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Overwhelmed


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I am looking to buy a Skywatcher 200p with HEQ5 mount.

I have done a bit of digging about polar alignment and I'm overwhelmed by what seems like a complex operation. I would go so far as to say I am a bit put off buying a scope by it all.

Is it really as complex as it appears or can it be grasped even by an idiot like myself?

I'm sure this topic has had many posts about it in the past but if somebody could just put my mind at rest that would be great.

Paul

Edited by lavoisier
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Lots of things seem a little 'awkward' at first but very quickly you get the hang of most set up procedures quite quickly. Have you read Astrobaby's guide to polar alignment procedure? It is very good and straight forward to follow.

James

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I have a SW 200P on HEQ5 and find it's a great 'scope.

The polar alignment does appear complex at first. AB's guide makes it easier, but remember that you can use the telescope with only a rough alignment. It's only if you plan astrophotography that an accurate alignment is essential.

Adrian

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Hi, just my opinion but in the first instance forget all of the methods you are reading if they involve setting circles, etc, etc!

Google for a free program called Polarfinder and install it.

The program shows you on the computer screen what you should see through your polar scope. Turn the mount RA and adjust alt and azi until the picture and what you see match.

Simple as that.

That'll get you going. Then enjoy some observing and get into the theory at you leisure.

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Hi Paul - it's easier than you think and can be done in 5 mins once you know what you're doing. It's just a question of learning where the pole star is (easy using the plough and cassiopea) and getting the mount level and north with the tube at the correct angle for your location. :)

Edited by brantuk
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I am looking to buy a Skywatcher 200p with HEQ5 mount.

I have done a bit of digging about polar alignment and I'm overwhelmed by what seems like a complex operation. I would go so far as to say I am a bit put off buying a scope by it all.

Depends on what you want the mount to do for you. If all that you want is for it to track more or less correctly, you plonk it with the polar axis pointing roughly to the North, make it as level as you can, set the mount Alt to your latitude, and that's it.

It's going to be "good enough", and if you have SynScan GoTo (with recent firmware), the tracking will actually still work very accurately because the alignment routine will tell the mount what you've done "wrong".

If you want the mount to avoid having to use Dec guiding, or avoid field rotation when you do astrophotographical exposures of 10 minutes long, that's another matter, but it won't be your only worry :).

Is it really as complex as it appears or can it be grasped even by an idiot like myself?

The concept is simple. The more precise execution of alignment using a polar scope in the mount is already a bit more complex (especially if you want to use the markings on the mount close to the polar scope, but nobody does that; using the etchings in the glass is already complex enough and if that's not enough drift aligning is actually simpler).

Drift aligning is actually hard to understand before you do it, and becomes merely extremely tedious, long and mind-boggingly frustrating once you've done it a couple of times, but no longer that hard to understand ;).

Yes, long exposure astrophotography is not for the faint of heart...

Edited by sixela
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I think what we are all trying to say is; don't be put off, take one thing at a time, it's not as hard as it sounds.

You can actually enjoy some great views without bothering with any of it, just move the telescope by hand. They are called dobs.:)

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