Quick Polar Alignment


Here is my polar alignment procedure. It will give you accurate enough alignment to allow using your setting circles to find objects and will let the scope follow an object for hours.

First thing you will need is a list of the right ascension for the bright stars in the sky for Epoch 2000. This should be easy to find in star atlases and catalogs. You will also need the RA for Polaris (something like 2h31m, but I might be a couple minutes of RA off).

One problem you will encounter is the wedgepod for the Celestar does not have an azimuth adjustment. You have to move the whole wedgepod around to change its azimuth and this makes fine motions more difficult.

Ok, we now have the scope pointed at Polaris, we know the DEC circle is reading a true 90 degrees and we now have Polaris centered. Using normal scope RA and DEC motions, move the scope to a star whose RA is known - one of the bright stars on your list. Let's say it's springtime, so let's use Regulus for this. Center Regulus (RA 10h08m) and set your RA circle to the RA for Regulus.

Now turn the scope in RA until it reads the RA of Polaris (2h31m or whatever) and move the scope in DEC until it reads 89 degrees and a bit more (Polaris is around 89.25 degrees right now). Lock both RA and DEC axis and by moving the wedgepod/tripod and NOT the RA and DEC of the scope, center Polaris.

You are now polar aligned. If you wish to get the adjustment a bit closer, move to another bright star in another part of the sky from Regulus and do the same procedure again: set the RA circle to the RA of that star, move the scope to the RA and DEC of Polaris and center Polaris by moving the wedgepod. Two iterations of this procedure will put you within a few minutes of the North Celestial Pole.

The whole process only takes a couple of minutes once you get used to doing it and is accurate enough that I can usually put an object into the field of view of a 45 minutes field of view eyepiece using the circles.


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