This is quick guide to Simple Polar Alignment with an equatorial mount. Its designed only to get rough polar alignment suitable for observing.
Newcomers to astronomy are quite often easily put off from equatorial mounts by being told they are complex to set up and use. My own personal experience is that they are no more difficult to manage than a standard alt-azimuth and have the advantage that when polar aligned they make life easier when your observing as you have only one control to handle to keep the telescope pointed at an object.
Beginners are often frightened by the idea of ‘Polar Alignment’ as it can seem quite complex. Its actually fairly easy. This guide will talk you through a rough Polar Alignment that will be easily good enough for observing with. If you want a more accurate alignment for astro-photography then you could start with my guide for aligning the HEQ5 which will give a more precise alignment. for full on accuracy you will need to carry out a star drift test. That isn’t covered in either of my guides as I don’t need that level of accuracy for observation.
Before you start the guide it may be useful for you to familiarise yourself with an equatorial mount. You can see a fairly simple equatorial mount with its main components listed by selecting the “A Simple Equatorial Mount – Labelled” tab to the left (or above if on a browser)
|Finding Polaris – Method 1|
|Finding Polaris – Method 2|
I hope you have enjoyed the guide and I hope its of some use to beginners out there. May all your stars be visible all the time.