Friday, April 20, 2012

Stupid Imaging Trick #2

I'm impatient. When it comes to imaging, I want as much time with the shutter open that I can get. My setup, currently a cement pier, allows me to polar align my mount one night and leave it in place so long as good weather holds. Normally I polar align and also do a two-star alignment as well. When I'm done I return the mount to its "home" position and power it down.

The trick comes into play when I start up the next night. Instead of repeating the two-star alignment, I simply go to the alignment star nearest to my imaging target. For example, the last week that has meant Mizar, which a short distance from M101. Normally Mizar shows up somewhere in the finder scope's field of view. I then sync the mount to it with a little slewing. Then using go-to I move to M101, and it's right in the center of my CCD's field of view.

This doesn't produce a huge time saving, but syncing is faster than slewing to several stars. Every saved minute is a minute sooner you're able to pack up and go to bed!

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