American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Wed, 02/03/2021 - 03:45

What is the state-of-the-art software for polar alignment?

I've discovered that my permanently mounted scope has shifted a degree in altitude.
I have a limited view of the horizon.
The scope is a Meade 12" OTA with a CMOS camera.

In the past I've been using PemPro.

What other options are there?


American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Polar alignment, is it needed?

I have PemPro but can't spare the observing time to use it. It came with APCC Pro. Never tried it, but will try it RSN.

I do occasionally use the polar alignment scope and software with the  AP 1100GTO. I can see Polaris.

After making a model with the APPM I can track well enough for >3 minute exposures and plate solve after a meridian flip.

Given airplanes, satellites, bright stars, and the occasional cloud, I never expose for more than about 70 sec for V and 120 seconds for B filters.

ST8XME on 12" F5.63  Meade.

So it pretty much runs all night while I sleep. MaxIM's Correct via Slew, in the Autosave exposure mode keeps the target centered to within an arcsecond or two all night long.

A co-worker uses one of those polar-max cameras hanging off the bottom of the telescope saddle. He sets up his tripod on clear nights behind his condo, polar aligns with it, and autoguides for hours with PHd, I think.  He gets nice round stars and pretty pictures. For some reason, I can't convince him to do photometry. So I had thought of trying one of those polar alignment cameras, but I'm too lazy.