Polar Alignment using Sharpcap

Unexpectedly clear last night, albeit with a nearly full Moon. Still, that doesn’t matter too much when you’re setting up/tuning a system.

So it was the Hyperstar 4 on the C11 with the ASI2600MC-Pro camera last night. Started off by getting reasonable collimation and then moved on to polar alignment. Now I haven’t touched the polar alignment for what must be going on for 10 years so I was expecting it to be miles out. I bought the Pro version of Sharpcap just for the polar alignment program which looked very good. Well – it IS very good, in fact I would say it is phenomenal. If an idiot like me can get aligned to the Pole within 10-arcseconds in less than 30-minutes – then the product is a good’un!! I of course checked the PA before making any adjustments and was astonished to find it was “FAIR” at something like 4 arc-minutes. Amazing since it hasn’t been looked at for a decade and the mount had taken a good few knocks in that time.

As there was a blazing (almost full) Moon up it was pointless to go for any serious imaging – so I left the scope pointing at the Celestial Pole and took a bunch of 3-minute unguided subs just to see what I got. Collimation wasn’t spot on, but I am very pleased with the result, especially as magnitude 17.5 galaxies are clearly visible – with just 3-minutes exposure time!

Next job (while the Moon is being a pain) will be to get the MiniWASP array polar aligned and then I’m in business for this imaging season. Fingers crossed for some clear skies this year.

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