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  1. #1
    feelkg211's Avatar
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    Default Polar Alignment without Polaris



    Can anybody offer a dummies guide to Polar Alignment without Polaris?
    in my experience so far, dark sites rarely have Polaris in sight (Trees, Behind the Cottage etc...), its such sad fact knowing that I could have been enjoying that Dark Site but i can't because i can't get Polaris...

    I've seen some tips on the web but they all seem too technical, requiring equipment that i just don't know how to use and do not have.

    any info would be great!

    Merry Christmas to all of you!,

    Paolo
    "Pao"
    Manila, Philippines
    "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" - Dr. Carl Sagan

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    KathyNS's Avatar
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    Take the scope somewhere nearby that does have a view of Polaris. Level the mount and do a polar alignment there. You now have your latitude set, and won't need to touch it again as long as the mount is level.

    Back at your place, set up the mount facing approximately north and level it. Now all you need is the right azimuth and you'll have a polar alignment.

    Pick an easily identified object low in the east or west. Look up its declination. Set your scope to the object's declination using the declination setting circle. Now using only the RA and the polar azimuth adjustment, centre the object in the scope. When it is there, you are polar aligned.

    This won't be accurate enough for photography, but it will do for visual observing.

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  4. #3
    Maverick199's Avatar
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    Okay, if you can't see Polaris, don't worry. Just use a compass and try to point the Alignment Peg on the North Leg of the Tripod towards where the compass shows 'North'. Then do a two star alignment and immediately thereafter, do a four Calibration star alignment. Your device will create a skymap which will be more or less accurate. This though would only be good for goTo and tracking, not imaging.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick199 View Post
    Okay, if you can't see Polaris, don't worry. Just use a compass and try to point the Alignment Peg on the North Leg of the Tripod towards where the compass shows 'North'. Then do a two star alignment and immediately thereafter, do a four Calibration star alignment. Your device will create a skymap which will be more or less accurate. This though would only be good for goTo and tracking, not imaging.
    But how about if the Mount isn't exactly a Go-To? ) I'm using a CG-3 mount
    "Pao"
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithBC View Post
    Take the scope somewhere nearby that does have a view of Polaris. Level the mount and do a polar alignment there. You now have your latitude set, and won't need to touch it again as long as the mount is level.

    Back at your place, set up the mount facing approximately north and level it. Now all you need is the right azimuth and you'll have a polar alignment.

    Pick an easily identified object low in the east or west. Look up its declination. Set your scope to the object's declination using the declination setting circle. Now using only the RA and the polar azimuth adjustment, centre the object in the scope. When it is there, you are polar aligned.

    This won't be accurate enough for photography, but it will do for visual observing.
    Just how low would the identified object have to be? I opened this question cause i wanted to do some backyard astrophotography because moving my equipment to the park to use for just a mere 4 hours (village curfew). So this has got me thinking on doing my business at my own backyard instead. sadly, Polaris isn't in view. I have a clear view of the North- Western and Western Horizon. The lowest object that is probably visible (Backyard has a wall) is the constellation Cygnus.

    Regarding the RA and Dec scale... I wouldn't be so sure on using it cause when the scope is leveled, the RA and Dec are not in the intended "Staring Position". RA is off by 2 deg. same goes for the dec.

    For what it's worth, my latitude is around 14.35 deg.

    Thanks Keith!
    "Pao"
    Manila, Philippines
    "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" - Dr. Carl Sagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by feelkg211 View Post
    Just how low would the identified object have to be? I opened this question cause i wanted to do some backyard astrophotography because moving my equipment to the park to use for just a mere 4 hours (village curfew). So this has got me thinking on doing my business at my own backyard instead. sadly, Polaris isn't in view. I have a clear view of the North- Western and Western Horizon. The lowest object that is probably visible (Backyard has a wall) is the constellation Cygnus.

    Regarding the RA and Dec scale... I wouldn't be so sure on using it cause when the scope is leveled, the RA and Dec are not in the intended "Star[t]ing Position". RA is off by 2 deg. same goes for the dec.

    For what it's worth, my latitude is around 14.35 deg.

    Thanks Keith!
    The lower to the horizon, the better. Just pick the lowest star you can identify.

    I am not sure what you mean by the part I highlighted in red, above. Forget the RA scale for this procedure. You will move the scope on the RA axis, but you won't need the scale. If your Dec scale is off, adjust it when you do your polar alignment at a remote site. Once you have a polar alignment, point the scope at a known object, like Jupiter, and then adjust the Dec scale so it gives the correct reading. Then, you will be able to use it in the procedure I described.

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithBC View Post
    The lower to the horizon, the better. Just pick the lowest star you can identify.

    I am not sure what you mean by the part I highlighted in red, above. Forget the RA scale for this procedure. You will move the scope on the RA axis, but you won't need the scale. If your Dec scale is off, adjust it when you do your polar alignment at a remote site. Once you have a polar alignment, point the scope at a known object, like Jupiter, and then adjust the Dec scale so it gives the correct reading. Then, you will be able to use it in the procedure I described.
    Starting Position is referring to the position before doing polar alignment. i think the more correct term is aligned?

    Can you tell me how I can adjust the dec and RA scale? I'm using a CG-3 mount and i dont see how i can loosen the scale enough to adjust it.

    looks like my problematic nights are about to get solved
    "Pao"
    Manila, Philippines
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithBC View Post
    Now using only the RA and the polar azimuth adjustment, centre the object in the scope. When it is there, you are polar aligned.

    observing.
    What do you mean by Using the RA? do i just adjust it so that the object is centered without reference to its RA coordinates?
    "Pao"
    Manila, Philippines
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    If you have a smartphone with a spirit level app you could always set the latitude reasonably well for it to work usint the phone and app, then point the mount so that its north south. Level the mount first, then using the phone, measure the angle of the scope.

    Not saying that this would be accurate, but closer than guessing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by feelkg211 View Post
    What do you mean by Using the RA? do i just adjust it so that the object is centered without reference to its RA coordinates?
    Yes, exactly. You don't need to know the object's RA coordinate. Moving the scope on the RA axis is just to get the object centered.

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