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    AstroMatt's Avatar
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    Default Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR



    Ok so after much debate I'll be buying a CG-5 and am looking for tips and tricks on aligning for long unguided exposures. So let me know: do I need the polar scope? Reticle ep? Super accurate level?
    How do I balance the OTA?

    I'll be using a C6 with a focal reducer as main setup if that matters.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    reticle..very useful for doing drift alignment(assuming you dont have an attached laptop and/or camera)
    Polar scope... Very useful
    Does the scope need to be level... Well it HELPS with polar alignment but is not super critical, just get a torpedo level.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    I have read that the polar scope is not needed since I can use all star alignment. Is this true?
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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    Polar Scope with the CG5GT. I don't think you need one. The Celestron All Star alignment will get you a very precise polar alignment; not as precise as possible with a drift alignment but close.
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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    The OP has a 400D which lacks LiveView... so he won't be easily able to Polar Align with ASPA with the camera attached using just the camera optical viewfinder - he will have to remove the camera, attach an eyepiece, do the ASPA then re-attach the camera. Not a big deal but I thought I'd mention it.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroMatt View Post
    I have read that the polar scope is not needed since I can use all star alignment. Is this true?
    Yes that is true. You do want the mount reasonably level, the bubble level on the mount head will do good enough or as mentioned above you could get a small bubble level like this one. For exposures around 1-2 minutes the All Star Polar Alignment will do a good job though as Joe mentioned a drift alignment will get you close to perfect. Exposures much over three minutes or so will really need some sort of guiding due to the periodic error inherent in the CG5 mount, just no real way around it. For balancing here is a good reference page from the Starizona website.
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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    Thanks, gang.

    Right so I assumed that my exposures unguided would like be under 2 minutes. And I am OK with that as there is plenty to learn and feel like I will get plenty of data with those as a starting point.

    As for alignment, I have played around with the 400D on my SE mount and the process has been to go through all the alignment procedures using an EP, then switch out with the camera, and image. With this routine, I was assuming that I would do a rough alignment through the bore hole with Polaris, and then use ASPA and calibration stars to get aligned.

    Sorry I should been clearer in my original post regarding the reticle EP. I guess what I really wanted to know is if I needed it to do star alignments as part of the ASPA, or does the typical zoom out on a star work? I understand that I would eventually need to go to drift alignment if I don't get to guiding soon.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    Since you're getting a CG-5 (I own one of these) you can buy Celestron's accessory, the "Polar Finder CG-5". It slides into the north pointing axis on the mount. It's a wide-field finder designed specifically for orienting the mount to the true celestial north pole.

    When you look through it you'll see the finder has a reticle image etched onto it that maps the relative positions of the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia (those two are not to scale and will not be visible in the finder... they are there to give you the relative orientation of the finder. You roll the scope (release the lock) in RA until the real big dipper is in the same direction of the sky as the etched mini version of it in the finder.) Octans and Polaris are drawn.

    Here's an article that happens to include an image of what you see when you look through the CG-5 polar finder accessory: http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/observing/f/33/t/54460.aspx

    Make sure the mount is level. Then moving the polar axis only by altering the tilt of the north axis (using the adjustment screws on the mount) or by altering the azimuth of the head (also by using the adjustment screws but you will need to slightly loosen the bolt on the underside of the mount that secures the head to the tripod base or it wont want to move -- don't forget to re-tighten when you're done.) When everything lines up neatly, you're aligned.

    Just note that the etched marks on the finder are etched based on the J2000 positions. The precession of the earth has changed about 3 arc-minutes since then. But you will be very very close.

    You can drift-align if you want to try to get closer.

    I will tell you that Celestron makes it sound like the finder accessory just pops right in. Turns out it wasn't *quite* that easy. Yes it does go in, but I had to do a bit more work to do it. Some disassembly and reassembly was required, but nothing major.
    Last edited by TCampbell; 08-21-2012 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    You don't need a polar alignment scope. Just use the 'All Star Polar Alignment' in the hand controller and follow that with a drift alignment if needed. The ASPA is faster, easier and more accurate than fumbling with a polar scope.

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    Default Re: Aligning CG-5GT for AP with DSLR

    I find using a reticle eyepiece very helpful for polar alignment using the Celestron All Star Polar Align. When I first started I did my alignments with my focal reducer in place and was getting typical exposure times between 30 to 60 seconds using my 12.4mm reticle eyepiece (~20mm with the focal reducer). I now remove the focal reducer during the alignment and typical get 50 to 90 second exposures. I attribute this improvement in both time and variance to the higher precision obtained centering the alignment star with a reticle eyepiece at 12.4 mm vs ~20mm with the focal reducer. This is not with a CG5 mount but with my modified 4SE mount using its built-in wedge.

    I don't use the 4SE OTA but a much lighter 4 inch SCT. After polar aligning, I add my focal reducer and camera making the total weight on the mount about 5 pounds ~50% of the mount's payload capacity. I also do a Calibrate GOTO so the mount can adjust for the weight change the replace two alignment stars with themselves.

    As far as leveling the mount. I have not experimented with this aspect but have operated on the assumption the better the mount is leveled, the fewer corrections the mount will need to make.
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