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Thread: Alignment without Polaris?

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    Default Alignment without Polaris?



    Is it possible to polar align without having Polaris visible? From the area I mainly would like to image from ( backyard) I cannot see Polaris due to the height of my house, is there any way to polar align with enough precision for longer exposures? I have an area about a 5 minute walk away that will work but definitely want to be able to set up in my backyard.

    I still haven't purchased a mount yet but was looking into the celestron avx, does the all star polar alignment work well enough for good Astro photography or is it mainly for the goto function?

    Sorry if these are beginner questions lol
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nsj View Post
    I still haven't purchased a mount yet but was looking into the celestron avx, does the all star polar alignment work well enough for good Astro photography or is it mainly for the goto function?
    In my experience ASPA works well enough. What I do not like is that multiple iterations of 2 star alignment followed by ASPA are required and you never know how many and how far you are off at any time. But it will work. When aligning the hand controller will present stars that may or may not be visible from your site. Many sound unknown to me and I would like to work with pre-selected stars and I believe it can do that but I have tried to do so. So, I think ASPA is a good choice for you and I think the difficulties can be overcome. Count on adding an autoguider to correct for any PA errors.
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Thanks camelhat, an autoguider is definitely going to be added. Still trying to make sure I have everything covered before I start ordering stuff, lots to learn and everyone here seems willing to help! . How do you like the avx? Any issues at all?
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Slight aside to the main question - make sure rated capacity of your mount suits your 'scope and all added bits , with spare for later !!
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    If you guide with PHD2 there is a drift alignment tool that comes with it (in a drop down menu). You need a star near the western or eastern horizon to adjust altitude, and a star near the conjunction of the Meridian and the Celestial equator (for you this would be in a southern direction I think) to adjust aziumth. It works well for me anyway and doesn't take too long. With good mount leveling altitude adjustments can stay unaltered after an intial alignment and you might then get away with just an azimuth alignment.
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Definitely have a list going of the different options for gear with the weights listed. I'm not dead set on the avx yet and it's is rated for 30lbs but from what I've read most people say you shouldn't go more than half the rated weight for worry free operation in astrophotography, I probably won't be going over 11 lbs or so to start with. I wouldn't mind going for a used mount and getting something with more rated capacity but anything I find used is usually way too far away to ship.

    I'll have to start reading about drift alignment as well so that's one more thing added to my list of stuff to learn.

    Thanks everyone! And if you think there is other required reading for me as I'm just getting into this hobby please feel free to let me know

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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    I have an AVX. Love it. And I'm on the equator -- actually 1 degree below -- and can never see Polaris anyway.

    I use a compass to get the basic North-South direction and work from there.

    The AVX has a special feature for polar alignment. It's not that accurate (in my opinion). But it's at least as good as using Polaris for an initial alignment. Then I do drift alignment to get more accuracy.

    I have 16 pounds loaded on my AVX (everything included) and the mount handles it well.

    Clears,
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    As mentioned use the PHD2 drift alignment feature if possible. Works great for me with no clear view of Polaris.
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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Awesome! Thanks everyone. So just to confirm though drift alignment can be done on any gem mount correct? Just don't want to limit myself to getting an avx if a good used mount comes available.

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    Default Re: Alignment without Polaris?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nsj View Post
    Awesome! Thanks everyone. So just to confirm though drift alignment can be done on any gem mount correct? Just don't want to limit myself to getting an avx if a good used mount comes available.
    Yes, a drift alignment will work on any EQ mount as long as you have a motor for tracking, even a non-goto.
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