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Polar alignment tips?


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Old and decrepit as I am, I am having serious problems getting under my NEQ6 Pro mount to peer up at Polaris. I have tried using a small mirror but then I can't get my eye close enough to the polarscope eyepiece. Does anybody have any tips for geriatric astronomers?

PS. I can't get my brain round drift alignment either!

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Unfortunately that's the one angle that everyone has to cope with using an EQ mount. Some kneel on a bit of plastic or padding, or you can use a low caravan step to sit on. But there's no real solution that I know of to totally eliminate straining the neck a bit for looking through polar scopes.

If you find one - then let me know too lol :glasses1:

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Hi Vulcan,

Well all I have managed is an attempt at it. My first viewing ended up with me trying to work out where Polaris had gone when looking through the polarscope. It ended up being due to the cloud which appeared without telling me and un ordered!

I think I agree with Bran that a small stool would be the answer. Hmmm makes me realise I ought to take my footstalls for some of my garden chairs when we got to SGL6! Might give it a try the next time the sky decides to clear for me!

Best regards

Chris

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I just use a folded groundsheet under the scope. That way I can use my feet to nudge the North facing leg, or my arms to move the back legs to get PA. Yeah, I'm 'old' too and I curse if I have to get up because I've forgotten something! I use EQMOD polar align, so I have the laptop in easy reach on a table to hit the buttons.

David

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I use a home-made field target shooting seat - two lengths of 2" x 1" wood with a square section of chipboard attached to the strips (looks like a tiny square sledge!) with two thickness's of carpet tacked to the top ......

Hi Steve,

So you are sitting about 2 or 3" above ground level?

Best regards

Chris

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Yes it's a pain in the backside, and even worse if you've got a CG5 GT like me as the reticle isn't even lit.

can't webcam be used?

Tried that but the polarscope is not designed to take a camera. So tried fastening it on with string.

Wonderful I thought, but then forgot my webcam is not sensitive enough to see stars.....duh

Back to the drawing board. Would be so much easier if you could insert a camera into the polarscope.

If you've got a small camera that WILL see stars you might be able to improvise something.

Carole

Edited by carastro
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If we're talking PA for visual then a rough alignment will do. TAL mounts don't even have a polar scope (or the facility for one) so it's just a case of kneeling down and doing it by eye.

How I used to do it with mounts that do have polarscopes is to keep both eyes open, put your right eye to the polarscope (or in the case of the CG5, the hole where the polarscope goes) and your left eye on polaris. Move the mount accordingly until the two images meet. Simple!

If we're talking imaging though, the some kind of drift alignment routine is probably best as you will need accurate PA. I use WCS to help align my mount, not the most intuitive of programs but it does do the job.

Tony..

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Kneeling actually.

So, I need to steal a prayer stool then ;?/

I do need an accurate PA as I plan to do some imaging - hence the HEQ6 Pro. I will investigate the possibility of using my SPC900 and my new green laser pointer (when it arrives).

I've just got the illuminated reticule for doing a drift alignment but I have a horrible feeling that I won't be able to see the stars I need to use from my back garden because of various obstructions. Haven't tried yet. I have been making a 'platform' for my mount out of 6x2s so that once I get a decent PA, the tripod can always go back into a set of pre-drilled holes.

Edited by vulcan
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#13 chaps any answers?

The polar scope isn't much of a 'scope', I can't imagine connecting a webcam to it would do anything worthwhile.

You can use a webcam to help with drift alignment, but that's combined with a scope and a program like WCS as I mentioned previously.

Tony..

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Old and decrepit as I am, I am having serious problems getting under my NEQ6 Pro mount to peer up at Polaris. I have tried using a small mirror but then I can't get my eye close enough to the polarscope eyepiece. Does anybody have any tips for geriatric astronomers?

PS. I can't get my brain round drift alignment either!

I just use a star diagonal on my EQ6Pro. Put the end that normally takes the eyepiece over the polar scope and remove the barrel from the other end (so you can get close to the mirror). The field of view is reduced but it is usable.

Chris.

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If you want to illuminate your polar reticule Carole, try AWR Technologies they do an LED package for the CG-5 and others I believe.

Thanks. I was speaking in general terms as some kind soul has actually given me a gadget that I can insert into the aperture end of the Polarscope to light it (thank goodness).

However I still have to kneel down to look through the polarscope and I was saying it would be handy to be able to attach a camera to it.

So an adapter for the web cam needs making just as they have done for the web cam to focuser carole. ? Simple screw in job.
, Yes that's what I did when I tried to attach the webcam and it would have worked except I forgot my webcam doesn't see stars.

Anyway it's pretty academic for me now as I have a permanent set up on a pier, was just trying to help the original poster.

Carole

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Could you not use a compass to line up the mount in the right direction and then just use online resources to determine the correct dec for your location? Or would this not work?

Okay for observing but not accurate enough for long exposure imaging.

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I am just looking into adding a dual axis drive to my scope and have set the polar alignment up exactly as the last post states. How long will this give me before it goes out of sync then?

Again, it depends on whether you are just looking or trying to take long exposure photos. For your scope to track an object accurately, the RA has to sync with the movement of the Earth. Polaris is not static, it moves in a circle around the Earth's axis every 24 hours. Proper polar alignment takes this into account.

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Two things that might be useful:

One, a video that I made explaining the idea of drift alignment (turn off the audio, use the captions)

Two, a camera-based method for polar aligning that can get you within a few arcminutes of the pole fairly quickly.

http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/108643-help-me-test-my-polar-alignment-procedure.html

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