Polar Alignment – Starting With Your Tripod

Anyone who owns an equatorial mount knows about polar alignments.  If you’re not familiar with the concept I’ll explain it here.  Polar aligning a telescope mount consists of very precisely adjusting the azimuth and altitude of your Right Ascension (RA) axis.  The purpose of this adjustment is to allow the RA axis of your mount to correctly counteract the rotation of the Earth when tracking objects in the night sky.  If your RA axis is adjusted too far East or too far West, then stars will gradually drift out of the field of view.  If you are doing astrophotography, the stars drifting action will cause them to look more like eggs, or in extreme cases, lines.


If you’re reading this post, but have not read about how to eliminate friction in an equatorial mount, be sure to go back and read that post as well as watch the video.  As long as you have friction in your system, the process I’m about to go over will be difficult for you to do.