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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Part 5

Polar Alignment Scope App

I have just spent the vast amount of £1.49 to download Polar Scope Align Pro. (There is a free version).  Both my CGEM and Star Adventurer have Polar Scopes and I think that this app may be the best option for me. When you are aligning the Star Adventurer Mount using the polarscope you need to know the position of Polaris so that you can align the mount with the true pole. If I use my SkyX software I can check the position of Polaris very easily as I show below. The time is 13:48 on the 6th Jan 2016. So where is Polaris now. If you were to look at Polaris through binoculars now this is what you would see. (We pretend it is dark!)

The SkyX All Rights reserved Software Bisque

 As you stand facing north with your binoculars the meridian (red vertical line) comes up from the south behind you, goes over your head and drops down to the north point on the horizon in front of you, passing Polaris on the way. You can see that Polaris is currently on the east side of the meridian as you look at it. Polaris is part of Ursa Minor so this little constellation is shown in the chart. If you draw a line from Polaris to Kochab in Ursa Minor the point at which it intersects the meridian is very close to the actual north celestial pole. Here is a closer view in the SkyX with the polarscope features turned on in this software. 

The SkyX All Rights Reserved Software Bisque

 If you use the Star Adventurer Polar Scope you will see that it has an inverted image. Check out the scope during the daytime - I used a nearby chimney with a TV aerial - the image has been rotated by 180 degrees. This is what the SA scope looks like when you look through it.


 If I use the app on my iphone this is what I get. The time is exactly the same as in the above image using the SkyX. I have selected the Star Adventurer Polarscope reticle from the list of possible scopes in the app.

 The inverted view now places Polaris on the left of the meridian. This is what you will see if you look through the polarscope but you will need to adjust the mount to place Polaris on that cross. If you do that the mount will be aligned on the true pole. 

Adjusting the mount to centre align Polaris on the cross. 

This has to be done using the latitude adjustment knob and the azimuth adjustment knobs on the Equatorial Wedge. The bubble level needs to be checked to ensure the mount is horizontal.