As any seasoned astroimager would agree, achieving good polar alignment is not an easy task. One may spend hours under precious dark sky trying to get that perfect polar alignment. Even after you have obtained good alignment, a gentle knock on the mount may mean you have to start again.
Now there is a great solution to this age-old problem - PoleMaster. PoleMaster is an innovative product pioneered by QHYCCD to relieve the pain of polar alignment. With PoleMaster and a few simple, easy-to-follow steps, you can achieve that perfect polar alignment in 2-3 minutes, with an accuracy of up to 30 arc seconds.Background
How does PoleMaster work? Well, the idea is actually fairly simple. You find out where the pole is, then determine the mechanical axis of rotation of your mount and finally make the two coincide. While the idea is simple, this has not been implemented in a commercial product - until now. PoleMaster makes use of a super sensitive wide field imaging camera along the RA axis to monitor the polar region in real time (so not only it can detect Polaris but also the dimmer stars surrounding). From the positions of these stars PoleMaster can determine the position of the true pole and compare that to the mechanical axis of RA rotation. Polar alignment is now a simple matter of moving the two centres of rotation so they overlap. Piece of cake!
To find out more have a look at the user manual HERE
In comparison with other polar alignment techniques, PoleMaster has the following advantage:
1. Speed and convenience: No more kneeling on damp grass; no need to enter date and time and rotate your mount to the correct position.
2. Accuracy: With a high precision camera, you can achieve an accuracy of 30 arc seconds.
3. Wide angle view of the polar region: A wide field of view of 11x8 degree makes it super easy to locate the pole star
4. Easy to install: PoleMaster can be easily installed onto any equatorial mount through mount-specific adapters, even on mounts without a polar scope.
5. Real time polar alignment checking / adjustment: By using PoleMaster you can monitor your polar alignment in real time. In the event that polar alignment is lost, it is now a simple matter to bring it back without having to start from scratch.
6. Three star alignment no longer needed: Once you are polar aligned, you will only need to perform one star alignment - a real time saver.
7. Perfect companion to single axis mounts: When used with single (RA-only) axis mount, good polar alignment will minimise drift in the DEC axis therefore maximising the performance of your mount.