Iterative Alignment Procedure

I first worked out an iterative alignment procedure for Polar Alignment of the Meade LX-200 scope in December 1994. I recently found the early messages I sent out regarding the procedure. The messages were sent to which was the list-server that was the predecessor of the MAPUG list server.

The method has evolved over time of course. In particular, Robert Fields and Ralph Pass were involved in the discussions at that time and made contributions to the method.

More recently, Philip Perkins ( posted an excellent message to MAPUG on 9 Jun 1996 regarding the procedure he uses to achieve Polar Alignment. I have included an excerpt from that post below. (I have omitted his steps 1 through 4 - they cover other telescope adjustments such as leveling, setting geographical coordinates, setting time, etc. You could refer to the MAPUG archives or perhaps send him E-Mail for that information.)

What I refer to as "iterative alignment" corresponds to his steps 5 through 8 in the excerpt from his post below.

I have used iterative alignment for all of my photographs since December 1994. I use only the 26 mm eyepiece for this and center Polaris and the "other" star by sight. I used to think that I needed to put in the 9mm eyepiece with reticle and work to get it REALLY, REALLY precise but I have found that not to be necessary even for 3 hour exposures.

Excerpt from Philip Perkins MAPUG post of 9 Jun 1996:

And that concludes the Philip Perkins excerpt. Hope this helps others achieve accurate Polar alignment quickly.

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Howard C. Anderson