How to Polar Align a Telescope during the Day?

You love setting up your telescope on the nearby field and staring at those sparkling stars for hours every Friday night. 

But, what if there is a comet passing by in the morning or a solar eclipse occurring in the afternoon? Of course, you can’t wait until the nighttime. 

Well, it looks like you don’t have quite any option left rather than aligning your telescope in the daytime. Wait, you don’t know how to pull that out, right?

Don’t worry! I know how to fix your day. Stay tuned as I am going to tell you some amazing techniques about how to polar align a telescope during the day. So, let’s get to start it.

How To Polar Align a Telescope During The Day

There isn’t any specific hard and fast rule of polar aligning a telescope. However, I can tell you some quick and easy techniques to pull that out in the daytime. Therefore, a few interesting techniques are explained below.

  • Using a Compass

To align your telescope with a compass, you will need a good quality physical compass which has a hairline sight. Again, you will also need a polar scope. The steps are explained below.

Mounting

This is the first step in aligning your telescope. So, pay good attention to this. Firstly, take a compass and find the north direction.

After that mount in a specific manner so that it is facing towards the north. Don’t worry if you are not a hundred percent accurate with that.

Also, you can try using some other tools to level up easily. For example, the bubble level tool works pretty fine here.

Setting up GPS

After leveling up, it is time for you to set up your GPS. Of course, there can be an automatic option for setting that up available in your device. In such cases, turn that on and detect your location and time with it.

However, if you don’t have an automatic function, you can always set up your GPS manually. But, make sure that your input data is correct.

So, after updating the information, you will be able to see the magnetic declination as it will appear by the bubble tool.

Adjusting Compass

Now, you have your exact location along with the accurate magnetic declination. Therefore, it won’t be much big of a deal for you to adjust your compass. Get the exact direction towards the north and you are all good to go.

Reduce Altitude

Don’t let your guards down as it is quite a crucial step for you. Remember the point that you have already marked as the accurate direction towards the north? 

Yes, we are going to use that same point now. Carefully start reducing the altitude at this stage.

Stay alert and keep on doing that in the horizon until your polar scope reaches that distinct point. You can use the knob that is marked as alt/az.

Adjust the Inclination

This is the final step of aligning your telescope. However, if you are still confused that your polar scope is not pointing correctly, consider repeating the steps.

In this step, the adjustment bolts that are specially designed for latitude adjustments are going to help you. 

Use these bolts and carefully correct your mount’s inclination. If everything is done properly, the inclination will correspond with the latitude. And thus, your telescope is polar aligned

  • Using a Smartphone

Well, we cannot deny the fact that it is an era of smartphones. Therefore, like the most other problems, your smartphone can do its wonders for aligning your telescope as well.

What attracts the most is the simplicity of this technique. Yes, it can solve most of your confusion and make your work super easy. So, let us briefly check out the steps of this intimidating technique. 

Adjust Telescope and Phone

Like the traditional approach, you have to adjust the mounting in a way that is pointing the direction of the north.

After that, open up the lens cap and finish with your mounting procedure. Now, there are some important things that you need to take care of.

For example, while adjusting the open cover, make sure that it is making a 90-degree angle with the mount’s polar axis. So, place your phone keeping the perpendicular surface in mind.

Launch an App

For the latter part of the configuration, an app is required. You can try out the planetarium app to carry this out.

After launching the app, carefully use an elastic band or even a tape, and attach your smartphone with the lens cover. Also, place the screen upwards. 

However, try not to use any sort of metals while attaching your phone. If you use something like a metallic arm or extension, you will probably end up messing with the entire magnetic interference. 

Align the Grids

Take a look at the polar axis. Do you see the alt/az knob? Yes, turn this knob and observe the changes in the EQ gridlines. 

Now, continue adjusting the knob until you align your gridlines with the required celestial poles.

Here is another interesting fact. The selection of the celestial poles is dependent on your location. If it is the northern hemisphere, choose the south one. And, if it is southern, choose the north one.  

  • Without any Polar Scope

You might think that you cannot polar align your telescope correctly without buying a proper polar scope. However, that is not true. 

Yes, you can polar align your telescope without having a polar scope. A German mount works great in such a situation.

To pull it out, you need to do the mounting in a zero-position manner. After that, follow the steps that I have previously mentioned for the smartphone. And thus, you can successfully polar align your telescope in the daytime.

Verdict

So, which technique did you like the most? Don’t worry if you do not like the first one that you had tried. Go ahead and explore the second one.

All these techniques take a little amount of time. Therefore, hang in there and you will master these in a few days only.

And thus, you no longer have to wait until the nighttime to take out your telescope and see those amazing stars even in the daytime. 

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