PoleMaster - A High-Precision, Easy to Use Electronic Polar Scope
As we know achieving good polar alignment is not an easy task and can take considerable time. You may spend hours under precious dark sky trying to get that perfect polar alignment, but in the end you may not know whether good alignment has in fact been achieved. Even after you have obtained good alignment, a gentle knock on the mount may send the polar alignment off and you may have no other choice but to start from scratch again. Time can be eaten up very quickly which would be better used for imaging or observing.
The QHY PoleMaster is a great solution to this problem. It is an innovative product pioneered by QHYCCD to relieve the pain of polar alignment. Using PoleMaster and following a few simple, easy-to-follow steps, you can achieve perfect polar alignment in just a few minutes with an accuracy of up to 30 arc seconds.
How does PoleMaster work? The idea is actually fairly simple. You find out where the pole is, then determine the mechanical axis of rotation of your mount, and make the two coincide. While the idea is simple, it has never been implemented in a commercial product until now. PoleMaster makes use of a super sensitive wide field imaging camera along the axis of RA to monitor the polar region in real time (it not only detects Polaris but also the dimmer stars surrounding Polaris). 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 centers of rotation so they overlap. Easy!
In comparison with other polar alignment techniques, PoleMaster has the following advantages;
1. Speed and convenience:
- With PoleMaster you do not need to move the telescope to a specific place just to unblock the polar scope (if one is fitted).
- You do not need to kneel or contort your body to look through the polar scope.
- You do not need to fully dark adapt just to see the pole star.
- You do not need to level your mount.
- You do not need to worry about the entering the date and time in your handset and figure out where to rotate the mount to coincide with the current pole star position.
2. Accuracy: With a high precision camera, one can achieve accuracy not achievable with the naked eye. The imaging camera in PoleMaster has a resolution of 30 arc second, so the best polar alignment that can be achieved by PoleMaster is also in the order of 30 arc seconds.
3. Wide angle view of the polar region: A wide field of view of 11x8 degree makes it very 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. In addition, using the Universal adapter it can be fitted to mounts where no adapter is available by making a simple DIY bracket.
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 for basic goto operation.
7. Perfect companion to single axis mounts: When used with single (RA-only) axis mount, good polar alignment will minimize drift in the DEC axis therefore maximizing the performance of your mount.
The QHYCCD PoleMaster is patented with the China Patent and International PCT. Please use only the genuine QHYCCD product. QHYCCD OEMs: PoleMaster and iOptron. QHYCCD has granted a license to iOptron to display the iOptron logo on PoleMaster for use only with iOptron equatorial mounts. For other brands of mounts please use only the QHYCCD branded PoleMaster.
We installed the PoleMaster onto the EQ6, disabled RA and DEC pulse guiding and obtained this graph in PHD. The period is about 10 minutes. The DEC drift is very small. In a total of 30
minutes the DEC drift is about 1.5 arcsec. (Red line is DEC, Blue line is RA). This means the polar error is 18 arcsec.