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Old 04-06-2019, 11:11 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Startrek is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sydney
Posts: 2,957
Hereís a method I use to find true south or as I have new view of the SCP at my 2 locations ( itís very accurate and a good starting point for polar alignment )
Finding true south is the first thing you need to do when setting up your HEQ5 Pro tripod

Finding Celestial True South using Solar noon meridian method

Items needed
1 metre length of 12mm timber dowel with a 2mm deep 90 deg cross cut into one end using a hacksaw
2 x 3 metre pieces of 1mm string cotton type
4 x weights like a brick or paver etc...
1 x straight edge, alum angle or ruler 500mm long would be good
1 x fine point black permanent marker
1 x 300mm long Stanley or quality boat type builders bubble level
1 x PC with a planetarium software program. Stellarium is a good choice as itís free and easy to use
1 x Smartphone like an iPhone

Your observing location ( solar noon meridian location too ) should be a reasonably flat and level concrete , paved or tiled ( hard surface ) area with a good view of the sun at around midday

Erect timber dowel vertically below your preferred observing tripod position and use the 2 strings to anchors the dowel like tent guy ropes at NSEW using weights to hold it in position. Use your bubble level to ensure dowel is exactly vertical at 90 deg in all directions ( very important ) The hacksaw cuts at the top of the dowel make it easy to adjust NSEW
Pick a sunny day
Start your PC mid morning and open Stellarium. Rotate your cardinal point to the North position and raise view up until you see the Sun
Click on the Sun and then click on the clock , move the time forward or backward to the point where the Suns Alt/Az degrees goes from 359 deg to 0 deg or exactly bisecting the North South meridian line ( refer to top left hand data on screen for Az/ Alt deg )
Record this exact time which is Solar Noon ( eg 12.35pm )

Go to your observing location 10 minutes before Solar noon with your smartphone , ruler and permanent marker. The dowel should be casting a 12mm wide +500mm long shadow on the surface
At exactly Solar Noon time mark a thin line on the ground from the base of the dowel outwards along the exact centre of the shadow for at least 500mm ( be as precise as you can )

This line is the Celestial Meridian (True North South )

Use this line to align your tripod to True South
I found this method far more accurate than any app or compass with magnetic declination
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