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Foehammer
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: Cyprus
EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues...
      #6041151 - 08/23/13 02:15 AM

Hi all

Spent the whole night trying to do the Polar re-align routine on my EQ6 mount with no success. I've just upgraded from a CG5 and was very familiar with ASPA (which was a breeze to get right and get great results!) but something seems off with Synscan! I'm running version 3.28 (upgrading today to 3.35). What I've failed to understand is: How can you ONLY use the AZ bolts or ONLY use the ALT bolts to align a star in the eyepiece without having to use BOTH AT THE SAME TIME??? I must have done 10 or 12 3-star alignments thinking I was off but each time when going into the polar routine my selected star (and I tried various from the very short list of maybe 5 stars available to you) would be off in both ALT and AZ by 3 or 4 degrees.

So to sum up: After doing a successful 3-star alignment and heading into the polar re-align routine, selecting a star and centering it (using reticle ep) the star then is positioned by synscan to where it should be based on the user's input (time/date/lat/long/3 star alignmt) and asks to correct ONLY in Azimuth first (which is what I find odd and impossible to do!) and then veers off again and asks to correct ONLY in Altitude... is this right? In my case when needing to correct for AZ the star would be off in both AZ and ALT by a good margin which was impossible for me to correct using ONLY one of the two axis...

...I miss ASPA...


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Foehammer
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: Cyprus
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6041169 - 08/23/13 02:39 AM

...forgot to mention, I am using a side by side setup!

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telfish
sage
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Reged: 11/17/10

Loc: Adirondack Mountains NY
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6041462 - 08/23/13 09:03 AM

3.28 was not good on the polar align routine. 3.35 is better but not perfect. I use alignmaster and get great results.

I find with the Atlas routine that I can't get repeatable results. I believe they are working on this and will release new version soon.

As to only using the alt or Az bolts alone, they did try a version where you adjusted both at once but that produced even worst results.

When I used 3.35 I tried to get as close to the center as possible over 4 iterations.

It did get better as I progressed but I could then go a day and check again and the handset would tell me I was 3 degrees out!

Your side by side arrangement might be causing you issues if the scope you are using is not exactly 90 degrees to the axis. Try with a one scope setup and see if that helps.


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Cliff Hipsher
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: North Chesterfield, VA
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: telfish]
      #6041511 - 08/23/13 09:44 AM

Wow. That's another mount off of my list... Celestron is looking better and better....

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Foehammer
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: Cyprus
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Cliff Hipsher]
      #6043232 - 08/24/13 09:33 AM

I've just upgraded to v3.35 and gonna have another go both with the SBS setup aswell as signle scope..will report back...still don't get how it's possible to use one axis at a time to center a star...

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Frank @ Van
member


Reged: 01/24/05

Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6045328 - 08/25/13 02:41 PM

I think the rountine should be altitude correction first, not azimuth first.

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rigel123
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/29/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Frank @ Van]
      #6046060 - 08/25/13 09:50 PM

Quote:

I think the rountine should be altitude correction first, not azimuth first.




Altitude is first and when you adjust that first the instructions say to bring it back as CLOSE to center as possible and then to make a mental note of where that was in your eyepiece and then when you do azimuth you move the star back to that point, not the center necessarily. I have found it to work well in my experience with the technique. I typically do two iterations of it.


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tclehman1969
sage
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Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6046283 - 08/26/13 12:55 AM

I'm not certain what exactly you are doing, but on the Atlas mount, the only time you use the alt or az bolts is when you are getting Polaris lined up in the finderscope. Other than that, the only other time you would touch them is if you are doing a drift align method in which you would check the azimuth first then the altitude second.

Even just following the instructions that come with the Atlas, I have had pretty good alignments every time since I bought it back in May.

Check out AstronomyShed over on YouTube. He has a couple videos on polar alignment that work pretty well for this mount.


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John Carruthers
Skiprat
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Reged: 02/02/07

Loc: Kent, UK
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6046495 - 08/26/13 07:26 AM

If your Atlas/EQ6 has a V3 or later Synscan handset which can be updated it includes a polar align routine, same as the Celestron system.
With the 3.35 firmware you don't centre the star in alt or az, you get it 'as close as you can' using only that adjuster. Then do the other axis, then 3 star align again because you just threw the alignment off. :-)
I find it a good refinement to the polar scope which is fine for visual work but not up to AP.
Drift alignment (EQAlign helps) is the long stop technique. It will get PA right and gets easier with practice.

Skywatcher manuals and firmware;
http://www.skywatcher.com/downloads.php?cat=5


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6046695 - 08/26/13 10:26 AM

Quote:

I'm not certain what exactly you are doing, but on the Atlas mount, the only time you use the alt or az bolts is when you are getting Polaris lined up in the finderscope. Other than that...




The Atlas Synscan HC now has a polar alignment routine like AllStar in the Celestrons that allows you to polar align without the polar scope.


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tclehman1969
sage
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Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: rmollise]
      #6047040 - 08/26/13 01:52 PM

That's great! But where and how do I use it?

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Fernando134
member


Reged: 02/02/13

Loc: Brasil
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: rmollise]
      #6048396 - 08/27/13 08:57 AM

Unk,

My Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT Mount (brother/syster of the Atlas) will be home soon. I read in the manual that "the SynScan hand control provides...polar alignment routine which can achieve extremely precise polar alignment". Is that for sure? Even for AP? I am very excited about that because polar alignment in the Southern hemisphere is not that simple. At least for a beginner like myself.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6048448 - 08/27/13 09:26 AM

Quote:

That's great! But where and how do I use it?




The "how" can be found in the instructions (you can download the manual from SkyWather). It works very similarly to AllStar.

Not sure what you mean by "where?"


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Fernando134]
      #6048450 - 08/27/13 09:26 AM

Quote:

Unk,

My Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 GT Mount (brother/syster of the Atlas) will be home soon. I read in the manual that "the SynScan hand control provides...polar alignment routine which can achieve extremely precise polar alignment". Is that for sure? Even for AP? I am very excited about that because polar alignment in the Southern hemisphere is not that simple. At least for a beginner like myself.




It appears to be at least as good as AllStar.


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tclehman1969
sage
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Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: rmollise]
      #6049790 - 08/27/13 10:24 PM

Ok, I kept reading the section over and over on alignment and couldn't find anything, then I finally find it way down in part 11 on page 35 of the manual. I would have thought they'd put all the alignment info together, but I guess not...and I didn't read all the way through. . so, anyway, looks like a very cool function and I can't wait to get out and try it out this weekend!

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Dan Watt
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/13/09

Loc: Oceanside, Calfornia.
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: tclehman1969]
      #6049990 - 08/28/13 01:54 AM

You know to be honest I've found a properly collimated polar scope + the polar scope alignment feature in EQMod is perfect for my uses. I can do 10 minute subs @ 800mm all night without a problem and PHD is perfectly happy. Takes maybe 2 minutes and I usually do it with everything already set up and balanced. I've done 20 minute drifts to confirm its working fine.

The key here is properly collimated polar scope.

I used to have a CG5 and ASPA was pretty handy I really prefer the tried and true polar scope method.


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WillCarney
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/08/09

Loc: Bloomington, ILL
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: telfish]
      #6060925 - 09/03/13 11:47 AM

Quote:

3.28 was not good on the polar align routine. 3.35 is better but not perfect. I use alignmaster and get great results.

I find with the Atlas routine that I can't get repeatable results. I believe they are working on this and will release new version soon.

As to only using the alt or Az bolts alone, they did try a version where you adjusted both at once but that produced even worst results.

When I used 3.35 I tried to get as close to the center as possible over 4 iterations.

It did get better as I progressed but I could then go a day and check again and the handset would tell me I was 3 degrees out!

Your side by side arrangement might be causing you issues if the scope you are using is not exactly 90 degrees to the axis. Try with a one scope setup and see if that helps.




The last time I tried the polar routine with 3.35 it was way off. By just sighting my mount I got 0 degree 2 sec on one axis and 0 degrees 44 seconds on the other. The first polar realignment it was 1 degree 56 and 8 degrees 25. Then the next it was so far off that Arcturus did not show up even in the 6x30 finder scope, at least 20 degrees off. I don't use the polar align at all. For most things a visual polar align with three star alignment is enough. Otherwise I use drift alignment. Orion does need to work on the polar align routine.


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Foehammer
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/29/06

Loc: Cyprus
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: WillCarney]
      #6061235 - 09/03/13 03:54 PM

After having upgraded to v3.35 I was able to get a better result. It became clear to me that v3.28 was offsetting the mount by a long and non logical margin. Now The mount offsets in both ALT and AZ to positions that can be adjusted with only one axis at a time as the procedure suggests. Got down to less than a degree off in ALT and got up to 160sec unguided exposures. All seems well!

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WillCarney
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Reged: 10/08/09

Loc: Bloomington, ILL
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6062741 - 09/04/13 01:55 PM

H'mmm. I did not get the v3.35 to work. It was way off. I might try again. Maybe I did something wrong. I was pretty sure I followed the directions. I pretty much always am able to get less than 1 degree in either axis by just visual sighing through the polar scope. But would like to get a faster alignment for photography and asteroid hunting. I've done the star drift but it takes time.

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telfish
sage
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Reged: 11/17/10

Loc: Adirondack Mountains NY
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6062988 - 09/04/13 04:27 PM

Quote:

After having upgraded to v3.35 I was able to get a better result. It became clear to me that v3.28 was offsetting the mount by a long and non logical margin. Now The mount offsets in both ALT and AZ to positions that can be adjusted with only one axis at a time as the procedure suggests. Got down to less than a degree off in ALT and got up to 160sec unguided exposures. All seems well!




Please try it again on the same stars and let us know if you get the same result.

Terry


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: WillCarney]
      #6062989 - 09/04/13 04:28 PM

Is the polar align routine in firmware v3.35 a copy of Alignmaster software routine consdering you have to adjust the mount separately in AZ and ALT?

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telfish
sage
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Reged: 11/17/10

Loc: Adirondack Mountains NY
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Moromete]
      #6062998 - 09/04/13 04:31 PM

Quote:

Is the polar align routine in firmware v3.35 a copy of Alignmaster software routine consdering you have to adjust the mount separately in AZ and ALT?




It's pretty similar, for me the Alignmaster routine gives better repeatable results.


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Moromete
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/15/12

Loc: Romania
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: telfish]
      #6063010 - 09/04/13 04:38 PM

I suppose Celestron ASPA is more accurate and easier to use because:
- you actualy center the star near the meridian once, not in 2 steps like with Skywatcher
- it computes the polar alignment error based on 4 callibration stars and not just 1 like Skywatcher does.

Has anyone compared in the field the Celestron ASPA and Skywatcher firmware v3.35 polar align routine?


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Zad
super member


Reged: 01/05/08

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Foehammer]
      #6077661 - 09/12/13 08:08 PM

Quote:

Hi all

Spent the whole night trying to do the Polar re-align routine on my EQ6 mount with no success. I've just upgraded from a CG5 and was very familiar with ASPA (which was a breeze to get right and get great results!) but something seems off with Synscan! I'm running version 3.28 (upgrading today to 3.35). What I've failed to understand is: How can you ONLY use the AZ bolts or ONLY use the ALT bolts to align a star in the eyepiece without having to use BOTH AT THE SAME TIME??? I must have done 10 or 12 3-star alignments thinking I was off but each time when going into the polar routine my selected star (and I tried various from the very short list of maybe 5 stars available to you) would be off in both ALT and AZ by 3 or 4 degrees.

So to sum up: After doing a successful 3-star alignment and heading into the polar re-align routine, selecting a star and centering it (using reticle ep) the star then is positioned by synscan to where it should be based on the user's input (time/date/lat/long/3 star alignmt) and asks to correct ONLY in Azimuth first (which is what I find odd and impossible to do!) and then veers off again and asks to correct ONLY in Altitude... is this right? In my case when needing to correct for AZ the star would be off in both AZ and ALT by a good margin which was impossible for me to correct using ONLY one of the two axis...

...I miss ASPA...




According to the manual, you don't adjust the alt/az BOLTS, you adjust using the direction keys on the hand controller to slew to the target. Think of it this way: you are not adjusting the mount itself, you are training the computer as to how far off your mount is aligned, and in what direction, so it can compensate. As long as you are close to polar alignment, it shouldn't be a problem. That's why you can just rough align with the polar alignment scope.

If I am doing visual work, a 1-star alignment has worked well for me. I usually do a 3-star alignment when doing AP, and have no trouble.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6077691 - 09/12/13 08:42 PM

Quote:


According to the manual, you don't adjust the alt/az BOLTS, you adjust using the direction keys on the hand controller to slew to the target. Think of it this way: you are not adjusting the mount itself, you are training the computer as to how far off your mount is aligned, and in what direction, so it can compensate. As long as you are close to polar alignment, it shouldn't be a problem. That's why you can just rough align with the polar alignment scope.






That isn't at all what is going on. The mount is not compensating for anything. The point is to allow you to easily adjust it in altitude and azimuth to get closer to the pole; that is all.


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Zad
super member


Reged: 01/05/08

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: rmollise]
      #6078024 - 09/12/13 11:49 PM

Quote:

Quote:


According to the manual, you don't adjust the alt/az BOLTS, you adjust using the direction keys on the hand controller to slew to the target. Think of it this way: you are not adjusting the mount itself, you are training the computer as to how far off your mount is aligned, and in what direction, so it can compensate. As long as you are close to polar alignment, it shouldn't be a problem. That's why you can just rough align with the polar alignment scope.






That isn't at all what is going on. The mount is not compensating for anything. The point is to allow you to easily adjust it in altitude and azimuth to get closer to the pole; that is all.




Here is a cut/paste directly from the manual:

3-Star Alignment
1. At the prompt of “Choose 1st Star,” use the scroll keys
to browse through a list of star names and choose
one you’re familiar with. Press ENTER. The mount will
then automatically slew the telescope toward that star.
2. After the mount stops, the hand controller will beep
and display “Use dir. keys to center object.” The
mount’s tracking function is also automatically turned
on to prevent the target star from drifting in the FOV of
the telescope.
3. Now use the direction keys to move the telescope to
center the star in the FOV of the finder scope.
4. Then look in the eyepiece and move the telescope
(using the directional keys) so that the chosen star is
centered in the field of view of the telescope eyepiece.
5. Press ENTER to confirm the star is centered.

As you can see from step 4, you use the directional keys on the hand controller to center the star, and then press the enter button. You are not adjusting the mount's physical alignment at all. You are compensating for pointing error. Here is another cut/past directly from the manual:

The SynScan hand controller divides the sky into 85 small
zones, and you can calibrate the pointing error for each of
these zones. The next time the SynScan controller tries to
locate an object in the calibrated zone (or a zone nearby), it
will automatically apply the recorded
calibration data to compensate
for the pointing error. This function is useful for locating
faint deep sky objects, and it is also helpful to obtain consistent
pointing accuracy for a permanent observatory.

Correct me if I'm wrong but reading things like "it will automatically apply the recorded calibration data to compensate for the pointing error." sure makes it sound like the software is compensating for the pointing error of the mount. Not to mention if you follow the directions, how are you further aligning the physical orientation of the mount by slewing? You aren't, because slewing doesn't do that. You are just showing the software how far off the physical orientation is to true polar alignment, and the software compensates. At least that is how I understand it.


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tclehman1969
sage
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Reged: 05/18/10

Loc: SF Bay Area, California
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6078113 - 09/13/13 01:10 AM

I might be wrong here, but there is another section about aligning the scope more accurately. If you follow the manual down to section 11.3 POlar Alignment Without A Polar Scope, it states in steps 5 onward, the following:

6. The mount will slew to a new position. When it stops, the screen will display “Adjust Altitude:”. By using ONLY the altitude control of the mount (do not touch the azimuth control), bring the reference star back to the closest point to the center of the FOV of the telescope’s eyepiece. Remember the reference star’s current position in the eyepiece for later adjustment. Press the ENTER key to confirm the centering operation.

7. The screen will now display the polar alignment error. Users can then use the data to determine whether or not to adjust the azimuth of the mount in the next step. Press the ENTER key again to proceed to the next step.

8. The mount will slew to a new position. When it stops, the screen will display “Adjust Azi- muth:” By using ONLY the azimuth control of the mount (do not touch the altitude control), bring the reference star back to the closest point to the previous position (at the end of Step 6). Press the ENTER key to confirm the centering operation.

9. The screen will display the polar alignment error again, press the ENTER button to end the polar alignment process.

10.Go back to the “Alignment” menu on the SynScan hand control and execute another 2-Star or 3-Star alignment, and then check the polar alignment error data reported at the end of the 2-star alignment or 3-star alignment.

Repeat Step 2 to Step 9 until the error is small enough and acceptable.Generally, users can get up to 1 arc-minute polar align- ment accuracy after repeating this polar alignment process 2 or 3 times.


I think this is what is being referred to, possibly.


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telfish
sage
*****

Reged: 11/17/10

Loc: Adirondack Mountains NY
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6078627 - 09/13/13 12:07 PM

You are talking about goto alignment. The Op and Rod are talking about POLAR alignment.

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telfish
sage
*****

Reged: 11/17/10

Loc: Adirondack Mountains NY
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6078629 - 09/13/13 12:09 PM

You are talking about goto alignment. The Op is talking anout POLAR alignment.

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Zad
super member


Reged: 01/05/08

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: telfish]
      #6078668 - 09/13/13 12:38 PM

Ahhhh... I knew that when I was correcting Uncle Rod, I must have something confused. Thanks for clarifying. So what would be the point of doing a polar alignment vs. a goto alignment? Unguided imaging? Or does the mount in question lack a polar alignment scope?

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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6078672 - 09/13/13 12:41 PM

Quote:


Correct me if I'm wrong but reading things like "it will automatically apply the recorded calibration data to compensate for the pointing error." sure makes it sound like the software is compensating for the pointing error of the mount. Not to mention if you follow the directions, how are you further aligning the physical orientation of the mount by slewing? You aren't, because slewing doesn't do that. You are just showing the software how far off the physical orientation is to true polar alignment, and the software compensates. At least that is how I understand it.




Sorry, you are wrong: You referencing the go-to align procedure, not the polar align procedure ("resync") which includes the following:

6. The mount will slew to a new position. When it stops, the screen will display “Adjust Altitude:”. By using ONLY the altitude control of the mount (do not touch the azimuth control), bring the reference star back to the closest point to the center of the FOV of the telescope’s eyepiece. Remember the reference star’s current position in the eyepiece for later adjustment. Press the ENTER key to confirm the centering operation.

7. The screen will now display the polar alignment error. Users can then use the data to determine whether or not to adjust the azimuth of the mount in the next step. Press the ENTER key again to proceed to the next step.

8.The mount will slew to a new position. When it stops, the screen will display “Adjust Azimuth:” By using ONLY the azimuth control of the mount (do not touch the altitude control), bring the reference star back to the closest point to the previous position (at the end of Step 6). Press the ENTER key to confirm the centering operation.

9. The screen will display the polar alignment error again, press the ENTER button to end the polar alignment process.

And also, this procedure makes absolutely no adjustments to the go-to alignment model.



Edited by rmollise (09/13/13 12:43 PM)


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rmollise
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Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6078694 - 09/13/13 12:48 PM

Quote:

Ahhhh... I knew that when I was correcting Uncle Rod, I must have something confused. Thanks for clarifying. So what would be the point of doing a polar alignment vs. a goto alignment? Unguided imaging? Or does the mount in question lack a polar alignment scope?




You need to do both, to some extent anyway. You need at least a reasonably good polar alignment with this mount for good go-to accuracy in my experience. If you are imaging, you need as good a polar alignment as possible. If not, declination drift/field rotation will kill your images. AND you need to do as good a go-to alignment as possible to increase the accuracy of the SynScan polar alignment procedure.

Me? In most cases, for 5 minute or less exposures or for visual or video observing, I find the good old polar alignment scope good enough. It is nice to have the AllStar polar alignment procedure available, however.


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Zad
super member


Reged: 01/05/08

Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: rmollise]
      #6078749 - 09/13/13 01:16 PM

Quote:


You need to do both, to some extent anyway. You need at least a reasonably good polar alignment with this mount for good go-to accuracy in my experience. If you are imaging, you need as good a polar alignment as possible. If not, declination drift/field rotation will kill your images. AND you need to do as good a go-to alignment as possible to increase the accuracy of the SynScan polar alignment procedure.

Me? In most cases, for 5 minute or less exposures or for visual or video observing, I find the good old polar alignment scope good enough. It is nice to have the AllStar polar alignment procedure available, however.




That makes perfect sense. With my setup and location, I rarely image more than 3 minute subs. I have had great success with just a polar alignment using the polar alignment scope, a 3-star alignment, and PHD Guiding. I guess I just haven't had the need for a more accurate polar alignment. I may try it out at home, just to see if my polar alignment scope needs any tweeking. On the other hand, if it ain't broke...


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neptun2
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Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: EQ6/Atlas Polar align issues... new [Re: Zad]
      #6079793 - 09/14/13 04:15 AM

I use the new polar align procedure since the first beta firmwares that support it (3.28). Here are some recommendations to get the best possible results:

1. Using the "polar finder" program or other way see where polaris should be in the polar scope.

2. Looking through the polar roughly place polaris where it should be according to the program using the ALT and AZ adjustment bolts.

3. Make good 3-star goto alignment centering the stars precisely. I use the live view of my DSLR with a grid to achieve that.

4. Start the polar align routine. When asked to select star from the list use one which was not used previously during the 3-star alignment.

5. when ready with the polar alignment routine park the mount, shut it down, power it back up, select not to start from parked and redo another 3-star alignment.

Using this technique with 3.35 i get good goto accuracy and polar alignment error in AZ and ALT not exceeding 30" (at least this reports the hand controller). This is only with one iteration of the polar align routine and i get 15 minute subs at 900mm focal length without any field rotation.


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