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Thread: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

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    Default Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris



    Hello everyone. I hope this is the right place for this question. I have been stargazing for about 5 months now. Mostly visual by point and look. I'm starting to get in AP and I want to learn to do a polar alignment. Most to the information I have found mentions I have to visually look at polaris with a polar scope. I do my stargazing from my driveway at home. I stay away from the road since my neighbor across the street has some lights in front of his house close to the entrance of his driveway.

    Anyway as you can see in the attached picture i have 3 big tall trees 40+feet (green circle is a tree) and my house that blocks my views at certain angles. If i want to do a Polaris alignment I have to get almost at the end of my driveway to get a visual on the star. I know there are other methods out there to do a star alignment. I currently have a CG4 manual mount and I was considering getting the motor drives only if I can make it work with a polar alignment. I want to eventually get an AVX or CGEM(if I can get a deal on it) for my C8 and mak 5. I know those mount have other electronic option to do alignment without having to look at Polaris only.

    I don't want to cut down the trees as the provide us with shade. I can see most of my stars if I wait very late at night but I still have to constantly move the mount to different location to get a better viewing angle like the ones pictured on my pic.

    Another question about alignment. Once I have my scope aligned and lest say i'm facing west looking at Venus and Saturn shows almost south east. Do I have to re position the tripod and realign it? or I just have to move the axis around and keep the tripod on the same spot until I see Saturn?

    If I can't do a Polaris alignment due to my location setup, Are there other technology options such as GPS alignment and stuff like that even if it means I have to spend more on a more advance mount? Thanks.
    Last edited by jayta98; 07-20-2015 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Assuming north is up in the picture of your house...can you set up in the back by the pool? Lay out a 10 x 10 tarp and set up on that to protect your gear from moisture. if you have a newer Celestron mount, you also have "All Star Polar Alignment" and don't need to see Polaris.

    Clear skies,
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    The house next to me will cover it early at night. I guess if I stay up later at night I can see polaris but then I can't see much on the south end because of my house and the trees from the backyard neighbor lol. I'm guess i'm out of easy options. I might just wait and save for the AVX.

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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Polaris will not change location as the night progresses, it's one of the benefits of using it for alignment.

    Clear skies,
    Bob
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Thought this was an interesting read, but I don't know if it will be of any use or not: Arkansas Sky Observatory - 2001

    There are several methods for the googling for aligning when you can't see Polaris.

    However, I have no experience with an equatorial mount, so I may just be blowing a lot of hot air.
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    You could try drawing a line during daytime by casting a shadow of a vertical pole at sidereal noon (Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day) and somehow use that for your Az alignment. If you level the mount your elevation will be your latitude. That should get you somewhere close. Then mark the tripod feet on the driveway and the leg extension on the tripod legs so you don't have to do it again.
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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Thought this was an interesting read, but I don't know if it will be of any use or not: Arkansas Sky Observatory - 2001

    There are several methods for the googling for aligning when you can't see Polaris.

    However, I have no experience with an equatorial mount, so I may just be blowing a lot of hot air.
    You use an Alt Az mount Blade?

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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Quote Originally Posted by jayta98 View Post
    You use an Alt Az mount Blade?
    Yes, a dobsonian mount. I've never had the opportunity to play with a GEM.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    You can try doing a drift alignment. Start with a rough alignment using the latitude scale and a compass. Then use the drift alignment technique to refine it to an accurate polar alignment. Drift alignment uses stars near the celestial equator.

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    Default Re: Alternatives to Polaris alignment? I can't see Polaris

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Yes, a dobsonian mount. I've never had the opportunity to play with a GEM.
    Oh I see.

 

 
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