I have APT configured to use plate solving via the PlateSolver2 and the All Sky Plate Solve (ASPS) interfaces. I have uploaded a few of my M42 subs and they solve appropriately. What I'd like to ask, because I am a newbie, is what the proper sequence is for aligning my mount/scope for the nights images. My first night out ran into a hiccup of not having plateSovler2 installed, and thus required the hand controller. Luckily I brought it with me to the site. Since that night, I got the software, tested as mentioned, but have yet to find a night worthy of the setup. But that will come, eventually.
I am guessing a sequence akin to:
1 - polar align my mount, currently just using the built in polar scope and a smart phone app. I don't have a pole-master or other such device (its on my wishlist).
2 - set the scope to a "home" positions, roughly in the Polaris direction.
3 - Slew to an object using the GOTO feature within APT
4 - take a shot
5 - plate solve
6 - sync
7 - ______
or 4.1 use the AUTO feature in APT, it does it all 4 through 7
Does this align the scope, or just provide a correction to the local object. I don't image chasing more than one object a night (still sorting out battery life issues). But if I chase a second, thats just a plate solve and correction away. I'd love any and all advice towards a successful night out using the laptop and APT as the primary driver, no hand controller.
The one and only night I've gone out (recall, im a newbie) I didn't have plate solver installed on my laptop, and to revert to the hand controller. No guidance scope or other drivers, just the FOV and a plate solve.
Thanks for the tips!
To answer your question, that just makes a correction to the sky map.
I am somewhat new too and with my modest understanding of how all these works this is what I see.
You are going to be imaging withou guiding. Nothing wrong with that. Just that limits your exposure time. That also means you will be depending on first, the unguided tracking capabilities of you mount and then your manual polar alignment thru the polar scope.
Very good polar aligment is the key for maximazing your unguided exposure time before star trails appear. You have very little to nothing you can do about the mount quality. It is what it is (do not know your mount). The better the polar aligment the longer the unguided exposures without star trails before the tracking quality of your mount becomes the dominant factor.
The polar aligment is where you can make the difference. If your mount works like mine, this is what works for me.
Before you polar align at night, make sure you polar scope if perfectly aligned with your mount RA axis and that the recule is oriented straight up when the counterweight is pionting straight down to the floor. This is a one time adjustment better done during daytime. Just point at a distant point and adjust the polar scope such that the reticule rotates concentrically with the point when you loosen the RA clutch and rotate the mount manually. Your mount may have a specific procedure for that. At night, you start your set up by leveling the top of tripod the best you can. Put the mount on the tripod and balance it.
Now, the manual polar aligment part is easy. Use the az and alt knobs to put polaris on the reticule according to you location and time as accurate as you can. From here you should refine your polar aligment. Your mount/hand controller shoud have a procedure specifically for polar aligment using a specific stars. Just follow it.
Also check that Polaris is visible on you DSLR LCD screen when you see it thru the polar scope. If not, adjust the telescope, not the polar scope.
Noticed that I have not mentioned plate solving yet. That is because plate solving has a different purpose. Plate solving is done to improve the map of the sky for gotos. BUT, all those goto coordinates are referenced to the celestial pole. Thus the importance of good polar aligment.
I also use APT and it only takes me one or two solved image to get every star i goto right in the middle of my dslr screen.
I hopes this helps.