Polar Alignment #polaralignment #alignment


Musk
 
Edited

Hi y'all

Completely new here, but experienced in Astrophotography.

To get right to the point: I got my iExos-100 yesterday and, as unbelievable as it sounds, was also able to try it out yesterday. Now i have 2 issues, one of which i believe is caused by the other issue. I might add that this is my first ever motorized EQ mount and im going to use it for imaging.

 

Issue 1:

After doing rough polar aligning (polaris was centered in the polar tunnel) i did a 3 star align. Slewing to the first star and it was off by a good bit- so far that i would have never found it without the finder scope. Centered the first star, clicked the "Sync on target" button in bottom left corner and slewed to the second star. Again, it was off. But it was off by the same distance and direction as the first star. Same happened on the third star. My Lat and Lon are correct, system time is correct. After centering all stars and clicking Sync on target i slewed to M13, which was off by the same distance as all 3 alignment stars were. It continued doing this for all targets i slewed to. 

To me it seems like the mount got the wrong time, should i add or remove 1 or 2 hours from my system time? If its not caused by the time, could it be the home position being wrong? Im also as balanced as i could be with my configuration.

 

Issue 2:

How do i Polar Align accurate enough for imaging (120sec exp. max) without spending more money on the polar scope, a PoleMaster, or Sharpcap and a guidecam with scope?

Drift alignment is not something i want to do because

1) I start freezing very fast. Seriously, 5 minutes and i can hardly move my fingers

2) I dont have any reticle eyepieces

3) I read a lot about it and Im just getting more confused because everyone seems to be doing it completely differently while also using different terms for things. Videos dont help me either.

I also dont have a laser that i could use to more easily "estimate" my alignment.

Dont get me wrong, the mount is awesome and more than suitable for my needs. I love the sound it makes when slewing, backlash is almost nonexistent and the tripod is much sturdier than anyone else said.

One more thing, can i add the NGC catalogue to the ExploreStars App? Im limited in Messier objects but lots of NGC for me here.

Thanks in advance. 


Kent Marts- Explore Scientific Customer Service
 

Welcome to the forum. Please be sure to read the rules and post a user name and equipment in the name line. Directions for that are on the Main page of  the community.

What telescope are your using?

What power supply are you using?

What device are you using to run Explore Stars?

Issue No 1:
When you polar aligned did you verify Polaris was in the telescope's field of view. If it was not, then that could be a significant portion of the problem.

ExploreStar should pick up the time automatically from your device. You did not mention location. Does the longitude and latitude in the app match your location?


Issue No. 2
Careful polar alignment will be ESSENTIAL to getting 2-minute exposures. An app such as PS Scope Pro will give you the hour-angle of Polaris. With that, you can get past centering Polaris. Put Polaris just inside the polar tunnel at the correct hour angle. That will increase your accuracy. At the end of the day, the only way to ensure GREAT polar alignment is the drift method. Which you can do photographically -- https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/articles/darv-drift-alignment-by-robert-vice-r2760

There are a number of methods outlined on this forum on how to get a repeatable starting point. It stars with a level mount, getting the RA and DEC lined up perfectly, the marking the mount so you start from the same point each time.
By far the best way to get long guides to utilize a guide camera.

For astrphotography we recommend using a wires connection to a computer running ASCOM and using a planetarium program. 

Regarding the NGC catalog, it is part of the database for Android and IPad. If you go with a wired connection, that eliminated this issue. 

I'm sure others will weight in with advice.

 





--
Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific

Gear: Anything in the store!


Musk
 

Im using a NexStar 102 f6.4 Refractor on the iExos Mount. I understand getting 120sec unguided subs at 660mm focal length sounds ridiculous but is doable.

Power supply is a 12v 2.5A wall adaptor from my old internet router. I confirmed that it puts out 12volts and can actually supply 3.1 amps.

Im running ExploreStars from my win10 Laptop. Time and date are also set correctly. 

Nope, Polaris was not in my field of view. It was centered in the polar tunnel of the mount though (after adjusting; heres where things get weird, read the last lines for the problem).

Yes, my longitude and latitude are set correctly in the app, as stated in post.

My lat and long are roughly: 

lat: 51.45

long: 10.55 

ofc the full precise numbers have been set in the app.

The DARV / drift method you linked sounds much easier than what i read everywhere and i will probably give that one a try.

 

After i checked my lat long with multiple websites all giving me the same numbers, i leveled the mount and set it to 51° using the fine adjust. However, polaris was not in the polar tunnel. The tunnel was actually poiting atleast 5° above polaris, that seemed wrong to me so i adjusted until it was centered in the tunnel. Am i doing something wrong? surely i must be.

About the wired connection, i gave up on that. The ASCOM stuff never works for me. It didnt work with my Alt-Az mount and it doesnt work with the iExos.

 

--
Gear: Celestron NexStar 102SLT | iEXOS-100 | Skywatcher 8" Dobsonian | Nikon D3400 Full Spectrum modified


Kent Marts- Explore Scientific Customer Service
 

If your telescope does not see Polaris when you're polar aligned the telescope WILL ALWAYS miss the target by however much it is not pointing at Polaris. Correcting this -- which is called Cone Errer -- the first thing your need to fix. Easily identifiable and easy to fix. You can do it in the daytime by pointing the polar tunnel at a distant target -- the farther the better, miles -- the getting the telescope pointing at the same spot.

Is the tip on the AC adapter 5.5x2.1? If not, then that could be presenting power challenges.

Not sure about the difference between what the mount show and what reality is. I've not heard of that problem before. Because I'm working from home I don't have access to a mount to examine how that could happen.

Do you have a green laser?  If you do, place it close to the polar axis and point it at Polaris while you look through the tunnel. I have some one help me do that, if possible. That will tell you immediately if you are on Polaris.

Regarding ASCOM. The system works well with the PMC-Eight System.

There are numerous step-by-step instructions on how to do it in threads on this platform.

Did you use the configuration manager to switch from wireless to wired?

What planetarium program were you using?

Is there a learning curve? Sure, just like driving a car, or cooking the perfect rack of ribs. Practice and patience -- both are required for all aspects of astronomy.

Keep at it. 

If need be I can get onto your computer to help get things configured.

--
Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific

Gear: Anything in the store!


Matthew Krauft
 

Kent, I’ll be happy to take you up on getting onto my computer to configure everything. 

-Matt

On Apr 8, 2020, at 6:01 PM, Kent Marts Explore Scientific Customer Service <kent@...> wrote:



If your telescope does not see Polaris when you're polar aligned the telescope WILL ALWAYS miss the target by however much it is not pointing at Polaris. Correcting this -- which is called Cone Errer -- the first thing your need to fix. Easily identifiable and easy to fix. You can do it in the daytime by pointing the polar tunnel at a distant target -- the farther the better, miles -- the getting the telescope pointing at the same spot.

Is the tip on the AC adapter 5.5x2.1? If not, then that could be presenting power challenges.

Not sure about the difference between what the mount show and what reality is. I've not heard of that problem before. Because I'm working from home I don't have access to a mount to examine how that could happen.

Do you have a green laser?  If you do, place it close to the polar axis and point it at Polaris while you look through the tunnel. I have some one help me do that, if possible. That will tell you immediately if you are on Polaris.

Regarding ASCOM. The system works well with the PMC-Eight System.

There are numerous step-by-step instructions on how to do it in threads on this platform.

Did you use the configuration manager to switch from wireless to wired?

What planetarium program were you using?

Is there a learning curve? Sure, just like driving a car, or cooking the perfect rack of ribs. Practice and patience -- both are required for all aspects of astronomy.

Keep at it. 

If need be I can get onto your computer to help get things configured.

--
Kent Marts
Customer Service
Explore Scientific

Gear: Anything in the store!


Musk
 

I expected something like that but i dont even know if the dovetail on my OTA can be adjusted. Can i just unlock the DEC and RA axes and move the scope until polaris is in my the FOV?

Yes, its 5.5x2.1.

Weird right? Though, im pretty sure that its just me that did something wrong. Im pretty good at doing things wrong.

I actually just found some of my old lasers, but the beams come out at an angle and not straight. 

I know it does, but im not interrested in ASCOM. I like the wireless connection and it works plenty, no problems with it. 

Yes, i tried everything i could find. ASCOM just would not connect to the mount. Software, drivers, everything was there but ASCOM didnt want to do it.

None.

Im used to steep learning curves haha. Hardest learning curve for me was Photoshop<
I will keep at it, not giving up that easily..
--
Gear: Celestron NexStar 102SLT | iEXOS-100 | Skywatcher 8" Dobsonian | Nikon D3400 Full Spectrum modified