iOptron SkyTracker mount and polar alignment

I got an iOptron SkyTracker to help me with long exposurres with camera and fast lenses to take wide field views of starfields.

The SkyTracker (iOptron website) was made to mount on a normal photographic tripod but I wanted a bit more stability so I made a plate that mount on my old Meade tripod with the SkyTracker on top. This is very solid and I wont have to worry about vibrations or accidentally bumping the tripod out of alignment.

The iOptron polar alignment scope is not the best one in the world and I decided to get close to target with a laser pointer. I made an aluminium bracket for the laser pointer out of two pieces of square aluminium and made sure that the two pieces are perpendicular to each other. It is now a simple matter of clamping the bracket on the SkyTracker body and pressing the laser switch while using binoculars.

If I take care with the alignment I can get a few minutes on a short focal length (14mm) without any star trials. I once got a 10 minute exposure that worked out well but I am sure there was a bit of luck involved at the time.

I use the following  finder chart to get to the Southern Celestial Pole: SCP Finder Chart

IMG_1152

IMG_1154

IMG_1157

IMG_1160

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “iOptron SkyTracker mount and polar alignment

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing. I purchased a skytracker several months ago and have never been very successful with polar alignment. I’ve just recently purchased a green laser pointer, so I will give your rig a go to see if it helps.

    Reply
    1. Theo Post author

      It’s a pleasure. Let me know how it works out for you.

      I have now attached a pdf finder chart that I made for finding the Southern Celestial Pole with binoculars.

      Theo

  2. Ardash Muradian

    Hi Theo. I am based out of Adelaide also. I just got my Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer tracker. I used it once to track the moon and was pretty successful during last week’s lunar eclipse. My tracker has a polar scope with the Octans quartet of stars imprinted on the scope which I will try and use soon. But to get good polar alignment (SCP), can you please share how exactly you use the green laser to help? Thanks in advance …

    Reply
    1. Theo Post author

      Hi Ardash, I made an aluminium bracket that I can clamp to the front of the iOptron SkyTracker. The bracket holds a green laser pointer that is aligned to be perpendicular to the front of the SkyTracker. I can then align the Skytracker to the SCP by watching the laser beam with binoculars until the laser beam ends as close as possible to the SCP. When the alignment is good enough I take the laser bracket off to start taking photos.
      I have a guide on my blog that you can download to find the SCP.
      4You will have to find a way of mounting a laser temporarily on your Sky-Watcher to do the same thing. The iOptron was easy as it has a flat surface on the front. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s