View Full Version here: : Virgin drift aligner!!
23-02-2008, 08:17 PM
Well, I have bathed in RID, and am off outside to have my first go at drift alignment!!!!!!
Wish me luck! I'll post back my experience!! :)
23-02-2008, 08:49 PM
Best of luck!
The most important tip (I think) is to start with big adjustments. Only go to smaller adjustments once you've gone too far.
Mr DJVege, take the tip from Al, he is dead right, it worked for me.
23-02-2008, 09:37 PM
Gee Al, that advice sounds familiar ;)
Good luck DJVege.:thumbsup:
23-02-2008, 09:51 PM
Star in the North (or South where I come from) for Azimuth adjustments, East or West for Altitude.
Also, get the mag pumped up. Get your Barlow or Powermate out. Aim for upwards of 300x mag for a good drift align.
A level tripod also helps by alt and az adjustments not cross-contaminating eachother.
If it starts to drift at all in the first 10secs, give it a good crank. No detectible drift off the reticle line after 5 mins at 300x+ is good enough for astrophotography.
Good luck with it. It takes a little while, but is a clever and satisfying way of nailing the pole.
23-02-2008, 10:17 PM
Yep! I wise man once told me that!;)
I'm glad I listened too!:D Thanks Paul!:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
23-02-2008, 10:20 PM
24-02-2008, 12:31 AM
All good!!! Was a very satisfying drift alignment session! Quite proud of my first time ever.
Yes, I was using large adjustments until there was very slow drift over time. In fact, the scope kept drifting South (in both axes) and I kept making large adjustments because I wanted it to move North, so that I could confirm that I knew what I was doing!! :) But I got to the stage where it wouldn't drift (that I could tell) for about a minute, so I just changed axes.
I didn't repeat the process too many times, and I was only out there for about an hour and a half or so (incl. setup)...but I would've been able to get at least 10 - 30sec exposures had I been imaging. I only used about a 150X mag. for now, but will use my 5X barlow next time.
Had TERRIBLE collimation because I didn't bother collimating, howerver I had quite a nice view of Saturn at 120X when the seeing settled down for about 10 secs!! :)
1 Question! Do I HAVE to drift align with stars? Or can I use planets as well? I can't see why not, but I'm a n00b!
All in all, great (although short) night out, drift aligning!!!! :thumbsup:
I am not sure that 300 by is a gospel requirement though lots of people say it is. I have a 85mm F7 refractor and I drift align with a 9mm reticle which I sometimes barlow (2 by). With guiding I can go for 5 minutes subs (i dont bother going longer because of noise) with no star trailing on the EQ6.
So my drift mag is a most 20 by. This seems to be fine at my imaging FL of 480ml with a reducer and guiding. If I tried to drift align at 300 by it would be extremely tedious trying to find a bright enough star. Regardless of alignment, with no guiding PE would destroy the photo after about 2 minutes.
What I am saying is drift align at the magnification that gives you good photos for your focal length and exposure time, dont make life difficult for yourself and assume you have to do it at 300 mag.
As far as planets are concerned, they are rarely in the right position and generally are too bright and large to be of any use for drift alignment.
24-02-2008, 01:00 PM
Thanks for the advice, Paul.
Yeah, I understand what you're saying. 300X would give a tight alignment, however, the star might not be very bright at all, especially through my 5" scope. Also, the higher the magnification, the faster the star 'moves' in the EP, so it kind of makes drift aligning quicker if your scope is out. I reckon my 12.5mm reticule barlowed (2X) is probably more than enough for my purposes, thought I will give a higher mag a try just for fun. :)
As for your comment about the planets never being in the right position....that brings me to a question.
When adjusting your altitude, you want to choose a star in the west just above the horizon. Does this star have to be dead on West? Or can it be slightly North or slightly South of West? I had nothing directly in the west except the moon yesterday, and Saturn was just North of West, so I used that.
Oh, and I saw some bright satelite or something last night, too. Well, 2 actually. One was SUPER bright...the other was tiny.
AAH! Whaddaya know! I just checked Heavens-above and I saw the ISS last night. Awesome! I dunno what the other one was. I can't find it...??
24-02-2008, 01:12 PM
DJ you can use either a star in the west or east (+/- 5° is good)to about 15° above the horizon. That will give you a fair number of stars to go by. You can go more than these but it will take more iterations between Az and Elev to get it right.
The same thing applies to adjusting your azimuth. You can have a fair bit of leeway, but the greater the distance from 0° dec and meridian the more iterations between elevation and azimuth adjustment. If you can keep it within that 5° range you will be sweet. :thumbsup:
24-02-2008, 02:56 PM
As for using planets to drift align - yes if they are in the right positions. I have used the limb of jupiter as well as the Galilean moons and I've also used craters on the moon as features to drift align. Whatever is in the best lace at the time...;):thumbsup:.
25-02-2008, 09:55 AM
Thanks Paul and Al.
Will play with it again (ONCE THE ******* CLOUDS GO AWAY!!!!)!! AND I'll test out my Argo Navis for drift alignment as well. :)
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