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Is self polar alignment possible?

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#1 Stew57

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:18 PM

I have been reading about the Meade ETX-LS and the self aligning it does. I can't see where it would save any time over my CGEM. But what would be great (for me anyway) is a mount that would self polar align and self drift align. Could level north, GPS, and camera be added to a gem mount to add these features? Any one want to design one for celestron to build? :grin: would be cool to setup, go have dinner while the scope cools and aligns, then come back to a drift aligned setup.

#2 BlueGrass

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:32 PM

Now you're talkin.... :jump: ... but I'd add self-balancing and complete auto-focus for all imaging devices attached. Seriously though, my primary interest is AP and for me some of the joy and satisfaction derived from this 'hobby' comes from configuring and setting up the equipment. It all comes down to the results you achieve, knowing that it was your labor and dedication that got you there. If everything was automated, you might as well just call it robotic astronomy.... :roflmao:

#3 astroalex

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 10:32 AM

Robotic AP is almost here with the Meade LS system. But with light pollution what it is and the not so clear skies we all have been having lately, we're kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. What good is all our cool gadetry if it don't work because "it" can't see the sky no better than we can!

But, "automation" in astro-photography is here already. The technology still has to go thru a few more "iterations" before we all can afford it, and DO look forward to that day! :)

How I do envy those pioneers who have gone before us, like back in the 1930's. Their equipment wasn't as nice as ours is, but the skies were DARKER! :)

#4 LLEEGE

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:09 PM

Unless you have a motorized altitude and azimuth adjustment, there is no way for a mount to self polar align. The self alignment routines are for Alt/Az mounts that don't require polar alignment. They perform star alignments.

#5 BlueGrass

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:46 PM

Just had a thought ... if people just new to AA only purchased and used 'automatic' mounts, etc... what will they do when it fails? "Hey, my mount failed last night and I couldn't see anything. Guess I'll have to send it back to RoboticMounts for service. That's 6 weeks shot. Oh well, at least I still have the internet...." :rofl5:

#6 Stew57

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 04:35 PM

My idea was the alt az would be adjusted on the fly by the built in camera as the camera monitored drift. Would be a seperate system from the goto/tracking system. Thinking a setup close to polar align wouldn't require a major correction for alignment. An out of range error code would alert one to setup a little better at startup.

#7 LLEEGE

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 06:35 PM

You'd still need to motorize the alt/az adjustments. This is independent of RA/DEC motors as they aren't part of the PA adjustment.
It can be done, but at what cost.???

#8 Stew57

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 08:42 PM

The motor system for the alt/az would not need a large range and would be a seperate system fron nthe goto/tracking system. Getting a consistant and accurate polar alignment without doing a drift would be worth a pretty good deal not to mention the time savings.

#9 LLEEGE

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 09:05 PM

It certainly is doable. The built in routines in Autostar and Nexstar are pretty darn good though.

#10 imjeffp

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:19 PM

Not quite the same, but I've designed an autocollimator in my mind. The camera reads the laser spot and sends corrections to the servos on the primary mirror adjusters.

#11 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:23 PM

Next year Celestron will be offering mounts that robotically set themselves up, unfolding the tripod and what not, able to get out of the car or house by themselves and travel to a predetermined spot using GPS. Then they just set up and auto adjust, including polar alignment.

If you have Internet via celluar phone and you also pay a subscription fee, the mounts will sign into match.com and invite potential dates to come viewing with you, and email to the prospective date a google map of where you are. You have to program the personality profile indicators manually, however. It is not advisable to say that you have a "big one" (e.g. a 24 inch dob) and when your date shows up all you have is a Televue Pronto. That might get your profile removed from Match.

greg n

#12 Bowmoreman

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:32 PM

The motor system for the alt/az would not need a large range and would be a seperate system fron nthe goto/tracking system. Getting a consistant and accurate polar alignment without doing a drift would be worth a pretty good deal not to mention the time savings.


Yeah, but the motor system for the Alt/Az would have to be VERY powerful (torque) and very SOLID - with a large weight/mass capability... coupled with ability to move in extremely fine amounts, repeatedly...

I can't see how it wouldn't at least DOUBLE the price of any given class of mount, if not more...

But it's cool to think about! :lol:

clear enough skies

#13 ColoHank

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:34 PM

Next year Celestron will be offering mounts that robotically set themselves up, unfolding the tripod and what not, able to get out of the car or house by themselves and travel to a predetermined spot using GPS. Then they just set up and auto adjust, including polar alignment.

If you have Internet via celluar phone and you also pay a subscription fee, the mounts will sign into match.com and invite potential dates to come viewing with you, and email to the prospective date a google map of where you are. You have to program the personality profile indicators manually, however. It is not advisable to say that you have a "big one" (e.g. a 24 inch dob) and when your date shows up all you have is a Televue Pronto. That might get your profile removed from Match.



I really don't see a market for something like that unless the scope also removes its own lens cap and auto-selects the proper eyepiece for each object sighted. I mean, who wants to look at M31 through a high-power, narrow-field eyepiece?

#14 Stew57

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:27 PM

If you have Internet via celluar phone and you also pay a subscription fee, the mounts will sign into match.com and invite potential dates to come viewing with you, and email to the prospective date a google map of where you are. You have to program the personality profile indicators manually, however. It is not advisable to say that you have a "big one" (e.g. a 24 inch dob) and when your date shows up all you have is a Televue Pronto. That might get your profile removed from Match.


Well the wife would never allow that so I guess celestron will have to count me out. She likes my big one all to herself. Mine is just a measly 11" but she doesn't know any better.

#15 Stew57

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:35 PM

Yeah, but the motor system for the Alt/Az would have to be VERY powerful (torque) and very SOLID - with a large weight/mass capability... coupled with ability to move in extremely fine amounts, repeatedly...


The system could move at a very slow rate, so with a good bearing system and a low gear ratio i don't think torque would be a problem. The extremely low gearing could be capable of fine movements but there would have to be no play or backlash in the system. I still think it would be a boon to the ap crowd. They could spend more time imaging and less time on polar align and drifting.

#16 pgrunwald

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:13 PM

Next year Celestron will be offering mounts that robotically set themselves up, unfolding the tripod and what not, able to get out of the car or house by themselves and travel to a predetermined spot using GPS. Then they just set up and auto adjust, including polar alignment.

If you have Internet via celluar phone and you also pay a subscription fee, the mounts will sign into match.com and invite potential dates to come viewing with you, and email to the prospective date a google map of where you are. You have to program the personality profile indicators manually, however. It is not advisable to say that you have a "big one" (e.g. a 24 inch dob) and when your date shows up all you have is a Televue Pronto. That might get your profile removed from Match.

greg n


What about the thumb screws? :o

#17 bbgobie

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:23 PM

why not just download the nasa photos, or google sky at that point?
whats the fun in it?
Just to sit oustide in the cold and say you sat there?

#18 Stew57

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:17 PM

That is sorta what I told my sons when they were "doing" calculus with a TI92. I still have my slide rule. Why waste time doing a drift align everytime when the mount would let you concentrate on other issues.

#19 donnie3

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:31 PM

stew57, thats a very good point. aligning your mount every time if ap is your main interest came be a real pain unless you have a observatory then its ready at will. kind of like having a t192.

#20 tim53

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:30 PM

I wonder how many amateurs alive today have ever used setting circles?

With a little brain power, you can get amazingly close to polar alignment in a few iterations using the circles on a classic telescope, like a Cave, Optical Craftsmen, Criterion, etc...

Heck, many goto scope owners do this now, only using the HC instead of applying their eyeballs to the circles.

-Tim.

#21 astrokido

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:43 PM

It might be easier to build a robot that would carry out all the astro gear, setup it up, collimate the scopes, and align the mount for you. Then have it point to your AP targets and brew some hot coffee.

#22 ColoHank

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:11 AM

I wonder how many amateurs alive today have ever used setting circles?




Here's one amateur who uses setting circles, and it was very much a matter of choice. Not very many of today's new automated mounts are even equipped with decent setting circles to back up those bulky battery packs, loose connections, whacked-out drive-trains, and fried circuit boards.

#23 Stew57

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 07:58 AM

It might be easier to build a robot that would carry out all the astro gear, setup it up, collimate the scopes, and align the mount for you. Then have it point to your AP targets and brew some hot coffee.


I will stick with a spyglass and compass. On second thought forget those newfangled compass thingies. Setting circles are for sissies, I just use my hand drawn sky charts.

#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:05 PM

I wonder how many amateurs alive today have ever used setting circles?
-Tim.


More than one might think at first glance, because the Super Polaris, the Vixen DX and GP, and the Losmandy series all come with setting circles. I'm really glad I have them even though I seldom use them. Not only are they backup against computer failure but they can be used to calibrate electronic equipment or at least do a "sanity check" to see if it is working.

But in another ten years I don't think there will be any more analog circles out there, except for the used equipment knocking around. They are like slide rules.

greg n

#25 Starhawk

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 09:45 AM

If you did this, everything in the image would swirl, anyway, so it wouldn't be much more useful that plain alt-az. Your polar alignment really needs to be on target for good photography.

The Meade LS really isn't even as close to this the CGEM is since it is Alt-az, so the only photography you will be doing is of planets.

-Rich

My idea was the alt az would be adjusted on the fly by the built in camera as the camera monitored drift. Would be a seperate system from the goto/tracking system. Thinking a setup close to polar align wouldn't require a major correction for alignment. An out of range error code would alert one to setup a little better at startup.








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