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Need a Polar scope/align type App. I have no Smartphone, Android or iphone

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#1 emflocater

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:20 PM

Hi Folks. Can anyone recommend a free Polar scope/Align App. that I can put on my laptop? I do not own a fancy phone, only an old school Flip Phone, but I do have a laptop. I want something I can use to help me get the polar scope aligned in the Ioptron Skyguider Pro mount. The App. Ioptron recommends to use is for Android or Iphones.

 

Must be something free, simple and works and  that I can download to my laptop. Please don't make it complicated and go off subject such as using a Polarscope Unit, Sharpcap, etc. I wanted to use PS Align App. but again its only for certain type phones. 

 

Any tried and true EFFECTIVE Free polar scope/align type downloads to a laptop that will work with the Ioptron Skyguider Pro polar scope would be appreciative.

 

Cheers

Don



#2 kathyastro

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 08:30 PM

If you want to use an actual polar scope, then all you need is the hour angle of Polaris.  Stellarium will tell you that.


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#3 vidrazor

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 09:24 PM

The feds can track you on a flip phone too. grin.gif


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#4 emflocater

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 01:40 AM

If you want to use an actual polar scope, then all you need is the hour angle of Polaris.  Stellarium will tell you that.

Thanks but have enough Astro programs like Stellarium. I'm looking for something specific simple Polar finder App. that can be used on a Windows system.

 

Cheers

Don



#5 Phil Sherman

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Posted 06 December 2022 - 09:54 AM

Do a Google search for "polaris hour angle software for Windows"


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#6 emflocater

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 01:54 AM

Well after much, much time searching and trying at least 4 different simple Polar Finder Angle type Applications for Windows (particularly XP) I couldn't find squat! Most downloads would not install, or the Sites that had a Polar App. were long gone! Everything seems to be for Android or phone type Apps. which I get it, however it kind of shocked me that I had to search so hard. Luckily I had saved an older file that had an older but effective simple Polar Finder App. that works fine on my XP and Windows 7 laptops.

 

I just don't get it that everything is leaned toward phone Apps. I mean I understand the portability factor, but a laptop has a battery just like a phone so the portability is there for both. I remember years ago there were a bunch of Polar Finder Apps. for Windows. I must be living in a cave called Old School. Maybe someone out there has a decent Polar Finder App. from years ago that works with Windows that they can share with me or pass on the Files in private or to my email.

 

Cheers

Don



#7 vidrazor

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 03:16 AM

Well after much, much time searching and trying at least 4 different simple Polar Finder Angle type Applications for Windows (particularly XP) I couldn't find squat! Most downloads would not install, or the Sites that had a Polar App. were long gone! Everything seems to be for Android or phone type Apps. which I get it, however it kind of shocked me that I had to search so hard. Luckily I had saved an older file that had an older but effective simple Polar Finder App. that works fine on my XP and Windows 7 laptops.

I just don't get it that everything is leaned toward phone Apps. I mean I understand the portability factor, but a laptop has a battery just like a phone so the portability is there for both. I remember years ago there were a bunch of Polar Finder Apps. for Windows. I must be living in a cave called Old School. Maybe someone out there has a decent Polar Finder App. from years ago that works with Windows that they can share with me or pass on the Files in private or to my email.

Cheers

Don

Yes, you are living in quite the cave. :)

 

You know, really, even if you don't want to use a cellphone for your phone service (and honestly I wouldn't know why) you can buy a cheap unlocked Android cellphone for peanuts and use it just for the polar alignment app if you wanted. Or you can check with your carrier to see what Android phones they offer that you can additionally actually use as, well, a phone.

 

A cellphone is after all nothing more than a tiny computer and, among other assets, it has the additional advantage in that it has a built-in GPS, so the cellphone polar alignment software reading is not only accurate, it gives you your actual latitude and longitude position. Because it is a small computer, you can use it for an additional number of things, like browsing the internet so you can for instance be here, checking email, having an event calendar to remind you of things, install planetarium programs, play back music and videos while you're out in the boonies shooting subs. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.

 

It's actually quite a handy little device. ;)
 


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#8 tdengler

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 03:51 AM

It would seem to me you could go real old school and do something where you pin three cardboard circles together with marks on where polaris should be at midnight of a given day, and then adjust for how many hours plus or minus you are from midnight.  Something like this although I know the alignment isn't correct.  This works in my head but I don't know if would work outside of my head.  It's like an App made of cardboard. smile.gif

PolarCardboard.jpg

 


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#9 lancing

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 05:24 AM

I found the Android based polar alignment apps did not work great for me. I think it heavily depends on the accuracy of your phones sensors which depends on the brand, etc. But the alignment I was getting was a decent amount off and not great for me trying to image.

 

I have no view of Polaris at all so I do a rough alignment north with an actual compass (hilarious in 2022 I know) and then do a drift alignment.

 

If you want to keep things super simple and can accept a bit of error my advice is to either use a polar scope if you can see Polaris. If you can't see Polaris align with a compass north and if you have a goto mount have it goto a bright visible star somewhere along the meridian and use the manual azimuth adjust knobs on your mount to center it in the scope then lock the mount down.


Edited by lancing, 07 December 2022 - 05:32 AM.

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#10 emflocater

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 01:07 PM

Yes, you are living in quite the cave. smile.gif

 

You know, really, even if you don't want to use a cellphone for your phone service (and honestly I wouldn't know why) you can buy a cheap unlocked Android cellphone for peanuts and use it just for the polar alignment app if you wanted. Or you can check with your carrier to see what Android phones they offer that you can additionally actually use as, well, a phone.

 

A cellphone is after all nothing more than a tiny computer and, among other assets, it has the additional advantage in that it has a built-in GPS, so the cellphone polar alignment software reading is not only accurate, it gives you your actual latitude and longitude position. Because it is a small computer, you can use it for an additional number of things, like browsing the internet so you can for instance be here, checking email, having an event calendar to remind you of things, install planetarium programs, play back music and videos while you're out in the boonies shooting subs. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.

 

It's actually quite a handy little device. wink.gif
 

Thanks. I do have a an LG Flip Classic. Pay less than $7 a month with over 3000 min, 3000+ text and 3.5 Gb of data. Does all I need as its really used for emergencies.I have my LAN line at home as a package with Spectrum. 7 Laptops and 3 PC's. Don't need an expensive phone with a larger monthly payment. I can get my email when I get home. I just wanted a simple Polar Finder App. Lol. I did find one. Its purpose was only to use with my ioptron Skyguider Pro for several minutes of polar scope setup with my Canon camera for wide field pics. My other scopes and mounts I use my Polemaster unit and all is good. Someday I'm gonna get out of the cave, for now I sleep good at night and my wallet is fatter. funnypost.gif

Cheers

Don


Edited by emflocater, 07 December 2022 - 05:29 PM.


#11 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 02:56 PM

What about getting a Polemaster?


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#12 kasprowy

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 03:01 PM

Windows, Linux, or Mac. Take your pick.

http://www.polarfind...om/windows.html



#13 emflocater

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 05:33 PM

What about getting a Polemaster?

Thanks...I had to correct my last post as I have a Polemaster. Not gonna use on the ioptron skyguider.  

 

Cheers

Don



#14 emflocater

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 05:39 PM

Windows, Linux, or Mac. Take your pick.

http://www.polarfind...om/windows.html

Yea I tried that...bad real bad. But thanks anyhow. 

 

Cheers

Don



#15 vidrazor

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:24 PM

I have to say I find your adversity to cellphones rather entertaining. smile.gif

 

You actually have a few better polar alignment options on your Windows computers, some free, some that cost minimal outlay. They work through your primary camera, or your guide camera if you have one. All of them however allow you to get dead accurate polar alignment. All of these solutions use plate solving for polar alignment, and they negate the need for you to place Polaris right where it needs to be in the polar scope graticule. You only need to place it in the field of view of your polar scope. The software takes it from there. NINA and APT can also polar align even without needing to be aimed at Polaris!

 

The first, free except possibly for it's learning curve, is NINA. With NINA and some free support astrometry apps, you can plate solve polar align.

 

Similarly, the $20 Astro Photography Tool has "PAPS", Polar Align via Plate Solving 3-points polar alignment, also using some free astrometry support apps.

 

Finally, there is the $15 US/year subscription-based SharpCap, with a 2 point polar alignment tool.

 

With any of these apps you only need to put Polaris roughly where it needs to be, and the software will guide you to a perfect polar alignment.

 

All of these apps offer many additional tools sets, like camera control and capture. I'm not too familiar with Sharpcap's entire tool set, but both NINA and APT offer a multitude of tools for an astrophotographic session, like plate solve GOTO on dual axis mounts, camera control and image capture, focusing tools, mount dithering, capture data analysis, planetary capture, etc. If you happen to have a guide camera and guide scope, you can additionally run PHD2 and it integrates with these apps for autoguiding and dithering. Using an app like Stellarium or Carts du Ciel, you can also manually plate solve GOTO to position to accurately position your camera and SkyGuider Pro to your target.

 

I could go on, but you get the idea. I think this is probably a better way for you to go to get accurate polar alignment and target positioning then what you're trying to accomplish. So have a look at these apps, watch some tutorials for NINA, APT, and SharpCap, and see which one of them "clicks" with you, and roll with it. My favorite of these is APT, and I highly recommend it.


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#16 Spaceman 56

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 02:11 AM

 

A cellphone is after all nothing more than a tiny computer and, among other assets, it has the additional advantage in that it has a built-in GPS, so the cellphone polar alignment software reading is not only accurate, it gives you your actual latitude and longitude position. Because it is a small computer, you can use it for an additional number of things, like browsing the internet so you can for instance be here, checking email, having an event calendar to remind you of things, install planetarium programs, play back music and videos while you're out in the boonies shooting subs. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.

 

It's actually quite a handy little device. wink.gif
 

like Don I dont have a mobile either, and probably never will.

 

where I live in NZ there is no cell phone coverage, so I use a computer for astro, and everything else.

 

actually I also hate cellphones. lol.gif  but thats just me. 

 

I wonder if the OP has  used Synscan to 3 star align, and then run the Polar align from the handset ?

 

thats what I do mostly and it works fine.



#17 Spaceman 56

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 02:19 AM

 

 

Cheers

Don

hey Don.

 

you can polar align with the sun, a string-line shadow drop, a watch and your mounts altitude angle adjustments if you want.

 

you also need your earth location for latitude and longitude.

 

its actually simple and reasonably accurate to get a rough starting point, that you can then fine tune with the synscan 3 star align and the synscan polar align in the mount handset if you have skywatcher unit.

 

believe it or not its the method I still use. no phone apps at all.

 

gives me shaky images like this. lol.gif

 

Rosette Nebulae
 
Omega 11th May 2022
 
Alnitak 23rd Feb.
 
ok. point taken. you can polar align without a Phone app, or a computer attached to the mount.
 
I can talk you through it if you like in a PM.
 
Spaceman smile.gif

 

 


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#18 Phil Sherman

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 12:17 PM

Since you have cameras, you can polar align using them with the DARV drift alignment technique. No additional software or a view of Polaris is needed and you can get an almost perfect polar alignment using it. This also makes a great way to verify that polar alignment using other methods is accurate enough for your needs. A measurement lasting a little over a minute will easily show a polar misalignment that causes a 1/2 pixel drift.


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#19 vidrazor

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 02:24 PM

where I live in NZ there is no cell phone coverage, so I use a computer for astro, and everything else.
I wonder if the OP has  used Synscan to 3 star align, and then run the Polar align from the handset ?

you can polar align with the sun, a string-line shadow drop, a watch and your mounts altitude angle adjustments if you want.

you also need your earth location for latitude and longitude.

its actually simple and reasonably accurate to get a rough starting point, that you can then fine tune with the synscan 3 star align and the synscan polar align in the mount handset if you have skywatcher unit.

ok. point taken. you can polar align without a Phone app, or a computer attached to the mount.

I can talk you through it if you like in a PM.
Spaceman smile.gif

Re sun alignment, what if it's cloudy out during the day and clears up in the evening?

 

You'll need a GPS of some sort to get pinpoint latitude and longitude location, like Google Maps on a computer. Or a cellphone. grin.gif

 

OP has a SkyGuider Pro, not a GOTO, so no 3 point alignment capability. Hence my secondary listed options I believe are a much better approach to ensuring dead accurate polar alignment, without a cellphone, and additionally giving manually adjusted GOTO capability, aka PUSHTO.
 


Edited by vidrazor, 08 December 2022 - 02:26 PM.

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#20 Spaceman 56

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 03:45 PM

Re sun alignment, what if it's cloudy out during the day and clears up in the evening?

 

You'll need a GPS of some sort to get pinpoint latitude and longitude location, like Google Maps on a computer. Or a cellphone. grin.gif

 

yes cloudy at solar noon won't work. smile.gif 

 

I had to do the sun/shadow drop method a few times, on clear days  to get my North south line accurate.

 

once I had it accurate I scribed it onto the floor below my imaging position.

 

so its ok if you image from the same spot every night, but no good if you move locations.

 

I used google maps to get my Latitude and longitude.

 

then set elevation to my latitude, for my coarse alignment, and fine tune with synscan.

 

if he does not have synscan then he will be limited to coarse alignment.

 

actually once I had my coarse alignment done using Sun/Elevation I moved on to the D.A.R.V. method listed above by 

 

Phil Sherman, and I did drift align to get it closer. this worked for me, and I am also glad I learnt that method.

 

then I learnt the method using Synscan, which is often easier and faster. 

 

its good to know there are more than 1 ways to skin a cat. lol.gif

 

best wishes Spaceman 56



#21 Spaceman 56

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 03:48 PM

 you can polar align using them with the DARV drift alignment technique. No additional software or a view of Polaris is needed and you can get an almost perfect polar alignment using it. This also makes a great way to verify that polar alignment using other methods is accurate enough for your needs.

I have used the D.A.R.V method Phil and while it takes a little time, it worked for me.

 

those VEE light movements sure show up when its wrong, so easy to see.

 

I got it working pretty quick. thanks for that.  smile.gif

 

Spaceman



#22 Phil Sherman

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 04:31 PM

I have used the D.A.R.V method Phil and while it takes a little time, it worked for me.

 

those VEE light movements sure show up when its wrong, so easy to see.

 

I got it working pretty quick. thanks for that.  smile.gif

 

Spaceman

If you modify the method by adding 5 seconds to the exposure and adding that 5 seconds to the second (W) slew, the "V" trail will extend just past the tracked portion of the exposure. This makes it much easier to read the image when you get very close to perfect alignment. I've easily detected a 1/4 pixel drift during the measurement interval. The return trail isn't centered on the initial tracked portion which makes the uneven division of the tracked portion's star easy to see.


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#23 17.5Dob

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 01:42 AM



A cellphone is after all nothing more than a tiny computer and, among other assets, it has the additional advantage in that it has a built-in GPS, so the cellphone polar alignment software reading is not only accurate, it gives you your actual latitude and longitude position. Because it is a small computer, you can use it for an additional number of things, like browsing the internet so you can for instance be here, checking email, having an event calendar to remind you of things, install planetarium programs, play back music and videos while you're out in the boonies shooting subs. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.



Where I live, the sign of being in the boonies is that you haven't had cell service for at least the last 30-40+ miles. My dark sites have no service. Virtually all of the places I go camping have no service. Cell service is a luxury reserved for you urbanites.
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#24 vidrazor

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Posted 09 December 2022 - 02:52 AM

Where I live, the sign of being in the boonies is that you haven't had cell service for at least the last 30-40+ miles. My dark sites have no service. Virtually all of the places I go camping have no service. Cell service is a luxury reserved for you urbanites.

That doesn't mean your music and videos can't be on the phone. wink.gif


Edited by vidrazor, 09 December 2022 - 03:17 AM.

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