Old 02-04-2012, 08:24 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Location: Australia
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Hey there.

Could anyone run me through Polar Alignment with an GOTO EQ6. (What do you do when you pull up to a campsite and set up your scope)

Do i have to align the stars of the big dipper, or is there an easier way.. I have heard/seen people do it with a fixed object such as an Ariel etc etc by rotating the mount and as long as the cross hairs stay on the same point and doesn't drift away then it should be relativity close to the mark, and then the same has to be done with Polaris?

Thanks Guys

PS: The Eq6 is not being used for astro-photography just general observing!.
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:22 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
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Hi Nathan
Welcome. Firstly Polaris is not visible in the southern hemisphere, it is the Northern pole star. The closest star to the South Celestial Pole is Sigma Octanis which is faint.
You can use the polar alignment scope if your mount has one. When I have setup an EQ mount for visual use I have simply used a compass (remembering to offset it for magnetic declination in your area!) and set the altitude. For visual use this gets you pretty close.

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:51 AM
Poita (Peter)
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Basically get it roughly level use a compass and point the mount SOUTH, true south, not magnetic.
If you have an iphone/android phone or inclinometer, then set the Altitude using on of those to the correct setting for your location (you can get your long/latitude from your phone)
Then do a one star alignment on Sirius and it is usually good to go.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:03 PM
kingy2511 (Nathan)
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Thanks Malcom, I am aware that we cannot see Polaris, I was talking about in the inbuilt alignment scope..

Is the IPhone Compass accurate enough? I can set mine for True Heading or Magnetic Heading, can't imagine it being to far off!

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:56 PM
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Ausrock (Chris)
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Confusing isn't it .

I still haven't made complete sense of the EQ6 manual...........if you take notice of everything in it regarding alignment, you just about need a degree. Then you see advice like "level the mount, using a compass point it to true South and set the latitude correctly........there you go, all set".............sounds like common sense but too bloody simple, if that's all there is to it WTF is all the "hoo haa" about?

If you've got an EQ6 then you probabaly have the SynScan hand control which brings up "drift alignment" ..........you have to "teach" you're controller to kinda "recognise" it's part of the sky ......FFS, I thought this thing was supposed to help me learn about the stars, but no, I have to help it learn to help me learn...........go figure. That's right, drift alignment........get your scope to stay "locked" onto one star for a period of time then choose another star and do the same........YEAH RIGHT!!! THOSE TWINKLING LITTLE ****S KEEP MOVING...........by the time you're locked onto your second star everything has changed, don't believe me? Tell your mount to go back to the first choice star and see if it can find it.

It took me over 30 years to finally get a scope now I feel as though it's going to be another 30 years to get this figured out.

Did I mention it's confusing?

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Old 04-04-2012, 09:47 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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Chris, your easiest method is to first find true Sth using Solar noon and a plumbob. This bypasses any magnetic deviation errors or misreading the compass etc.
Then your iPhone can download a free app (or cheap) for a Declinometer.
Set your mount up reasonably level with the polar axis pointing south as per your marked out site. Place the iPhone with it's app on the mount body and adjust the angle to equal your latitude. That should plce it pretty close to aligned.
After that guiding takes over to correct any minor drift that occurs if you have a guide scope\computer setup.

See below pic of my EQ6 on the driveway. The wooden bar at the far side is aligned E/W and also levels my driveways slight slope southwards. There are some little yellow paint marks on the driveway beneath the wooden bar and the rear ( Northernmost ) foot of the tripod.

Using this setup I have been able to just place the bar and drop the tripod on and been ready to go within 10 minutes or so. Without guiding I have been able to get 2-3 minute exposures with almost undetectable drift.

Takes a bit patience I know but once you figure out what the object of the exercise is it gets a lot easier.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:05 AM
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Sarge (Rod)
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Your polar scope needs to be aligned with your mount. This only needs to be done once, using the adjustment screws. Do this during daylight, use a fixed object some distance away (preferably at low altitude, so you don't break you back looking into the polar scope). Using your scope and finder, ensure both and polar scope are all aligned.
Once you've got that, then polar align. Use this article in the Projects & Articles Section:

Clear skies

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alignment, eq6, polaris

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