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Thread: Alignment without Polaris?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?



    Just keep in mind that old fashioned drift alignment takes an excessive amount of time whereas an ASPA iteration takes very little time. There are tools that can help with drift alignment such as PHD2 and possibly BYEOS. I believe those work quicker but I have not used them so maybe others can chime in on how long a drift alignment takes. Of course if you decide to use PHD2 drift alignment you need an autoguider.

    If you put your mount always in the same position (for instance with stretched legs on marked pavers or tiles) you may only have to polar align once so long as you don't touch the Alt/Az controls. So long as you are within, say, 30' the autoguider will take care of the resulting tracking errors. ASPA will definitely get you within that accuracy, probably a whole lot better if you iterate a few times. BTW most of the work with ASPA is not ASPA itself but the 2 star alignment (with 3 calibration stars) that precedes ASPA. You must do that alignment at least once anyway, of course.

    If you can manage to place your mount back accurately in the same position each time and use the "Last alignment" option you may be able to save yourself a lot of work. If you can manage to maintain the PA that way you should be able to do a quick one star align in case the "Last alignment" option does not work well. I like the Celestron software and hand controller interface very much. I cannot compare with other brands based on experience but I heard the same from others who can.
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  2. #12
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    PHD2 drift aligning is roughly 15 minutes or so I think. This is without putting the scope in a fixed spot. Slew to a star near the meridian and Celestial equator, callibrate and then drift align. Repeat with the eastern/western star. The PHD graphs which show your guiding/drift trends can be quite quickly read after a while so not too much waiting around. As for the visual method on just a motor driven mount (with an illuminated reticle eyepiece) this took me at least an hour, but I would be bang on target by the end, enough to get some reasonable unguided 2-3 minute exposures. My limited experience anyway.
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Yeah drift alignment does take about an hour.
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    I have an AVX mount and always break everything down as where I live is like a goldfish bowl, anyway I put the mount into a carry case for storage in which I kept the original foam that the mount arrived in, but the problem is that I have to move the alt degrees, if you get my point, so that the mount will fit into the foam, would a inclinometer be a good purchase as it would allow me to reset the alt to the correct angle.
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    When I'm doing my All-Star Polar Alignment (using an Illuminated Crosshair Reticule for best accuracy), I can do a 2 Alignment + 4 Calibration PLUS the ASPA and then another 2+4 in about 10-12 minutes.
    And the results are usually within 10-15arcsec in both axes...
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  6. #16
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelgirl View Post
    Would a inclinometer be a good purchase as it would allow me to reset the alt to the correct angle?
    An inclinometer is accurate to about +/- 0.2 degrees.

    Since I'm always setting up in the same place, I did something different. An inclinometer costs about $30. I just bought myself a cheapie bubble level ($1 on ebay) and glued it onto a piece of wood that fits onto the head of the mount (positioned such that it shows level when the mount is polar aligned). So before putting the scope on the mount, I stick this DIY "inclinometer" on the head and set my ALT.

    Clears,
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  7. #17
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Another method of drift aligning with a camera, although I've not yet tried it.

    D.A.R.V (Drift Alignment by Robert Vice) - Articles - Articles - Articles - Cloudy Nights

    It doesn't seem necessarily quicker than a visual method (note the number of iterations on the article each lasting 2 minutes) but makes sense and can be done with a basic motor driven EQ mount. I like that there isn't a need for an illuminated reticle so no balance readjustments when putting the camera on and no need to establish cardinal points in the reticule either. I might try this with my 8" Newt on my motor-driven EQ5 when the clouds clear (?????) and would be tempted to try a number of short exposures to get it close (with either a Barlow or zooming in on the camera) and then do a few longer exposures to get as close as possible (say 5 minutes W and 5 minutes E). Anyway another option (with, I'd guess, usable 1-2 minute length unguided images) that doesn't require a reticle, goto, or guidescope.
    Last edited by Benjamin; 01-14-2017 at 10:49 PM.
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Awesome input from everyone! Makes me feel a bit more assured about setting up in my backyard without being able to see Polaris.

 

 
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