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PoleMaster Precise Polar Alignment trouble

Beginner Polar Alignment
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#1 MonikaW


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Posted 22 July 2021 - 01:41 PM

Hi there! I am brand new to astrophotography. I used my PoleMaster for the first time last night. It seemed to be going well until precise polar alignment the end - the green square was far away from the red circle, and no matter which way i moved my azimuth/alt bolts, only the stars would move across the screen. The green square and red circle did not move at all as I moved the mount. Below is a photo of how this looked. The green square is just to the right of dead centre, and the red circle was far away on the right-centre. Based on the videos I watched, the red circle and green square should have appeared very close together after clicking "start monitor", but mine were far away. I have a feeling this indicates maybe I misaligned something in the previous steps.


Seeing was average, USB cord was on left side when I faced front of camera, no cords were snagged/disconnected. Can anyone advise why the red circle didn't move on the screen as I moved the mount, even though the stars were moving appropriately a on the screen as i moved the mount? 

Here is what I think might have caused problems, but I'm not quite sure:

  • Would it have anything to do with full moon? I live in light polluted suburbs and the moon was behind me at a lower altitude than polaris. I tried all gain and exposure settings and no change.
  • When using the overlay to align the five surrounding stars, my stars were never in the centre of the circles (though there was a star within each circle)- do they need to be in the centres of the circles?
  • When selecting a star near by polaris to do the RA rotation test (making sure if follows the green circle outline), I did not select a star that was within one of the circles from the overlay- are you supposed to?
  • When returning the mount to the "home position" after moving it 30 degrees x2 in the above step, I "eyeballed" the home position and just used the arrow keys, so I'm not sure if I returned the mount to its exact original position and whether this affects things.

Any advice you can give I would greatly appreciate! Thank you!!







Attached Thumbnails

  • PrecisePolarAlignment trouble.jpg

Edited by MonikaW, 22 July 2021 - 01:43 PM.

#2 nyairman


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Posted 22 July 2021 - 06:20 PM

Not sure exactly where your issue began and the image provided is a bit vague. It could be a number of problems as you said.

Polemaster in a bright moon along with your light pollution can create big problems. Are you POSITIVE you had Polaris in the FOV and centered? That may be your first problem. This was my problem when I began with astrphotography and while using the Polemaster.

Edit: Reading through your post again, I think you may have missed a step in the alignment process before the "start monitor" step.

Edited by nyairman, 22 July 2021 - 08:30 PM.

#3 MonikaW


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Posted 22 July 2021 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for your reply!


I was also thinking maybe I didn't identify polaris. I am 99.9% positive I did correctly identify it- my mount was at correct altitude, and it was the brightest star on the screen. I will verify this tomorrow using the diagram in the manual and confirm there is definitely a star in each circle of the overlay.


Re missing a step before "start monitor" - I checked the manual- right before clicking "start monitor" is the Rough Alignment section and here it says "On the screen there is a small green circle. This is where your pole star should be. Use the mount azimuth and altitude adjustors, align the pole star with the green circle. When done, click “Finished”." I don't remember seeing this green circle- at this step I only saw a white hatched rotating circle. But I did align Polaris with it as prompted, and then double clicked polaris and did the overlay alignment again before clicking "start monitor." I followed all the screen prompts but will look out for any mixed steps during next attempt.


Maybe it is the full moon is also part of the problem- I've read about people having issues with this, but also saw a video of Trevor Jones succeeding with a full moon. If it doesn't work tomorrow, I will re-attempt when moon is less bright.


Thanks so much again.

Edited by MonikaW, 22 July 2021 - 09:20 PM.

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#4 wtd1114


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Posted 24 July 2021 - 12:51 AM

I've had the Polemaster pretty much since it was introduced and I have never seen this issue.  I am using the Windows version of the Polemaster application.


For your questions, here is my experience-

1) I have not had any issue with a full moon.  You just need to see Polaris and the field stars around it. I have polar aligned in twilight ( not dark yet). I have polar aligned in dark star parties and in my light polluted red-white zone backyard.  As long as you can see the stars it should work.

2) The template does not need the stars to be centered in the 5 circles.  Try to get them as centered as possible as long as the stars are in all 5 circles.  If you get the 5 stars inside of the 5 circle, it confirms you picked the right star to be Polaris.

3) For the star you pick for the large circle, I typically do not pick a star in the little circles.  However, I do not think it really matters.  As long as the star follows the large circle, you are OK.  This is how the program figures out where the center of rotation is.

4) I don't think it matters when you return to the "home" position it has to be exact.  The reason I think this is that it asks you to click on Polaris and then move the template over the 5 stars again.  This should correct any discrepancy of the "home" position.


Yeah, After you get back to the home position and before you do the start monitor, there is a rotating broken circle that is displayed on the screen.  You need to use your elevation and azimuth bolts on the mount to move Polaris inside the rotating broken circle  When you click on Start Monitor, the red cross hair and the green cross hair should be very close on top of each other.  At this point, you make very small adjustments on the azimuth and elevation bolts to get the red and green cross hairs to match.  Typically, I use the little display box above the Start Monitor button to make the adjustments.


This is my experience- maybe it will help you-



#5 MonikaW


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Posted 24 July 2021 - 07:06 AM

Hi Willis, thanks so much for clarifying those things. For some reason at the very end, my green square was very far from the red circle- they were not very close together as you said they should be. Maybe I was not precise enough in previous steps. I'll try again as soon as the sky clears, it was poor transparency last night.

#6 MonikaW


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Posted 26 July 2021 - 07:14 AM

Polar alignment was successful last night!! I'm not sure exactly what helped, I tried a few things:


1) This time i closed all other apps on my computer, including sharp cap, and did not connect my mount or my camera until after polar alignment was complete- when doing polar alignment last time, i had several apps open, chrome windows, and mount/camera connected. The problem may have been that all these programs were causing Pole Master software to stall, and that's why the red circle (axis) wouldn't move even though my mount was moving.


2) Another thing that might have helped last night is that each time i double clicked on polaris or another star as prompted, i used the magnifier in the upper left to make sure my mouse (a green cross) was centred over the star before clicking- i did make sure my mouse was centered last time. However, the manual says clicking in a star's dead centre is not a big deal for the algorithm it uses, so this might not be what helped.


3) It's also possible that none of the above were the solutions and maybe i just didnt identify polaris correctly last time. Anyway, it was VERY satisfying to have success with this last night!! Now to learn focusing and smart-histogram on sharpcap  laugh.gif

Edited by MonikaW, 26 July 2021 - 07:16 AM.

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