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What's a good app or program to aid in Polar Alignment (Polaris is blocked from view)

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#1 nighthoek

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:05 PM

I'm using a SkyWatcher HEQ-5 Pro mount and from where I set up to image and observe, Polaris is blocked from my house.  I'm using an android phone and windows 10 laptop.  So what should I use to improve polar alignment so I can do some longer exposure imaging?
 



#2 Forward Scatter

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:19 PM

Give the polar drift alignment routine in PHD2 a whirl.

 

How far off from the NCP is your view?

 

If you can get within ~5 degrees, the PA routine in Sharpcap will work too. I wonder if it would work okay if the NCP is farther than that in your sight line. 


Edited by Forward Scatter, 01 December 2020 - 04:22 PM.


#3 shawnmcarter

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:44 PM

If you're like me and don't introduce cameras into the situation....I like PolarAligner Pro (Android).  Simply because it has a pretty intuitive interface on the main screen composed of two levels (polar angle), level, and compass.  You'll still need to know your magnetic deviation though.  It also has a Polaris setting to use with a polar scope, just navigate to your make and it shows you what a good alignment will look like (which won't be helpful for you, but, if you go somewhere with a view of the north).  Finally, it has a drift calc function.


Edited by shawnmcarter, 01 December 2020 - 04:44 PM.


#4 John O'Grady

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 05:04 PM

Not sure if this piece of software is still supported, but you might see if Alignmaster is available and runs on Windows 10.

It's essentially the same concept as Celestrons All Star polar alignment.

It provides a list of different stars used to setup polar alignment.

One star is used to adjust Azimuth and a second is for adjusting altitude.

 

Remember, as I'm sure you know (mostly mentioning this for any newcomers reading), anytime you adjust AZ or ALT, invalidates any goto star alignment previously done.

Which is why I always dial in the polar alignment first then do a star alignment afterwards.  

 

I tried AlignMaster a few times a number of years back (six or more?) and compared to All star polar alignment. 

But as I had a Celestron mount, I just stuck with the All Star alignment.  Since I didn't see much of a difference.

All Star was more convenient since I didn't need a laptop tethered to the mount running software.



#5 StarmanDan

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 06:34 PM

There are many ways to polar align without Polaris.

Drift align
DARV method
EQ Align
Alignmaster
Use the polar align option in the HEQ5 hand paddle.

#6 duck

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:38 PM

I can't see Polaris either.  I made a latitude wedge and use a level to get the elevation angle of the RA axis close.  Then I use the drift method to get the azimuth.  After that, the scope can goto pretty accurately.



#7 Panotaker

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 10:17 PM

I believe TheSkyX will work with your mount. I use it with my Paramount MX mount and I can't see Polaris either. I use T-Point in TheSkyX to take a series of photos all over the sky. When it is done, It tells you to point the scope at a bright star. It then figures out how far off you are from being polar aligned, and it tells you how far to move your mount. It works perfectly to get an accurate polar alignment if you can't see polaris. You might want to call Software Bisque to make sure T-Point works with your mount. It's not the easiest software in the world to use, and it's not exactly cheap either, but it is an excellent software. Only downside is you may start thinking about getting a Software Bisque mount.



#8 MHamburg

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 10:56 AM

If you are willing to spend a little money, probably iOptron's iPolar is worth investigating. It is essentially a simple camera and program that can plate solve and tell you where to move your mount's alt and az axes.

 

Michael



#9 donsinger

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 12:15 AM

iPolar requires being able to see Polaris, so not usefull in this circumstance. Use the SW routine in your hand controller, DARV method etc..as suggested above. I am in the same situation and use ASPA and DARV...Quick and works well



#10 MHamburg

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 03:04 PM

iPolar requires being able to see Polaris, so not usefull in this circumstance. Use the SW routine in your hand controller, DARV method etc..as suggested above. I am in the same situation and use ASPA and DARV...Quick and works well

I'm not sure this is correct. iPolar's FOV is about 13 degrees so if you can get somewhere that distance from Polaris you have a good shot that the plate solving software will work. For me, Polaris is blocked by a couple of tall trees and yet I was able to use the software for excellent PA.

 

Michael



#11 BCNGreyCat

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 03:55 PM

PHD2 can do the drift alignment without Polaris.

#12 donsinger

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 04:57 PM

I'm not sure this is correct. iPolar's FOV is about 13 degrees so if you can get somewhere that distance from Polaris you have a good shot that the plate solving software will work. For me, Polaris is blocked by a couple of tall trees and yet I was able to use the software for excellent PA.

 

Michael

This still requires being able to see north-not sure if original poster can?




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