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Polar Align via PS - PAPS

The FocusCraft is accessible from Tools tab
 
 
Polar Align via Plate Solving  - PAPS depends on plate solving so you have to configure and make working PointCarft. It is implementation of the 3-point polar alignment available in many mounts (and other applications), but powered and automated by plate solving. PAPS is using code and mathematical problem solution made by Rumen Bogdanovski who made it for the INDIGO and AIN Imager projects -  he was very kind to allow using his code to do the calculations in APT! Essential part of the process is that the 3 check points should be away from the celestial pole. The best places are near the celestial equator. The plate solving has best accuracy there.
 
PAPS can work in two modes Automatic and Manual. In automatic, connection to mount is needed. When you start the PAPS process it will take images on 3 check positions, calculate the polar axis error and will start looping taking images, calculating the error allowing you to do corrections with the Alt/Az knobs of the mount. The needed Alt correction is marked as Up/Down. The Azimuth correction is CW/CCW for "clockwise" and "counter clockwise" - these directions are same no matter from which side of the mount you are. With the default settings PAPS will take one initial image to make blind solving and synchronization in order to go to the 3 check points accurately.
 
In manual PAPS mode you can use the tool without connection to the mount (like tracker). Point the mount to the starting position and click Start. PAPS will take an image and solve it. After that move the mount manually only by RA and click on "Measure P2" button. Repeat it for the third point and after that PAPS will become again in looping mode to allow you tweaking the Alt/Az. Keep in mind that the first 3 solvings are in blind mode and will take more time as PointCarft doesn't know the position as you are moving the mount manually.
 
In the both modes there is pause (configurable, 10s by default) between the exposure / solving for calculating the alignment errors. In the last 5s of the pause you will hear a beep in order to know when the next exposure will start.
 
The requirements PAPS to work are:
 
1. To have PointCarft configured for near and blind solving
2. To have your location set in the Location tab in Settings (not needed in Manual PAPS mode)
To make an initial polar alignment as best as you can via polar scope or other method before starting PAPS!
 
Important note: Don't get too pedantic, even an error of 10-15 arc minutes is not something dramatic and the guiding will be more than happy with it.
 
After every polar axis error calculation is made, the data will be stored in file named APT_PAPS_Camera_*.log, located in Documents\APT_Data folder. This feature allows mounts with motorized Alt/Az movement to do automatic corrections. In such case consider to define bigger "Pause for Alt/Az Corrections" in the settings.
 
 
Polar Align via PS - PAPS
 
Here is the information about the PAPS settings.
 
 
Mount Moving - Defines if PAPS will move the mount or you will do it manually. 
 
Moving Direction - If "Mount Moving" is automatic, defines in what direction East or West to move the mount in order to take the 3 check points. Both are fine, but gives you an option if you have obstructions in the view.
 
Define First Point - Allows to define the Alt/Az coordinates of the first point if you don't want or can't use the automatic points selection.
 
Pause for Alt/Az Corrections - Defines how long time to leave for making the correction with the mount Alt/Az knobs. Increase the default value 10s if your setup needs more time to settle or is hard to adjust.
 
Start with Blind solve and Sync - When enabled PAPS will start with taking one initial image, blind solving it and synchronizing the mount to be sure that the 3 check points will be navigated correctly.
 
 
1

Start / Stop

1. Start / Stop
 
Start / Stops the process. In Automatic mode PAPS will drive the mount. In Manual mode you have to place the mount at the first point before the start.
 
2

Status

2. Status
 
Shows the PAPS status.
 
3

The 3 Points

3. The 3 Points
 
Shows the plate solved coordinates of the 3 points used to calculate the polar alignment error.
 
4

The Corrections

4. The Corrections
 
Shows the polar alignment error and what correction should be made. The Altitude directions are Up and Down. The Azimuth corrections are CW and CCW - "clockwise" and "counter clockwise" - the directions are same no matter from which side of the mount you are.
 
5

Settings

5. Settings
 
Opens the Settings dialog box.