Re: Very frustrated with my model. Errors seem very large. #Mach2GTO #Polar_Alignment


SharpCap Pro is easier to work with initially. When it works...

Unfortunately, if you have long Focal Lengths's or less than perfect sky conditions it will fail. I've never had it work on a 2800mm FL with a ASI183MM even in perfect sky conditions. Also, vignetting will cause it to fail every time.  On the best of days it works maybe 50% of the time on my long FL cameras.  NINA+ASTAP can resolve those same plates with 99% accuracy - same day/same equipment. Sharpcap doesn't take the Focal Length into account anywhere when doing plate solves, which causes its undoing.

The PoleMaster however, because it's done by hand, pretty much always works. Overcast moonlit night with fast moving clouds over polaris with the observatory shutter obscuring half of the view? Meh, it doesn't care. 

If you're used to both systems, and use the same equipment for alignment every time, the PoleMaster process will also be faster. Eventually. There is a long step to determine the axis center on both where you have to rotate the scope around the RA axis 90 degrees. SharpCap does this every time. Polemaster can save this information and re-use it. So once you can skip this step and re-use the saved information, the Polemaster alignment becomes quicker overall. There are a few stupid unnecessary steps that they do (like asking multiple times for the 5-star identification). I wish their software was better written. But once you get to know it and expect this, it's fast to use.

"Does match success?". Yes. Yes, match success...

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