An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi,

As winter will too soon be here, I am NOT looking forward to having to shovel a trench in the snow to kneel into, in order to use the polar scope. It was awkward enough in summer (at 45 deg N).

I wonder if anyone has tried any other way of centering Polaris through the PAS.

One possibility is to perhaps modify a diagonal, with a Barlow relay lens, to bring the alignment image to a more comfortable standing view position. This would be a great "optical" option for AP to produce for the PAS.

Perhaps a much better method might be to temporarily plug a standard "guider head", such as your (SBIG RGH, Orion autoguider, or Trifid autoguider), over the PAS eyepiece, and view the polar alignment on the laptop screen. In many cases, these guide heads are just waiting to start use as guiders, so perhaps they can also serve double duty as a PAS camera. An additional advantage, especially at light polluted sites, is that the guider will cut through the haze to bring out the other two dim reference stars, barely visible on the reticle right now.

I suppose this will be a real bonus for south pole PAS alignment. In that case, it should be possible to program (or draw) a laptop screen overlay/template, with a south pole centre point, using the other reference stars.

Has anyone tried the latter method? I wonder if there might be some issue with the focus reaching the guider chip - although, with the camera (or star diagonal) 1.25" eyepiece tube bottomed "overtop" of the PAS eyepiece, that may not be a problem. You still would need to make an eyepiece adapter from 1.25" down to the much smaller PAS eyepiece diameter, with a limiting collar (set screw ring), to prevent bottoming of the PAS eyepiece onto the chip.

Comments, please?
Thanks
Joe


William R. Mattil <wrmattil@...>
 

Joseph Zeglinski wrote:
[snip]

Comments, please?



Sure,

Get a taller pier so you don't have kneel down.

Hire somebody to do it for you

Stick to visual

Buy a Hubble book instead of doing astrophotography.



Bill


Hank Sielski
 

Joseph,

Joking aside, a taller pier or using an astrochair to sit lower might help.


If you move around in latitude a bit like I do (between northern and
southern California), or find that your altitude (or azimuth) is way off for
some reason, I find that shooting a green laser up through the PAS helps to
get Polaris close to the center of the FOV of the PAS without
kneeling/bending. After that, then you still need to look through the PAS
to get Polaris moved to the offset area and align the other two stars.

Even if you can't do this later part (bright skies, or whatever) , you still
might be able to use the meridan delay or two star method (documented in the
manual) to get even closer.

After that, you can do a drift alignment, if you need to, but this isn't
necessary if you're only going visual.

Beyond that, I think you'll have to resort to something with software on a
PC and a camera to zero in your polar alignment (Pulseguide, Pole-Align_Max,
etc. lots of choices here).

The idea to use to hook up a guide camera to use as a video finder or
something seems interesting...let us know if you get something working.

Hank


On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 3:02 PM, William R. Mattil
<wrmattil@...>wrote:

Joseph Zeglinski wrote:
[snip]

Comments, please?



Sure,

Get a taller pier so you don't have kneel down.

Hire somebody to do it for you

Stick to visual

Buy a Hubble book instead of doing astrophotography.

Bill


Ladislav Nemec <nemecl@...>
 

Bit naughty?

-----Original Message-----
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...] On Behalf Of
William R. Mattil
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:03 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method



Joseph Zeglinski wrote:
[snip]

Comments, please?



Sure,

Get a taller pier so you don't have kneel down.

Hire somebody to do it for you

Stick to visual

Buy a Hubble book instead of doing astrophotography.

Bill


Richard Crisp
 

hey that's a cool idea Hank!

I have a GLP and that's a great use for it.

I'll try it next time I set up at the ranch!
rdc

----- Original Message -----
From: Hank Sielski
To: ap-gto@...
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Joseph,

Joking aside, a taller pier or using an astrochair to sit lower might help.

If you move around in latitude a bit like I do (between northern and
southern California), or find that your altitude (or azimuth) is way off for
some reason, I find that shooting a green laser up through the PAS helps to
get Polaris close to the center of the FOV of the PAS without
kneeling/bending. After that, then you still need to look through the PAS
to get Polaris moved to the offset area and align the other two stars.

Even if you can't do this later part (bright skies, or whatever) , you still
might be able to use the meridan delay or two star method (documented in the
manual) to get even closer.

After that, you can do a drift alignment, if you need to, but this isn't
necessary if you're only going visual.

Beyond that, I think you'll have to resort to something with software on a
PC and a camera to zero in your polar alignment (Pulseguide, Pole-Align_Max,
etc. lots of choices here).

The idea to use to hook up a guide camera to use as a video finder or
something seems interesting...let us know if you get something working.

Hank

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 3:02 PM, William R. Mattil
<wrmattil@...>wrote:

> Joseph Zeglinski wrote:
> > [snip]
> >
> > Comments, please?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> Sure,
>
> Get a taller pier so you don't have kneel down.
>
> Hire somebody to do it for you
>
> Stick to visual
>
> Buy a Hubble book instead of doing astrophotography.
>
> Bill
>
>


Joe Zeglinski
 

Sorry to pi** you off, Bill, but I figured somebody would state the obvious without much contemplation.

To answer the obvious, as a professional engineer, I spent quite some time - months - planning, measuring and testing the best height to always set my Losmandy tripod, to suit the OTA placement procedure. The main concern was to fix the height "precisely" so that the AP-900 saddle would be no higher than MY shoulder height when I carried the OTA into position. I figured this would avoid back injury, which I have a pretty good start on already.
So ... the AP-900 must be at the chosen height. Short of a hoop toss of the OTA into the saddle, your taller pier idea is inappropriate.

That being the case, this makes the polar scope position difficult, but not impossible to use - physically. However, my being limited to suburb use, the polar scope view is fairly dim. I did get all three stars aligned, but it takes more kneeling position time than I would like - O.K. on grass, but snow makes things uncomfortable.

As you propose, I could hire somebody to do it - I suppose the price of the equipment implies that hiring a servant isn't a big deal ... for some.

As for sticking to visual - how does that solve the PAS use problem?
Of course, using the PAS is only the first setup step, and I do use Roland's procedure to get final alignment. However, it sure would be nice to make good, BUT "easier" use of the PAS.

Thanks for your practical suggestions, Bill. What else 'ya got?
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "William R. Mattil" <wrmattil@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Sure,

Get a taller pier so you don't have kneel down.

Hire somebody to do it for you

Stick to visual

Buy a Hubble book instead of doing astrophotography.



Bill


Joe Zeglinski
 

Thanks Hank,

Actually, I tried using my green laser pointer (GLP) as a test, by firing it into my Questar-7 Maksutov, thinking it would work the same as one of the US observatories did, hitting the "Laser Ranging Array" retro reflector package left on the moon. However, either my 5 mw laser beam was too weak, or was bouncing directly back from the secondary spot on the corrector, but in any case the ad hoc test failed. I couldn't see the beam pointed at Polaris. I thought perhaps I needed to disperse the laser in a wider beam with a pellicle lens, or some such. I must say, your approach with the PAS seems like a good one.

But I don't see why you shoot through the PAS itself - isn't it just as easy to simply rig up a holder for the GLP to fit into the mount in place of the PAS? You would need the jig in either case, and I don't think the PAS optics add anything to the laser beam, other than slight attenuation. It would be nice if it would project the PAS reticle on the sky, like a BATMAN Signal. Just kidding <g>.

As for the comfort in using a lawn chair for the task of lining up Polaris in the PAS, I agree that would be easy but only in regions of lower latitude, ideally at the equator. Further north/south, when the PAS is set at 45 degrees or higher elevation, there is not enough room for a chair next to the pier, while the risk of craning the neck at such an S-bend is liable to cause not only back ache, but also potential neck injury - I tried that.

I am eager to try out my idea of using the RGH guide camera with the PAS, just as soon as my recent back injury lets me out of the house, hopefully before winter. So far, I am getting a better view of the floor, than the sky :-)

As an alternative, I did consider getting a Meade "Electronic Eyepiece" with an NTSC video output to a small monitor, avoiding use of a laptop and CCD imager. However, at 320x240 resolution, I suspect that the dim stars will be barely visible, or they will pop in and out of view. Besides, I suspect most owners of an AP mount are likely to be imaging, and the ubiquitous laptop and guide camera are going to be readily available. In fact, SBIG has a free downloadable "Seeing Program" for use with their SBIG-402 (or other imagers) on Polaris - I thought that could be a bonus at the start of a night, since the guider is already set on the PAS.

Finally, if used for just visual observing, polar alignment is not that critical, and it might suffice to use the old "boy scout trick" - stick a wet finger in the air and test which way the solar wind is blowing? :-)

Cheers Hank,

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hank Sielski" <hsielski@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Joseph,

Joking aside, a taller pier or using an astrochair to sit lower might help.


If you move around in latitude a bit like I do (between northern and
southern California), or find that your altitude (or azimuth) is way off for
some reason, I find that shooting a green laser up through the PAS helps to
get Polaris close to the center of the FOV of the PAS without
kneeling/bending. After that, then you still need to look through the PAS
to get Polaris moved to the offset area and align the other two stars.

Even if you can't do this later part (bright skies, or whatever) , you still
might be able to use the meridan delay or two star method (documented in the
manual) to get even closer.

After that, you can do a drift alignment, if you need to, but this isn't
necessary if you're only going visual.

Beyond that, I think you'll have to resort to something with software on a
PC and a camera to zero in your polar alignment (Pulseguide, Pole-Align_Max,
etc. lots of choices here).

The idea to use to hook up a guide camera to use as a video finder or
something seems interesting...let us know if you get something working.

Hank


Hank Sielski
 

Hi Joe,

The aperture of the PAS is a small one, but at least its a refractor...no
secondary. Also, while it does probably attenuate the beam a bit, it may
also have the effect to collimate it, so the "pointing" error may be offset
somewhat. At least, I only use it to get "close" to the final Alt/Az of
Polaris. Finally, my green laser pointer doesn't really suffer from the
attenuation by the PAS simply by being a bit more powerful than
yours...150mW...see www.kaidomain.com.

Clear Skies,

Hank

On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 11:10 PM, Joseph Zeglinski
<J.Zeglinski@...>wrote:

Thanks Hank,

Actually, I tried using my green laser pointer (GLP) as a test, by
firing it into my Questar-7 Maksutov, thinking it would work the same as
one
of the US observatories did, hitting the "Laser Ranging Array" retro
reflector package left on the moon. However, either my 5 mw laser beam was
too weak, or was bouncing directly back from the secondary spot on the
corrector, but in any case the ad hoc test failed. I couldn't see the beam
pointed at Polaris. I thought perhaps I needed to disperse the laser in a
wider beam with a pellicle lens, or some such. I must say, your approach
with the PAS seems like a good one.

But I don't see why you shoot through the PAS itself - isn't it just as
easy to simply rig up a holder for the GLP to fit into the mount in place
of
the PAS? You would need the jig in either case, and I don't think the PAS
optics add anything to the laser beam, other than slight attenuation. It
would be nice if it would project the PAS reticle on the sky, like a BATMAN

Signal. Just kidding <g>.

As for the comfort in using a lawn chair for the task of lining up
Polaris in the PAS, I agree that would be easy but only in regions of lower

latitude, ideally at the equator. Further north/south, when the PAS is set
at 45 degrees or higher elevation, there is not enough room for a chair
next
to the pier, while the risk of craning the neck at such an S-bend is liable

to cause not only back ache, but also potential neck injury - I tried that.

I am eager to try out my idea of using the RGH guide camera with the
PAS, just as soon as my recent back injury lets me out of the house,
hopefully before winter. So far, I am getting a better view of the floor,
than the sky :-)

As an alternative, I did consider getting a Meade "Electronic Eyepiece"
with an NTSC video output to a small monitor, avoiding use of a laptop and
CCD imager. However, at 320x240 resolution, I suspect that the dim stars
will be barely visible, or they will pop in and out of view. Besides, I
suspect most owners of an AP mount are likely to be imaging, and the
ubiquitous laptop and guide camera are going to be readily available. In
fact, SBIG has a free downloadable "Seeing Program" for use with their
SBIG-402 (or other imagers) on Polaris - I thought that could be a bonus at

the start of a night, since the guider is already set on the PAS.

Finally, if used for just visual observing, polar alignment is not that
critical, and it might suffice to use the old "boy scout trick" - stick a
wet finger in the air and test which way the solar wind is blowing? :-)

Cheers Hank,

Joe


----- Original Message -----
From: "Hank Sielski" <hsielski@... <hsielski%40gmail.com>>
To: <ap-gto@... <ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method

Joseph,

Joking aside, a taller pier or using an astrochair to sit lower might
help.


If you move around in latitude a bit like I do (between northern and
southern California), or find that your altitude (or azimuth) is way off
for
some reason, I find that shooting a green laser up through the PAS helps
to
get Polaris close to the center of the FOV of the PAS without
kneeling/bending. After that, then you still need to look through the
PAS
to get Polaris moved to the offset area and align the other two stars.

Even if you can't do this later part (bright skies, or whatever) , you
still
might be able to use the meridan delay or two star method (documented in
the
manual) to get even closer.

After that, you can do a drift alignment, if you need to, but this isn't
necessary if you're only going visual.

Beyond that, I think you'll have to resort to something with software on
a
PC and a camera to zero in your polar alignment (Pulseguide,
Pole-Align_Max,
etc. lots of choices here).

The idea to use to hook up a guide camera to use as a video finder or
something seems interesting...let us know if you get something working.

Hank



Joe Zeglinski
 

Thanks Hank,

I just figured since a laser is already highly collimated, yet another lens after the lens in the laser, wasn't going to do anything.

I looked at a 150 mw laser in the local astro store, and asked if it is "street legal". The clerk said it was - in Canada - but likely not in the USA. Have you seen anything on the legality of these anywhere, and what the legal power levels are? I was surprised that these can be sold. If they are legal, I may get one since my 5 mw GLP is really too weak for astro, unless you sight right along the beam, not to the side.

If that works, I may try just mounting the GLP "front end section", which has the laser module itself, and power it with a battery wire connection. That would make the attachment much easier and alignment of the GLP more precise. Most of the GLP pen is taken by two AA batteries, so just converting the laser end cap to a slip on eyepiece cap, would make the GLP as easy to add to the Pasillx PAS, as a normal eyepiece cover.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hank Sielski" <hsielski@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 3:19 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

The aperture of the PAS is a small one, but at least its a refractor...no
secondary. Also, while it does probably attenuate the beam a bit, it may
also have the effect to collimate it, so the "pointing" error may be offset
somewhat. At least, I only use it to get "close" to the final Alt/Az of
Polaris. Finally, my green laser pointer doesn't really suffer from the
attenuation by the PAS simply by being a bit more powerful than
yours...150mW...see www.kaidomain.com.

Clear Skies,

Hank


Chuck Hancock
 

Joe, I wonder if the 10 mW laser would damage the reticle in the polar alignment scope.
Chuck

Joseph Zeglinski wrote:

Thanks Hank,

I just figured since a laser is already highly collimated, yet another lens after the lens in the laser, wasn't going to do anything.

I looked at a 150 mw laser in the local astro store, and asked if it is "street legal". The clerk said it was - in Canada - but likely not in the USA. Have you seen anything on the legality of these anywhere, and what the legal power levels are? I was surprised that these can be sold. If they are legal, I may get one since my 5 mw GLP is really too weak for astro, unless you sight right along the beam, not to the side.

If that works, I may try just mounting the GLP "front end section", which has the laser module itself, and power it with a battery wire connection. That would make the attachment much easier and alignment of the GLP more precise. Most of the GLP pen is taken by two AA batteries, so just converting the laser end cap to a slip on eyepiece cap, would make the GLP as easy to add to the Pasillx PAS, as a normal eyepiece cover.

Joe


dmwmpd <westergren@...>
 

Hi Joe,

Yes you can use a camera to view the PAS. However you have to use
AFOCAL (or eyepiece) projection to have it work. That is using a
camera with it's own lens to replace your eye. Perhaps a video cam
would work - it would be light and small so it could be mounted on
the PAS and be close enough to prevent vignetting.

Try it in your living room first - you might be surprised how well
it works. Just hold the camera up to the PAS eyepiece. You would
leave the PAS focussed for your eyes, but have to adjust the focus
on the camera to infinity.

I haven't tried this with my PAS, but I have taken pictures of
planets with my AP scope this way. The magnification increases with
added camera distance from the eyepiece. The FOV and brightness
decrease with increased distance, so you probably want the camera
lens almost touching the PAS eyepiece.

Good Luck, let us know how it works. It's a great idea.

Don Westergren

--- In ap-gto@..., "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
wrote:

Hi,

As winter will too soon be here, I am NOT looking forward to
having to shovel a trench in the snow to kneel into, in order to use
the polar scope. It was awkward enough in summer (at 45 deg N).

I wonder if anyone has tried any other way of centering
Polaris through the PAS.

One possibility is to perhaps modify a diagonal, with a
Barlow relay lens, to bring the alignment image to a more
comfortable standing view position. This would be a great "optical"
option for AP to produce for the PAS.

Perhaps a much better method might be to temporarily plug a
standard "guider head", such as your (SBIG RGH, Orion autoguider, or
Trifid autoguider), over the PAS eyepiece, and view the polar
alignment on the laptop screen. In many cases, these guide heads are
just waiting to start use as guiders, so perhaps they can also serve
double duty as a PAS camera. An additional advantage, especially at
light polluted sites, is that the guider will cut through the haze
to bring out the other two dim reference stars, barely visible on
the reticle right now.

I suppose this will be a real bonus for south pole PAS
alignment. In that case, it should be possible to program (or draw)
a laptop screen overlay/template, with a south pole centre point,
using the other reference stars.

Has anyone tried the latter method? I wonder if there might
be some issue with the focus reaching the guider chip - although,
with the camera (or star diagonal) 1.25" eyepiece tube
bottomed "overtop" of the PAS eyepiece, that may not be a problem.
You still would need to make an eyepiece adapter from 1.25" down to
the much smaller PAS eyepiece diameter, with a limiting collar (set
screw ring), to prevent bottoming of the PAS eyepiece onto the chip.

Comments, please?
Thanks
Joe

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Mark Squicquero
 

Joseph,

I've been using pretty much what you have described.  I have an Archos portable video player that has a "helmet" cam attachment, which is a small video camera.  I made an adapter out of pvc which holds the camera up against the Pasill eyepiece.  I just stand on the north side of the mount and hold the small player and watch the position of Polaris as I move the Alt and Az adjustments.  It works quite well for Polaris but isn't sensitive enough for the other two stars although sometimes I can just make out the second star enough to approximate its position.  Once everything is set I just take a quick look through the Pasill and tweek the position of the two fainter stars.  A Guider camera would probably work better due to sensitivity< but the concept works quite
well>

Mark





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Joe Zeglinski
 

Thanks Don,

I think I will try initial in house testing. I was concerned whether the PAS reticle is a virtual image that would not project onto the CCD chip in the guide camera. I was hoping to avoid afocal projection and the added hassle of the extra eyepiece, clutter, and diminished light level. I was expecting to place the guider CCD right at the same position as the eye pupil would have been - and they are probably the same size as well. Something as tiny as a Meade LPI (lunar planetary imager) with 640x480 VGA resolution might be even better and lighter (saves hauling the entire tethered SBIG camera out, when sometimes all you need to use is the RGH).

Worth a shot anyway.

Thanks to all for your advice,
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "dmwmpd" <westergren@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 12:43 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

Yes you can use a camera to view the PAS. However you have to use
AFOCAL (or eyepiece) projection to have it work. That is using a
camera with it's own lens to replace your eye. Perhaps a video cam
would work - it would be light and small so it could be mounted on
the PAS and be close enough to prevent vignetting.

Try it in your living room first - you might be surprised how well
it works. Just hold the camera up to the PAS eyepiece. You would
leave the PAS focussed for your eyes, but have to adjust the focus
on the camera to infinity.

I haven't tried this with my PAS, but I have taken pictures of
planets with my AP scope this way. The magnification increases with
added camera distance from the eyepiece. The FOV and brightness
decrease with increased distance, so you probably want the camera
lens almost touching the PAS eyepiece.

Good Luck, let us know how it works. It's a great idea.

Don Westergren


Joe Zeglinski
 

That's TERRIFIC !!! Thanks Mark,

I was really hoping somebody had already proved the possibility of it's working. If you can, perhaps a few pictures of your PAS set up on the AP group site would be helpful to everyone.

By the way, does the PAS illuminated reticle "light up" on the video player screen as well, and have you tried adjusting the reticle light level by plugging it into the reticle port of the GTOCPx ?

Since that helmet camera has it's own lens, you are using AFOCAL projection, so I wonder if the reticle is a virtual image that won't project into the camera. In such case, I would have to use a plastic laptop screen template (or graphic image overlay ) to replace the PAS reticle function, and rotate the camera head to line up the dim star marks (instead of rotating the PAS as normal).

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Squicquero" <docsquic@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Joseph,

I've been using pretty much what you have described. I have an Archos portable video player that has a "helmet" cam attachment, which is a small video camera. I made an adapter out of pvc which holds the camera up against the Pasill eyepiece. I just stand on the north side of the mount and hold the small player and watch the position of Polaris as I move the Alt and Az adjustments. It works quite well for Polaris but isn't sensitive enough for the other two stars although sometimes I can just make out the second star enough to approximate its position. Once everything is set I just take a quick look through the Pasill and tweek the position of the two fainter stars. A Guider camera would probably work better due to sensitivity< but the concept works quite
well>

Mark








------------------------------------

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links


dmwmpd <westergren@...>
 

Hi Joe,

The use of a webcam is just like the eye - it is a lens plus sensor
system. So the afocal projection will be able to see the reticule
if the eye can see it. There's no way using a guide camera without
a lens will work.

Don

--- In ap-gto@..., "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
wrote:

That's TERRIFIC !!! Thanks Mark,

I was really hoping somebody had already proved the
possibility of it's
working. If you can, perhaps a few pictures of your PAS set up on
the AP
group site would be helpful to everyone.

By the way, does the PAS illuminated reticle "light up" on the
video
player screen as well, and have you tried adjusting the reticle
light level
by plugging it into the reticle port of the GTOCPx ?

Since that helmet camera has it's own lens, you are using AFOCAL
projection,
so I wonder if the reticle is a virtual image that won't project
into the
camera. In such case, I would have to use a plastic laptop screen
template
(or graphic image overlay ) to replace the PAS reticle function,
and rotate
the camera head to line up the dim star marks (instead of rotating
the PAS
as normal).

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Squicquero" <docsquic@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment
method


Joseph,

I've been using pretty much what you have described. I have an
Archos
portable video player that has a "helmet" cam attachment, which is
a small
video camera. I made an adapter out of pvc which holds the camera
up against
the Pasill eyepiece. I just stand on the north side of the mount
and hold
the small player and watch the position of Polaris as I move the
Alt and Az
adjustments. It works quite well for Polaris but isn't sensitive
enough for
the other two stars although sometimes I can just make out the
second star
enough to approximate its position. Once everything is set I just
take a
quick look through the Pasill and tweek the position of the two
fainter
stars. A Guider camera would probably work better due to
sensitivity< but
the concept works quite
well>

Mark





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------------------

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links


Hank Sielski
 

Joe,

The LED in the PAS can be illuminated using the "reticle" plug on the
mount. Then you can control the brightness from the keypad...

Just be careful not to accidentally plug the PAS LED into the 6V plug on the
mount by mistake, as I did in a hurry last Friday night or else you'll fry
your LED, and that seems to be a bit of a pain to recover from...

Hank

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 11:08 AM, Joseph Zeglinski
<J.Zeglinski@...>wrote:

That's TERRIFIC !!! Thanks Mark,

I was really hoping somebody had already proved the possibility of it's
working. If you can, perhaps a few pictures of your PAS set up on the AP
group site would be helpful to everyone.

By the way, does the PAS illuminated reticle "light up" on the video
player screen as well, and have you tried adjusting the reticle light level

by plugging it into the reticle port of the GTOCPx ?

Since that helmet camera has it's own lens, you are using AFOCAL
projection,
so I wonder if the reticle is a virtual image that won't project into the
camera. In such case, I would have to use a plastic laptop screen template
(or graphic image overlay ) to replace the PAS reticle function, and rotate

the camera head to line up the dim star marks (instead of rotating the PAS
as normal).

Joe


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Squicquero" <docsquic@... <docsquic%40sbcglobal.net>
To: <ap-gto@... <ap-gto%40yahoogroups.com>>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method

Joseph,

I've been using pretty much what you have described. I have an Archos
portable video player that has a "helmet" cam attachment, which is a small
video camera. I made an adapter out of pvc which holds the camera up
against
the Pasill eyepiece. I just stand on the north side of the mount and hold
the small player and watch the position of Polaris as I move the Alt and Az

adjustments. It works quite well for Polaris but isn't sensitive enough for

the other two stars although sometimes I can just make out the second star
enough to approximate its position. Once everything is set I just take a
quick look through the Pasill and tweek the position of the two fainter
stars. A Guider camera would probably work better due to sensitivity< but
the concept works quite
well>

Mark



------------------------------------

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links



Joe Zeglinski
 

Thanks Don and Hank,

Don, you bring up an important point. This will save me a lot of time in experimentation.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "dmwmpd" <westergren@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:18 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

The use of a webcam is just like the eye - it is a lens plus sensor
system. So the afocal projection will be able to see the reticule
if the eye can see it. There's no way using a guide camera without
a lens will work.

Don


dannysperry
 

Hi Joe,

Once you get a camera attached, you should motorize the Alt and Az
adjusters with RS232 control. I mean, come on, you might as well
robot-ize the whole thing!

Just kidding.

I have a DSI Pro that I'll try putting up to the polar scope and see
what happens.

Best,
Danny


--- In ap-gto@..., "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
wrote:

Thanks Don and Hank,

Don, you bring up an important point. This will save me a lot
of time in
experimentation.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "dmwmpd" <westergren@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:18 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

The use of a webcam is just like the eye - it is a lens plus
sensor
system. So the afocal projection will be able to see the reticule
if the eye can see it. There's no way using a guide camera
without
a lens will work.

Don


Morgan Spangle <msfainc@...>
 

Hi Joe,

Do you set up in the same place each time? I have a permanent setup
for my C14, but for a AP600/TEC 140 that I use for visual enjoyment, I
set up on the fly - mostly on my driveway, sometimes in another spot
in the yard. So what I did is:
1. Set up, level the tripod, get a good polar alignment that I checked
with the meridian delay function...
2. Mark the driveway or yard where the tripod sits before breaking the
setup down. On the driveway, after taking down, I installed some large
washers in which the tripod points can sit each time I set up. In the
yard, I dug a post hole at each spot, set a brick in sand that is
slightly above ground but below lawn mower height.

Now, when I set up in either spot, I just have to briefly look through
the PAS to tune up for a really good polar alignment. Takes a minute
or less. And if I'm just doing visual, I've found that I don't even
really need to tune the alignment - once I do a star synch at the
start of my session with the 600E GTO, all my observing targets fall
in a 32mm TV plossl (I don't even have to use a finder with the TEC
140, just a red dot). Its as close to a permanent setup you can
get...and really saves time. And you don't need any other equipment
like a laptop...

hope that helps
Morgan

--- In ap-gto@..., "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...> wrote:

Hi,

As winter will too soon be here, I am NOT looking forward to
having to shovel a trench in the snow to kneel into, in order to use
the polar scope. It was awkward enough in summer (at 45 deg N).

I wonder if anyone has tried any other way of centering Polaris
through the PAS.

One possibility is to perhaps modify a diagonal, with a Barlow
relay lens, to bring the alignment image to a more comfortable
standing view position. This would be a great "optical" option for AP
to produce for the PAS.

Perhaps a much better method might be to temporarily plug a
standard "guider head", such as your (SBIG RGH, Orion autoguider, or
Trifid autoguider), over the PAS eyepiece, and view the polar
alignment on the laptop screen. In many cases, these guide heads are
just waiting to start use as guiders, so perhaps they can also serve
double duty as a PAS camera. An additional advantage, especially at
light polluted sites, is that the guider will cut through the haze to
bring out the other two dim reference stars, barely visible on the
reticle right now.

I suppose this will be a real bonus for south pole PAS
alignment. In that case, it should be possible to program (or draw) a
laptop screen overlay/template, with a south pole centre point, using
the other reference stars.

Has anyone tried the latter method? I wonder if there might be
some issue with the focus reaching the guider chip - although, with
the camera (or star diagonal) 1.25" eyepiece tube bottomed "overtop"
of the PAS eyepiece, that may not be a problem. You still would need
to make an eyepiece adapter from 1.25" down to the much smaller PAS
eyepiece diameter, with a limiting collar (set screw ring), to prevent
bottoming of the PAS eyepiece onto the chip.

Comments, please?
Thanks
Joe

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Danny,

Actually, I considered it - well, sort of.
In order to make the AZ-EL adjustments repeatable or resettable after a field trip, I got hold of a small digital counter which I had planned to attach to the fork arm, and couple the counter's wheel to the elevation knob's shaft using a thin O-ring as a belt.

Also, the two AZ adjustment knobs (corn cobs?) were to get covered with a spiral pattern, printed on a transparent sticky sheet, so that a multiple of one rotation would be indicated by a set of marks along the spiral as they came up to a fixed pointer - sort of like a "calliper" spiral, as it emerged from the central block housing. I really don't know why AP painted the series of horizontal stripes, with reference markers on them. Perhaps it was a fashion statement, or just to show that the corn cobs moved when you turn them.
Anyway, may still do that to introduce analogue setting circles to the adjusters ... just for fun :-)

I hope you get good results with your DSI - you will get the stars, but you will still need an eyepiece in the nosepiece to actually see the reticle. Earlier today, I was doing some fitting tests with an old 0.96" Japanese eyepiece, slipped inside a 1.25" eyepiece tube, to see if some sort of an eyepiece holding adapter could be made to the PAS eyepiece. Still thinking about that.

Good luck on your tests,
Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "dannysperry" <danny@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 7:02 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

Once you get a camera attached, you should motorize the Alt and Az
adjusters with RS232 control. I mean, come on, you might as well
robot-ize the whole thing!

Just kidding.

I have a DSI Pro that I'll try putting up to the polar scope and see
what happens.

Best,
Danny


--- In ap-gto@..., "Joseph Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
wrote:

Thanks Don and Hank,

Don, you bring up an important point. This will save me a lot
of time in
experimentation.

Joe

----- Original Message -----
From: "dmwmpd" <westergren@...>
To: <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:18 PM
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: An easier Pasillx N & S Polar Alignment method


Hi Joe,

The use of a webcam is just like the eye - it is a lens plus
sensor
system. So the afocal projection will be able to see the reticule
if the eye can see it. There's no way using a guide camera
without
a lens will work.

Don


------------------------------------

To UNSUBSCRIBE, or for general information on the ap-gto list
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gtoYahoo! Groups Links