For all Astrophotographers who have to set up and tear down their equipment every time they try their hand at imaging, the PoleMaster is here to solve those problems! Accurate polar alignment of astro imaging is the key to getting those nice round stars edge to edge in your image. Even a modest mount can provide astonishing results with the PoleMaster, the high resolution camera provides the most accurate polar alignment!
Since its invention by QHYCCD, PoleMaster has become the go to high res, high precision, and easy to use electronic polar scope. Achieving high precision polar alignment is not an easy feat, and can be time consuming and prone to error. Maintaining polar alignment can be a challenge as well: neck pain, stress on the knees or accidentally kicking the tripod to name a few issues, but with the PoleMaster, QHYCCD has fashioned the camera to easily align the mount in under 2 minutes and within 30 arc seconds of accuracy, all from the comfort of your computer.
PoleMaster is designed to detect the north celestial pole and the rotational axis of the mount. Once the polar axis has been identified, and overlaid onto the north celestial pole, it becomes a simple matter to align the two points. This device is installed on front of the RA axis, typically in the opening used for the polar alignment scope. The camera can be slightly out of position or not perfectly orthogonal to the RA axis and still achieve the necessary accuracy.
The PoleMaster camera is a very high resolution/high sensitivity camera that is used to capture an image of the celestial pole to determine the correct location of the north celestial pole. The sensitivity is much higher than the naked eye, so it can see not only detect Polaris but also nearby faint stars. New star alignment methods are also used so PoleMaster can also detect the rotation center of the RA axis. It will mark the two points on the screen, one is the RA rotation center, and another the virtual polar point. You can adjust the mount and let them overlap, at which point the pole is well aligned. According to QHYCCD, this process can be completed within two minutes!
The advantages of PoleMaster are:
- Fast, Easy and Accurate:
You do not need to perform a multi-star alignment to calculate your alignment error, and then go through trial and error to adjust the mount. You don’t need to get down on the ground to look through the polar scope, and try interpreting the correct position for the polestar while fiddling with the red light in the scope. The polar scope doesn’t need to have the RA axis aligned with the bubble to be horizontal either.
- High precision:
The pixel resolution of the PoleMaster is approximately 30 arcseconds per pixel, along with the QHYCCD provided software enable high precision polar alignment. The image sensor becomes an accurate system for calculating positions and relative angles using the 25mm lens. With the high sensitivity of the camera, wide field lens, and proprietary software, a more precise alignment calculation can be done than through naked eye alignment. This results in accuracies within 30 arc seconds under favorable conditions. The PoleMaster also has a 15*10 degree field of view.
- Easily adapted for different mounts:
PoleMaster can be installed on any camera mount with a suitable mounting for the camera. Even if your camera mount has no polar scope, that doesn’t matter, you’ll still be able to capture those high resolution star images easily!
- Pole Monitor/align at any time:
With PoleMaster you can monitor the polar alignment and adjust at any time. When the camera mount is moved by accident, you can adjust it back to find the north celestial pole directly.
- Ease of setup:
There is no need to do a multi-star alignment in order to get accurate go-to slewing. Once PoleMaster has completed the alignment, all you need is a one star alignment/sync and you’re finished.
Here are the test results of a star alignment with PoleMaster on the first iteration. We installed the PoleMaster onto the Skywatcher EQ6 (Celestron CGEMpro), with RA and DEC pulse guiding disabled. The resulting image below was taken using PHD2 to monitor the guide star without actually guiding. The total period is about 10 minutes, covering over one full cycle of the worm gear. Over 30 minutes, the RA drift is about 18 arc seconds and the DEC drift was negligible. (Red line is DEC,blue line is RA). So as you can see, the Polemaster is among the best products that QHYCCD has to offer.