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Polar alignment

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Hello everyone,

I've recently (4 weeks ago) bought a Skywatcher 200 P & EQ5 mount. So far love it & have used mainly for viewing & a bit of practice astrophotography.

However the main purpose is for astophotography. So have bought & fitted a dual axis tracker.

Next clear night I want to give this a go.

My main problem, is I can't see Polaris for alignment (I use the patio at the back of the house). I think it's going to be out of sight behind the house.

Any help / ideas as to what I can do ??

Thank you.

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Hi Scarlet, welcome to the forum.

mmmm, I think you will need to maybe try drift alignment to nail this one.

Do a search on the forums here as there is lots of discussion on drift alignment.

There may be other ways of achieving alignment which Im sure others will chip in with.


Edited by Digz
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Uhmm... tad difficult that one, especially as the one key factor for long exposure astrophotography is accurate polar alignment. However for imaging planets and the moon you might be able to do an approximation simply by pointing the polar axis north and having the latitude set as near as you can to that of your location.

There are utilities such as EQ align, and there are things like the drift method on a visible star - Just google the question and there are lots of suggestions such as AstroChris - Polar Alignment

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You don't need to see Polaris to adjust your alignment.

You can use a Compass to position your Mount To the North.

Find your latitude on Google, and set your mounts Latitude accordingly. If you need use the latitude adjusting bolts, then be careful, as they can bend out of shape. Make the adjustments with the OTA off the mount. OTA, meaning the Optical Tube Assembly, just in case you are unaware of what OTA meant.

You then need to check the alignment to the Celestial Pole, by the method explained in the following instructions.

These are old, but still valid. Make sure your tripod is level before you start, and also any other time you set up for imaging.

Once you have the alignment set, you can mark the tripod position, so you can place it in the same place next time, and times after that.

You will need an Illuminated reticle eyepiece to follow the target stars. It's a time consuming job, but worth it if you are imaging.

Good Luck.

The scopes illustrated are different to yours, but the method suits all, including the EQ5.

Clicking on the Images will enlarge them so you can read the print.

Images and text from Astronomy Magazine, August 1982.





Edited by barkis
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Jeremy - thanks much.

That's really good (was dreading that first set up session).

Now can do it in the warm, could even make a good game out of that - lol

Great web site as well !

Edited by Scarlet
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Tried this last night, without the illuminated eye peice. Unfortunately car fail on MOT comees first from bank this weekend.

Almost got there (almost not good enough - I know).

Looking at Orion nebular, left to right was good, stars kept moving down, in the view finder.

If it stay's clear will give another go tonight - is all good practice.

Then eye peice is at the top of the want list .................

Thank you all.

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