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Quick and easy way to mount phone for daytime polar alignment

April 4th, 2024

Quick and easy way to mount phone for daytime polar alignment

I'm an astrophotographer, so naturally I'm quite excited about the upcoming total solar eclipse and plan to image it using my equatorial mount and telescope. I normally image from my backyard, so I've got a well-worn spot and know where Polaris is going to be once it gets dark. I have to travel for the eclipse, so I don't have the luxury of being able to roughly polar align from memory.

The basic idea of daytime polar alignment is to point your telescope at true north and then make sure the altitude on the mount is set to your location's latitude. This can be accomplished by using a compass app on your phone and sticking it on your mount. But holding the phone up to the mount while you also use two hands to adjust the altitude and azimuth knobs would require one more hand than I have. I came across this post on Mastodon with a super simple solution:[email protected]/112209845622309878. Stick a phone holder on a dovetail and put it on the mount. I had both of these items laying around, so I just put one together and it looks like it will work great. I won't be able to test it before the eclipse because we have solid clouds and precipitation, but it should work like a charm!