The unit is made using high-quality material (aluminum, steel, glass), has a solid feel, and a nice heft. The scope has 6×20 magnification, an 8º angle of view, and diopter adjustments for a sharp focus. On the outer dial is an integrated bubble-level to ensure proper alignment. The scales allow precise setting of the time/date offsets based on the observing site’s relative position to the standard time meridian. OK, while that sounds complicated, it is easy to set with the Vixen Polar Axis Scope. We’ll show how in the next article of this series.
The Polarie Star Tracker is compact and mobile, so getting yourself out there and capturing dramatic wide-field astrophotos is now within reach of many more photographers. However, in order for the mount to track properly, it must aligned with a point in the sky which is in-line with the rotational axis of the Earth. That may sound complicated (again), but it is quite simple to do (again). Instructions are as follows:
- Find Polaris (in Northern Hemisphere) or Octans (in Southern Hemisphere)
- Align the rotational axis of the mount by pointing it at the star
Once set, the mount rotates at the same rate as the Earth, and everything will “be” stationary, from the perspective of the rotating mount.
For more precise alignment, an instrument such as the Polar Axis Scope can greatly simplify the task. The Vixen Polarie was designed to accommodate the Polar Axis Scope: position the North Star (ie: Polaris) or Sigma Octanis of the Octans group in the center of the Polar Axis Scope and everything will be aligned. We are not able to show it, but there are constellation graphics inside the Vixen Polar Axis Scope to aid in the alignment.
In the next installment of this series, we’ll show how everything comes together (mount, camera, tripod, etc…). Our plan is then to pack everything up and take it out somewhere dark for a FirstUse test. Look for the write-ups in March. Clear skies!!!