Is there a way to polar align without using a polar scope?
I have a home-made equatorial mount, made with pipe fittings, that I adapted a very nice clock drive to the R.A. axis.
For visual use I just roughly aim my R.A. shaft north and it keeps things in view with minor corrections, which is fine.
Problem is, I would like to start doing some basic astro photography. I realize I will have to get more precisely polar aligned.
I would appreciate any suggestions for achieving this.
A few ways.
I use a PoleMaster. Very easy, very fast, very accurate. $300.
Drift alignment is free and accurate. Somewhat time consuming.
People also use Sharpcap Pro and PhD2. I'm unfamiliar.
What optics are you planning on using? Commercial astrophotography mounts are very expensive. For Deep Space Objects, the required precision is less than 1/1000 of an inch. The longer your focal length, the more precision that you need. I've seen homemade mounts work with short focal length camera lenses. Never with a long focal length scope.
The Moon and planets are completely different, but you don't need too good polar alignment for those.
Edited by bobzeq25, 19 August 2019 - 10:25 PM.