Polarscope issues…. Having clear skies around these parts are few and far in between these days.I remember a time when we would get multiple nights of crystal clear skies, which seems to be a thing of the past.Even though my love of astronomy has burned itself right into my very soul,I must admit that their have been some nights that I just wasn’t up for lugging the scope out,especially when the scope was having some frustrating alignment issues.I had tried everything I could think of to resolve the bad alignments and goto’s… or so I thought.The problem began after I hypertuned the mount which ironically,was meant to make the goto and tracking more accurate.So,after a few months of avoiding the issue I found myself staring at the scope and wondering “what is your problem,did I miss something during the hypertune?”.Then it hit me (the thought not the scope),I wonder if the polarscope is out of whack.That is the one thing I never checked after the hypertuneand having well aligned polarscope is perhaps one of the most critical parts of a good alignment.I went through the process of checking the alignment,which involves centering a object on the polarscope crosshairs and rotating the RA axis 180 degree’s.If the object moves then the alignment is off.Heh,not only did the object move,it was completely out of the FOV!!.Long story made short,I adjustedit like a finderscope (3 hex screws) and the polarscope is now aligned.
Giddy as a child on Christmas,it was time to see the result of my efforts from earlier in the day.The sky was clear so,I set the scope up as I normally do and proceeded with a 2 star alignment using the autostar.Both stars were within reason of the FOV which set the tone for the rest of the night.The first accuracy test for the goto was the double star Alberio.The scope slewed and I found Alberio to be almost dead center which was a good sign!.I then slewed to the Swan nebula and although it wasn’t dead center,it was close enough.Ok,the pointing accuracy was good but,how about tracking?!.While still pointing at the Swan nebula,I connected the DSI to the scope and centered it on the monitor for imaging.I would estimate the slow drift off the monitor to be about10-15 minutes which was good considering that,before I tweaked the polarscope the object would move out of the FOV within a couple minutes.Next,I moved onto Jupiter,which just happens to be in the same area of sky and it too,stayed well centered (sortof) on the monitor for a much longer time than in the past.The results are a much better focus since I am not spending time trying to keep it in the FOV.
These shots are the best I have taken this year…so far.Like I said earlier,the clear skies around here are few and far in between so,getting any form of practice in imaging with the DSI is tough to do.