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Polar-Aligning Skyguider Pro

equipment mount
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#1 mgermani

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 07:49 PM

Hi folks:

 

Just a quick question here, but one that's been bugging me for a while. I've had reasonable success using my Skyguider Pro, and polar-alignment is a pretty straightforward process at this point, but I've always wondered if I've aligned the polar scope straight up & down prior to placing polaris in the correct spot. This isn't an issue of the scope being out of alignment, more a question of whether I've rotated the reticle so that the the line between 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock is completely level.

 

I know the red LED isn't supposed to light up unless you've got the reticle lined up properly, but on my unit this represents a LARGE margin of error. Given how accurate we aim to be when lining up polaris on the little ticks, that red LED remains lit even when the reticle is pretty crooked-looking.

 

I thought that placing the declination bracket would encourage the unit to align like a pendulum on a string, but at 49 degrees latitude, there is too much friction on the axis to allow it to move freely (this makes counterbalancing a bit iffy sometimes too).

 

What do people do with their Skyguiders when polar aligning? Eyeball it and hope for the best? I've been able to get up to three minutes unguided, but more often than not I'm limited to 90-150 seconds. I'd love to hear how other people manage.

 

Cheers,

Mark



#2 kathyastro

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 08:09 PM

I don't have a Skyguider, but my trick for aligning the polar scope reticle was this:  I start by putting Polaris dead-centre.  Then I move the mount in elevation to bring Polaris down to the 6 o'clock position.  I rotate the reticle (i.e. the RA axis) until the 6 o'clock mark on on top of Polaris.  The reticle is now aligned.  Then I proceed to do the polar alignment, putting Polaris where it belongs on the reticle.

 

This method relies on the elevation axis being truly vertical.  You get the best accuracy with this method if you level the mount first.


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#3 mgermani

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 08:34 PM

I don't have a Skyguider, but my trick for aligning the polar scope reticle was this:  I start by putting Polaris dead-centre.  Then I move the mount in elevation to bring Polaris down to the 6 o'clock position.  I rotate the reticle (i.e. the RA axis) until the 6 o'clock mark on on top of Polaris.  The reticle is now aligned.  Then I proceed to do the polar alignment, putting Polaris where it belongs on the reticle.

 

This method relies on the elevation axis being truly vertical.  You get the best accuracy with this method if you level the mount first.

Kathy, that's amazing! I'm smacking my head for not thinking of this earlier. I always level my mount carefully, so this will work a treat! I'm going to do this EVERY time from now on. Thank you!

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

PS: Hello over there in Nova Scotia! I lived in Wolfville for several years as a child, and my sister still lives in NS.


Edited by mgermani, 25 January 2021 - 08:41 PM.

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#4 kathyastro

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 07:26 AM

Kathy, that's amazing! I'm smacking my head for not thinking of this earlier. I always level my mount carefully, so this will work a treat! I'm going to do this EVERY time from now on. Thank you!

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

PS: Hello over there in Nova Scotia! I lived in Wolfville for several years as a child, and my sister still lives in NS.

Happy to help!

 

I know Wolfville quite well.  It is just 30 minutes from here.  We're avoiding it now due to covid, but there are some nice restaurants a theatre there in normal times.




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