How to use a Star Tracker: Setup and Polar Alignment
In the following video by Dark Skies with Matt Quinn, he walks us through how to set up and polar align a star tracker. The tracking mount he uses in this video is a Sky Watcher Star Adventurer, but the basic concepts are the same for all equatorial tracking mounts. Set up the mount, polar align and track! It’s that easy, well almost.
I stumbled on this video after purchasing the Sky Watcher Star Adventurer for use in my personal photography. After unboxing everything and skimming the instructions I felt a little overwhelmed. I was looking for a short, easy to understand tutorial and Matt Quinn delivered! He breaks down the set-up process from start to finish giving you an easy to follow visual demonstration.
Matt starts with setting up the star tracker on a tripod. Then he touches on how to balance the camera with a counter weight. The counter weight is not always necessary but if you’re using a longer lens, or a heavy camera set up it’s a solid addition. Next, he goes over the anatomy of the tracker touching on all the knobs and dials and how they operate. Like your camera, you’re going to need to know how to operate your tracking mount in the dark. Lastly, he goes over the polar alignment process. This is easily the most important step. A proper polar alignment will let you to stretch your shutter speed allowing your cameras sensor to gather as much light as possible.
If you just purchased an equatorial tracking mount or you’re just considering it, I would highly recommend watching his video. Check out the full video right here! Have a Star tracker already? Let us know what you like or dislike about it. If you have more specific question you can always head over to our community forums and get answers!
Dark Skies with Matt Quinn
Matt has an excellent body of photography. His website has galleries for “The Dark Night”, “The Canadian Rockies”, and “Ontario Landscapes”. You can see more of his awesome photographs at his website, https://mattquinnphotography.com/ and his YouTube Channel “Dark Skies with Matt Quinn“.
Items Discussed in this Article –
The following are Amazon Affiliate links. Clicking on and buying these items helps us operate this website.
SkyWatcher S20510 Star Adventurer Astro Package – https://amzn.to/2MsuwQR
SkyWatcher S20530 Star Adventurer Latitude (EQ) Base – https://amzn.to/2RJm8CG
SkyWatcher S20540 Star Adventurer Counter Weight Kit – https://amzn.to/2RJ6Fm4
SkyWatcher (S20580) Star Adventurer Mini – https://amzn.to/2FQO8wZ
Neewer Tripod Leveling Base – https://amzn.to/2FRpEUi