Re: Polar laser

Christopher Erickson

Smart Compass is a nice tool!

Christopher Erickson
Consulting Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738


From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2014 8:17 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Polar laser



I think you’re making it more difficult than you need to.  Yes, I’ve had trouble in the past getting my mount close enough to True North to get Polaris in the PA scope’s FOV, but since discovering a simple and cheap SmartPhone compass APP, I don’t have that problem any more.


The APP I’m using is called “Smart Compass” and it’s for Android devices.  The free version doesn’t convert to True North, but the “Pro” version does.  The APP uses your device’s camera and superimposes the compass rose over the camera’s image.  So I just stand back a couple of feet from the mount (to get the phone and compass away from any magnetic parts) and stand so the tripod leg pointing North is centered between the back two legs – and then rotate the tripod until the compass lines everything up to True North.


It’s amazingly accurate and fast.  And I think it cost me less than $3.00.  Using this method for aligning to True North and an electronic level to set the mount’s altitude to a 1/10th of a degree, I can get quick-and-dirty PA so close, my solar scope stays centered on the sun for an hour.  And I can do it during the day or any time I can’t see Polaris. 


This method isn’t accurate enough for real imaging, but it’s good enough for solar, and most definitely gets Polaris in your FOV.




From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2014 4:50 AM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: [ap-gto] Polar laser



Has anyone mounted a green laser pointer to the polar axis of a mount to aid in initial rough polar alignment when setting up the mount in an unfamiliar location? I find it sometimes takes me a bit of initial adjustment to get Polaris in the polar finder. I usually use a compass and set latitude before dark but if I don't know the magnetic north offset at the location I can still end up off.


Join to automatically receive all group messages.