. 'Follow the signs,' doesn't convince everyone. They MUST follow their Apps. Following the signs only applies to an alternative reality (the original one!!!) but following the signs takes you straight here. The wonderful Apps lead in all directions.

Olly

  • Haha 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ollypenrice said:

I entirely agree about gadgets and faff, but I had a group of highly experienced imagers from the south of England who struggled to find Polaris at our dark site precisely because it wasn't 'all on its own!' :D 

Well that’s soft southerners for you, Olly. You would not have had that trouble with @mikeDnight, @paulastro or me.
 

😊

  • Haha 4
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 Dagger
      Taken in Scarborough, North Yorkshire on 16 December 2017.
      My main aim with this image was to show those just starting out in the world of astrophotography what can be achieved on a budget with simple and affordable equipment.  Using my iPhone and the NightCap app set to Star Trails mode I captured this as one image over a period of four hours (hence the number of airplane trails!).  I then edited the image on my iPhone using the Snapseed app to darken the sky and bring out some colour in the star trails. 
      I was very pleased with the outcome given that all of this was achieved using only an iPhone and readily available, easy to use apps.

    • By Scdouglas
      Does anyone know if I'd be able to reuse the equatorial mount from the 114eq-d with a different OTA? I have the Polaris lying around since I have a better telescope but I'm looking to upgrade and not buying a new mount could shave off $100-$200. From my understanding it's only a matter of how much weight the mount can hold but I can't find that information anywhere. If anyone knows that'd be great. Thanks in advance. 
    • By uhb1966
      Night 1-first light
      Took me from 2100 to 2330 to set up all the software. Another Hour to setup scope, USB-2-serial, etc. No direct sight to polaris. Put up only rudimentary polar alignment (with compass), then astrotortilla for plate solving. Problem: as i had a massive polar alignment error, i was on target, but with a severe tracking error- exposures of only  5 seconds already showed star trails. Did a nice shot of M42 (orion nebula) nevertheless.

      (2 months break due to exceptionally bad weather)

      Night 2
      No astrotorilla available as VM software did not start. Setup only 15 minutes, but another 45 minutes to remember how to connect camera correctly to scope (was out of focus because i had a extension in-between that was unnessessary). Setup again roughly to north with compass. Entered coordinates, date,time. Start three star alignment. 4 out of 5 suggested stars covered by house. Repeated 2 times, always the same invisible stars . Sweared. Tried 2-star align, the same. Tried 1-star align-success, much bigger list to choose from for alignment stars. Wondered why on earth the programmer did these inconsistencies. Selected first star, slewed. Far off target. Finally realized that finder scope not correctly attached. Corrected this. Slew speed way too low- another 10 minutes until realized that "rate" button sets slew speed also during alignment. Success. Slewed to second star, aligned. Back to first star and realigned. Back to second star - directly in the crosshairs, mount tracks perfectly (at first sight). Relief. camera mounted and connected to laptop. Start taking images. Relized that there is still some error, but significantly lower than on first try (Okay up to 10-20 seconds). Shot images for hours until Orion reached trees. Happy

      Next up: the mystery of tracking with second cam+PHD.... If i live to see the day that we have good weather again.
    • By t0ny
      Unlike many I was fortunate enough to get an hour or so of crystal clear skies last night. 
      Up until now I have always roughly plonked my EQ3-2 due North and had fun with some observing. Last night however was my opportunity to try my new  HEQ5 (birthday present) and I thought I would set-up properly for the first time.
      Having been given some great advice on Polar alignment in another topic (I started) I was quite confident this would not be too tricky for me, I was very wrong.
      I spent the first 20 mins looking at the counterweight rod, and again nothing as the dec axis was not rotated to look through. I was just too excited and forgot everything I had read through these cloudy evenings about setting up.

      Anyway I could finally see stars after about 30mins but too many to pick Polaris. I think I was in the general direction but I could not make out which one was him. Should Polaris be really obvious to me, like way brighter? 

      Also it seemed that I had to tip the altitude back almost as high as it could point, does this seem right? I was basically sitting on the cold wet floor squinting up through the polarscope at maybe 10/15 stars with no clue what was what.
      Deflated I resorted to manually moving the scope for 5 mins before the clouds rolled in, the night a failure. 
    • By iksose7
      I was out under a clear dark sky last night, first one in a week or so and no more forecast for any time soon.
      I really want to attempt a nice deep image of Polaris, possibly showing some of the galactic cirrus clouds floating in the area. So thats what the plan was. 
      But i just couldnt get PHD to calibrate, it would get to step 61 then fail (the old 'not enough star movement') 
      I know that guiding around the pole is probably the hardest area of sky to track, so i was wondering if anyone ha any experience with this and can offer up any 'tips, trick or techniques'?
      Once i'm calibrated i'm thinking it may not be too difficult to guide as i'm only imaging at 200mm but i may be wrong. But i spent a good 90 minutes last night messing around, then gave up and slewed over to Cygnus where PHD calibrated 1st time. So its obviously struggling being so close to the pole.
      The only thing i can think of is to maybe turn my guide scope 90 degrees to the left (pointing West where it should calibrate) then hope it would produce pin point stars on the DSLR pointed at Polaris. But i have a feeling this wouldnt work due to stars in the West appearing to move at a different rate to those closer to the Pole?
      I'm very new to guiding to i hope i'm not making some simple error, hopefully someone could chime in with a strategy here?
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.