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#1 ClownFish

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 08:34 AM

I'm writing a brand new tutorial to help teach Drift Aligning. This is a completely new way to teach it, and so I need a few members willing to take their scopes our and test my theory.

If you are willing to physicaly do a drift alignment with my technique and then email me with results please respond here. I will then forward you the new technique.

Thanks!

CF

#2 Mopman

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:16 AM

If you can use a total novice who has only read about how to do a drift alignment, I am more than willing to give it a try with my Meade Starfinder 16" EQ and a CG5 mount. Thanks, Mopman

#3 ClownFish

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 12:07 PM

Send me a PM with your home email address, as I have to send a MS Word file.

CF

#4 merlin_four

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 01:39 PM

I'm in the novice dept too, but PM sent :waytogo:

#5 merlin_four

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 11:34 AM

Well, I had a clear night last night, so I figured I would try out ClownFish's new drift alignment tutorial. It was, in a word, easy.

Now, I've looked over the tutorial on his website, and played with the simulator, but have never actually bothered doing a drift alignment. I understood the concept, but the implementation left me scratching my head. Turn which part which way?

So I printed out the new tutorial, read thru it twice while waiting for darkness to fall, and did a rough polar alignment as soon as I could see Polaris. When it got dark, I went to work. The instructions made sense, and I completed the drift align (no Dec. error for ~10min, anyway) in about a half-hour, completely from memory.

Not bad for my first time! Definitely a good tool to have when I bump my AP efforts to include prime focus photography :waytogo:

#6 Nebhunter

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 04:02 PM

I plan to do more dark site trips, so taking the EQ6 apart means at least an hour or more for good drift. Anything to speed up this process, especially after coming out from the winters' hibernation. Old age is taking it's toll. PM sent

#7 ClownFish

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 04:11 PM

If my theory and technique continue to prove positive, this procedure will revolutionize how the Drift Technique is done. It will make all current methods of teaching this confusing procedure obsolete. I;m still in awe at how simple it is, and wonder why no one else came up with this already.

It uses one simple technique that is the same regardless of which kind of scope you use, whether or not you use a diagonal prism, type of mount, it's the same for Eastern Skies and Western, the same for Northern hemisphere or Southern. It's that easy. You will never need cheat notes again.

So far, I have 4 people try it, all with glowing critiques! So far no one has found it to to fail. I am still waiting for at least 5 to 10 more users to test it before I make it public. I need to hear from a Southern Hemisphere user too.

CF

#8 mlcolbert

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 04:50 PM

CF did you receive my pm?

michael

#9 Charlie Hein

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 06:54 PM

I'm writing a brand new tutorial to help teach Drift Aligning. This is a completely new way to teach it, and so I need a few members willing to take their scopes our and test my theory.

If you are willing to physicaly do a drift alignment with my technique and then email me with results please respond here. I will then forward you the new technique.

Thanks!

CF


Hey, I'll try anything once... must be the reason for that funny tic I've got but that's a whole other story.

Charlie

#10 ClownFish

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 01:56 AM

Micheal, I do not se your PM.

CF

#11 mlcolbert

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 07:47 AM

ok the easy response is, send it to me please. :)

I shall resend later.

michael

#12 Mike D

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:58 AM

Sign me up!

#13 MIKEG

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 09:09 AM

PM sent from another novice

#14 mlcolbert

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 04:27 PM

CF second PM sent, please advise via this thread if nothing reaches you.


michael

#15 Mike D

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:47 PM

Okay, I went out and did your new drift align technique, and I thought I'd give some feedback. I found the altitude adjustment procedure to be very clear and accurate. Where I ran into some confusion was with the azimuth adjustment procedure. Firstly, I assume when you're talking about 90 degrees from the celestial pole, you mean at the intersection of the celestial equator and the celestial meridian?

There was also some confusion when I pushed the telescope to the east and west to figure out which way the mount needed to be moved, the guidestar moved at more of a diagonal. So I assume for this step you just find out whether east or west brings the guidestar more towards the center and move the mount accordingly. Is that correct?

Basically I felt that the altitude adjustment procedure was very clear and easy to follow, while I felt the procedure for adjusting azimuth could have used an extra paragraph or two. Or maybe its just me?

#16 ClownFish

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 01:21 AM

Thanks Mike. I had another user with simular concerns.

1. Yes, you are only moving the scope to find out if you need to adjust the mount East or West. The fact that the star moves in a diaginol is not important as long as you can see that you are moving the reticle in the same general direction as the guidestar. This will let you know which way to rotate the mount.

I am trying to get away from using compus directions and any numbers. The 90 degree thing is going to be changed for this reason. Also, using astronomical terms like Celestial Equator or Meridian have to go. All this adds a level of confusion to newbies - so I wanted to keep it at the 2nd grade level. Lift up. Push down. However, the scope must point to the Eastern or Western Horizon (either one) when adjusting for Altitude, and it must point 180 degrees away from the pole when adjusting for Azimuth. You can't isolate the errors any other way.

I'm going to give this a lot of thought and write it up from a total beginners point of view - but I just need to verify that my method works first. So far 4 people have tested it, and one says it does not work. The verdict is still out. I'm not getting many users to actually go outside and test it - so this is being a a slow process.

The KEY differences I hope to prove is that my technique:
- Does not care if you are using a refractor or a newt or SCT
- Does not matter if you are using a diaginol
- Does not matter if you are in the North or South
- Does not matter if you are looking east or West.

The goal is to have ONE procedure that fits every possible user with no exceptions required. I still hope I have found it!

Peter

#17 AZKick

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 01:01 AM

I did your new drift alignment technique also, and it worked very well. I did get a bit confused with Correcting the ALTITUDE of the mount part mostly due to me not knowing what is DEC and RA. (Got that part down now, Told you I was a noob.) move the scope forward and back in right ascension (RA) is the part that stumped me for a bit. After I got over that, the rest was very easy to follow. My only other question was about goto scopes. Do I do a 2 star alignment before I do the drift alignment, or will that through off any drift alignment attempt due to the scope tracking in both dec and ra? (EXT 80 set up as a EXT 70 and mounted on a wedge) I figured the two star alignment would mess it up somehow, so when I turned the scope on and pointed it at Polaris and started the scopes easy align thing, I did not correct it in any way, just hit enter on each star. My thinking is the scope will think the polar alignment is right on and it should not try to correct for any Dec movement. Hope all this makes sense.

#18 AZKick

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 01:07 AM

As a side note, since I don't have a reticule eyepiece, I just put a piece of tape across the bottom of a regular eyepiece so it blocked a bit less then half the view and used that edge to line everything up with. Not the best set up, but better then nothing.

#19 ClownFish

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:47 AM

GOTO alignment simply calculates how far off from true Polar Alignment your mount is, errors in the telescope tube's pointing direction, and your exact time and location.

You do not need to be criticaly Polar ALigned (ie, drift aligned) for GOTO alignment. If, however, you need both, a critical drift alignment and GOTo alignment you should do the Drift First. Once aligned with the Drift technique, then you must never move the mount during GOTO alignment.

Astropgotography benifits from critical drift alignment, as Polar Alignment is very important. GOTO alignment is needed only if you need to have the scope LOCATE an object. A Polar Aligned scope Equatorial Mount will track an object perfectly with just Polar Alignment.

I assume you are using a WEDGE with your mount. If not, then you did not gain Polar ALignment as that requires an EQUATORIAL mount such as a wedge mounted fork, or a German equatorial mount.

CF

#20 TxStars

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:35 AM

Not everyone has read the old "Edmund Scientific" printing "All about Telescopes"...
This old printing should be included with every telescope thus giving everyone a greater understanding of how to use their new scopes.
It seems that new scopes and mounts have too many tech gadgets and the users learn very little.

#21 AZKick

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:36 AM

I am trying for a drift alignment for astropgotography. I really don't need goto aligment, just didn't know how to skip that step with my scope. My setup is pretty basic.
Posted Image
I figure if I get good at shooting some stars with this, then if I ever get a good scope/mount, I should be doing great. :grin: The camera is missing in this shot since I had to use it to take the pic.

#22 ClownFish

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 06:01 AM

Wow.. that's quite a contraption!!

How do you have the mount higher or lower?

CF

#23 AZKick

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 03:34 PM

Easy, those are high precision ratchet straps you see there. I only need to tighten or loosen a strap to adjust it. For real fine tuning, I'll wedge a screw or sliver of wood or whatever between the bottom piece of plywood and the meter box.
All kidding aside, I relize this setup is not going to work that well for astrophotography work, but the lack of a real mount is not going to stop me from having fun trying. It started life as a curved rod barn door tracker with a hand cranked circle thing (missing in the photo). The piece of ply that the scope is mounted to was added to give me (hopefully) the correct angle for a wedge at my location, 33 degrees north lat.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2444044-mount  side view.jpg


#24 Mike D

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:52 PM

Okay Pete,
I've gone out again and given your method another complete run through. I managed to get through the azimuth procedure by modifying it just a little. Instead of pushing on the scope to determine which way I need to move the mount, I just adjusted the azimuth adjustment screws on the mount. Whichever direction moves the guidestar back towards the center in DEC is the way needed to move the mount. This way made it much simpler for me because when I'd push the telescope east and west, I was never sure which way the mount needed to be moved. By using the azimuth adjustment screws on the mount, it makes determining which way I need to move the mount much more clear. That's my opinion anyway.

Regarding the altitude procedure, I have found it to be accurate for both my SCT and refractor on two separate occasions now.

Hope that helps!

-Mike D

#25 Mike D

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 04:23 PM

I was also wondering about the people you say claim that the method did not work for them. After getting familiar with the procedure with two different scope types (wish I could have tried with a newtonian, as well), I don't see how your new approach could possibly be inaccurate.

There must be a way to isolate what the problem is (whether it be human error, going through the procedure incorrectly, or indeed the system is flawed).

Why not find out what equipment the people were using who claim that the procedure did not work to see if we can't get to the bottom of this?

I will say that I was using a refractor and an SCT, both with diagonals, on a GEM mount. So if anyone had problems using that setup, you may be doing something wrong.

Hope that helps!

-Mike D


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