Alignmaster Works Great #5088272 - 02/24/12 12:42 AM
I got my dream mount last week. It is an Astro-Physics 900GTO. I have it mounted on a 12 inch concrete pier in my backyard. Tonight was my first chance to work on polar alignment. I used Alignmaster and did the first iteration using Caster and Mizar as alignment stars. The software will read a usb attached GPS and get the correct time and location. It uses Ascom to connect to the mount. It slews to the first star (Caster), and I centered it in the cross hair. I find using Phd's bullseye with my guide camera is more precise than a cross hair eyepiece. It then slews to Mizar and I center it again. It told me the error in Azimuth and Altitude. It then slews Mizar away from the center by exactly the error in azimuth. I used the azimuth adjustment knobs on the 900GTO to recenter the star on the bullseye. It then does the same for Altitude. I then repeated the process to verify the alignment. I had made no adjustments on the 2nd iteration. The software said the mount was 7 arc seconds within azimuth and 6 arc seconds within altitude of perfect polar alignment.
I did a 10 minute unguided image of the eskimo nebula and was amazed that all the stars where perfectly round without any sign of drift. Alignmaster allowed me to get dead on polar alignment within about 10 minutes of launching the program. This software will be great when I take my mount off my concrete pier and go out to dark sites for a night of imaging. I am confident I will be able to quickly align the mount for 1 night sessions.
Re: Alignmaster Works Great
#5113621 - 03/09/12 02:34 PM
Works for me. Surprisingly simple.
The only difficulty I encountered (user error) was that Alignmaster wants to initiate the goto for the next alignment slew. I was trying to force that through Gemini.net Things got a little mixed up after that. Once I figured that out Alignmaster was good to go.