I want a really close polar alignment of my Celestron German Equatorial Mount. Can I use the declination drift method in combination with All-Star polar alignment to achieve this?

With All-Star Polar Alignment and some experience, you can routinely achieve polar alignments well within 10 arc minutes of the celestial pole. With the functionality of modern mounts and autoguiders, this is often sufficient even for demanding astrophotography.

The classical declination drift method of polar alignment is still the gold standard. If you would like to take the additional time that the drift method requires, you can combine it with All-Star Polar Alignment to hone your alignment. There are two basic ways to do this:


  • Use it before turning on the mount to mechanically align the polar axis and then turn on the mount. The polar alignment should be pretty close and you can hone it even further with the electronic functions of the mount. Follow through with realignment on the sky and calibration stars for best results.

  • An alternative would be after completing the electronic polar alignment with the mount. Power down and then perform the drift method. Using this method, the mount would already be mechanically very close and not as much adjustment will be required. You must still align the mount to the sky (not polar align) after turning the mount. You must never leave out the calibration stars, as they provide other information to the mount besides alignment and polar alignment (perpendicular axes, etc.)
Updated 12/27/13