CGEM Drift Alignment Procedure

This procedure covers the steps I take to perform a drift alignment on my Celestron CGEM telescope. Although the All-Star Aligment routine works really well to get the CGEM closely aligned with the celestial pole, I have found that the alignment needs to be refined further to be suitable for astrophotography. Note that this polar alignment procedure is written for my setup: CGEM mount, 9.25″ Celestron SCT, 1.25″ Diagonal, and 12mm Illuminated reticule eyepiece. The basic concept still applies to other variations of telescopes, but you may have to move your telescope in the opposite direction for azimuth or altitude adjustments. In this case, just make sure you make note of the adjustments you make for future reference! I have documented the drift align method as I use it. I hope it is helpful for you as well.


Accessories:

– Orion 12mm Illuminated reticule eyepiece

Orion 12.5mm Illuminated Reticle Plossl Telescope Eyepiece
– 1.25″ Diagonal (for comfortable viewing!)


Part I: Initial Setup

These steps are performed without the optical tube on. This makes it easy to rotate the mount/tripod combination for rough alignment with the celestial pole! If you have already done the All-Star alignment routine, then these steps are already complete. You can skip to Part II below. Refer to my article, Celestron CGEM Review- Part 3 for more information on the All-Star polar alignment routine.

1. Set the CGEM to the latitude for your location. Latitude for major cities in the US can be found on my other site here. This is done by adjusting the front and rear latitude adjustment knobs and dialing in the latitude on the latitude scale. Reference various parts of the CGEM below.

CGEM Drift Align- Reference

2. Rotate the CGEM (by spinning the entire mount/tripod) until the polar axis points toward the celestial pole. The celestial pole in my case is Polaris since I’m in the northern hemisphere. Tip: stand behind the telescope and eyeball the alignment. If necessary, rotate the CGEM further until it appears to be lined up with the celestial pole.

CGEM Polar Alignment

 

3. Level the CGEM using the built-in bubble level.

4. Unlock the declination lock and turn the telescope mounting platform 90 degrees from the home position (where the declination index marks are aligned). This opens the hole in the CGEM’s polar axis for viewing “through” the mount. Note that an optional polar finderscope can be inserted in this hole. Remove the front and rear finderscope hole covers and look through the hole for Polaris. Use the azimuth and latitude adjustment knobs on the CGEM to center Polaris.


Part II: Alignment on a Southern Star (Azimuth)

1. Find a bright star near the intersection of the meridian and celestial equator.

2. Using the CGEM’s hand controller, push the upper and lower direction keys and adjust the eyepiece in the holder (loosen the thumbscrew slightly) until the star moves parallel to one of the illuminated lines. Be sure to tighten the eyepiece thumbscrew when the adjustment is complete.

CGEM Drift Align

 

3. Now center the star on the vertical line using the hand controller.

CGEM Drift Align

4. Watch the star to see which direction it drifts away from the vertical line. If the star drifts to the right of the line, turn the azimuth control knob on the west side of the CGEM clockwise. If the star drifts to the left of the line, adjust the azimuth knob on the east side of CGEM clockwise. Continue making the appropriate adjustments until the star remains on the line for several minutes.

CGEM Drift Align- Azimuth


Part III: Alignment on a Western Star (Altitude)

1. Find a bright star near the western horizon close to the celestial equator.

2. Using the hand controller, push the upper and lower direction keys and adjust the eyepiece in the holder (loosen the thumbscrew slightly) until the star moves parallel to one of the illuminated lines. Be sure to tighten the eyepiece thumbscrew when the adjustment is complete.

CGEM Drift Align

3. Now center the star on the vertical line using the hand controller.

CGEM Drift Align

4. Watch the star to see which direction it drifts away from the vertical line. If the star drifts to the right of the line, turn the rear latitude adjustment knob (altitude knob) on CGEM counter-clockwise. If the star drifts to the left of the line, adjust the latitude adjustment knob (altitude knob) on the rear of CGEM clockwise. Continue making the appropriate adjustments until the star remains on the line for several minutes.

CGEM Drift Align- Altitude


Repeat the steps in Part II & III above until the star stays centered on the line for several minutes. Perform this same procedure when the telescope is moved or when there is too much drift during astrophotography.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the “Leave a Reply” section below. Also, I have added a survey below to find out if this review was helpful to you.

Clear Skies! Ray Shore


This CGEM Drift Alignment Procedure was:

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Comments

  1. Please let me know how my CGEM drift alignment procedure works for you. I look forward to your feedback.

    Thanks!
    Ray Shore

    1. Ray, I am having problems figuring out how to lower my polar altitude on my CGEM as the rear knob only raises, not lowers the axis, the front seems to merely lock it in place. I’d like to try polar aligning if I can figure this out.
      Thanks for your helpful posts!
      alan

      1. There should be another adjustment knob directly opposite the other altitude control. Just loosen it and the mount will move down.

        1. Hi Rick,

          Am having the same issue with my CGEM. But I cannot locate the a knob opposite the altitude knob, only the Latitude lock. I’ve raised my latitude pretty high trying to figure this one out,

          Thanks

      2. Paul Akerhielm

        Experience same CGEM altitude adjustment problem. Only one knob can change the altitude and in one direction only. Loosening both knobs and physically forcing altitude rotation is just okay in early set up, but is much too rough when mount is largely aligned. What is the solution to achieve smooth altitude adjustment both ways?

  2. Ray,

    Great job in keeping the drift alignment simple. Thanks for the guide, appreciated!

  3. Brian Coniglio

    Ray,

    Your reviews are helping a lot, especially considering they are about the only ones available for the CGEM.
    I was wondering if you considered the GPS module for the mount. It’s supposed to make the polar alignment even simpler.

  4. Brian,

    Glad to hear that my reviews are helpful. I hope to provide more information as I get more time with my CGEM.

    I hadn’t really thought about the GPS module. I wonder if the drift align would be necessary with it? If I find some user information on it, I’ll be sure to pass it on.

    Thanks,
    Ray

  5. Ray,

    I am still waiting to test out my new mount. I have been working alot of hours and one of scopes are at a friends house in his observatory. Between his hours and mine it has been difficult to time things out to grab the scope. The weather here in Western Ma, has also been horrible. I am planning on hopping into some quick widefield imaging right away. Will post how I make out. Hopefully, this weekend I can pick up my scope. I am looking foward to trying out your procedure. Keep the reviews coming it is hard to find good reviews out there and practical stuff for this mount.

  6. Jeff,

    Hopefully the weather cooperates for you this weekend! I’ve been having troubles getting time to use mine as well. Lots of projects going! I can’t wait to hear how my procedure works out for you. Let us know how it goes. I’ll try to provide more reviews as I get more use on the CGEM. I need to do something on astrophotography.

    Thanks,
    Ray

  7. robert campbell

    Hi Ray,

    Looks like one of the best set of directions I’ve seen for polar aligning a GEM. I have a SkyWatcher EQ-6 mount which is their name in Canada/ while in the US, they are known as Orion Atlas.

    I believe they make the same mount as the Celestron. Anyway, I’ve been struggling with the instructions given in the accompanying SkyWatcher manual, I think yours will do the trick nicely.

    Now . . . if it would only stop raining.

    Thanks again,
    Rob.

    q

  8. Hey Rob,

    The Orion Atlas was my second choice when I bought the CGEM. It looks like a very solid mount for the money. I hear that the Atlas and CGEM are made by the same company- Synta.

    Nice to hear that my drift align procedure will work well for you. I always have to refer back to this myself because it’s hard to remember which way to adjust the mount according to the direction that the star drifts. Your feedback is well appreciated! Thanks, Ray Shore

  9. Jeffry Turner

    Ray,

    I finally had a chance last week to setup, it was a last minute setup decided while I was on my way home from work. I had to run up to a friends house to pickup my scope so I could get it mounted.

    It was dark when I began but overall things went very smooth. I was not prepared when it came to equipment. I have been working on some home renovations and my equipment is located between 5 various rooms in the house. I was able to align very quickly but could not find my higher power eyepieces they are around hiding somewhere. The alignment process went smooth and I was setup and aligned in under 15 minutes. Since I could not find where I placed my eyepiece set I did some visual observing with my 35 panoptic and 20mm nagler which were in another case through my meade 80mm ed 5000 apo…..very nice views. I was very impressed with the mount from my initial quick setup. I am hoping some of my projects at house will wind down soon so that I can get some more time in and get reorgnized. I have a week off coming up later this week hoping I may get a break in weather to set up for some imaging looks to be rain beginning of that time off. I followed your guides without any issues, best I have seen yet. Keep up the articles I look forward to them.

    J. Turner

  10. Jeff,

    I’ll bet you can’t wait to get your project done and get reorganized! I had a night awhile back that was all messed up! When I first got going, I saw an awesome shadow transit occuring on Jupiter. I wanted to image it so I hurried to get everything set up. Of course I had to trip over the power cord to my CGEM unplugging it. Then my computer was giving me problems and by the time I got my camera set up everything was soaking wet with dew. So I had to use hair dryer on the corrector plate. By the time I could actually start imaging, the shadow transit was over :-(.

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear that my drift alignment procedure worked for you. I appreciate the feedback! Ray Shore

  11. Hi all,

    Thank you for this great review, I just need to understand something, when I used your drift align procedure what is next? I mean will the object be centred for long time? how long?
    On the other hand, do you think it’s worth to get? please advice me.

    Please forgive me because of my poor English.

    Again thank you very much sir.

    algady

  12. Hi Algady,

    Using my drift align procedure should keep the object centered in the field of view for several minutes. If you keep fine tuning the alignment, your CGEM should track on an object long enough for unguided astrophotography. Given that you are using a short focal length system for your imaging anyway.

    Thanks,
    Ray Shore

  13. Hi Ray
    If I understand you correct, that means those several minutes are enough for good exposure time ?

    In general, dose that mean that CGEM is NOT accurate enough? if yes is that an issue? or that is normal in most mounts.

    finally, what did you mean by unguided astrophotography?

    Thanks Mr Ray for your patience.

    Regards

  14. If the CGEM tracks on the star for several minutes, you should be able to get some decent shots; especially if you are imaging with a short focal length telescope. The longer the focal length, the more accurate the mount needs to be. At a certain point, you may have to use some sort of guiding (usually with a separate camera & scope) on a guide star to track accurately. This is the nature of astrophotography and is normal with most mounts. Unguided astrophotography is where you don’t use a seperate camera & scope to guide. You rely on the mount itself to track accurately. If you are new to astrophotography, I highly recommend doing a lot of research before deciding on a particular telescope. There are a lot of things to consider :-). That being said, I have seen some great astro-images from the CGEM.

    Ray Shore

  15. Hi, Ray:
    I have the same CGEM and bought the Polar finderscope [this finderscope can also be used for CG-4 mount & CG-5 Advanced mounts. this sentence is said in its manual]. But I am so confused with this manual.

    After I setup the finderscope, look through it and can see the pattern: Big Dipper is at 12:00; Cassiopeia is at about 6:00. In its manual, it lets me rotate the mount until one of the pattern matches the real constellation, (http://www.celestron.com/c3/product.php?CatID=16&ProdID=526) please see this address and this is the manual.

    If I do as the manual, i.e., in 22nd Nov., Big Dipper is at 6:00 position in the actual sky, I have to rotate the CGEM 180 degree to match the actual constellation. But this makes the OTA touch the tripod,. ….

    Ray, now I am so confused about the discription in the finderscope’s manual. Please give me help~~~~~

    Looking forward to hearing from you~~~~
    Please send a letter to my E-MAIL. lidong2221@sohu.com

    Thank you!

  16. Hi Ray

    First of all, excellent guide. I’ve recently bought a CGEM and put my Celestron 10″ Newtonian on it. I’m something of a novice to astrophotography but an intermediate astronomer and this is the first goto/equatorial mount I’ve owned. I’m still getting used to the many concepts involved in astrophotography. I’ve noticed as you’ve mentioned that good tracking doesn’t last very long and trailing is creeping into my images, even after 30 seconds, as is the maximum with my current DSLR. My question is what to do at this point. Is the CGEM Sync feature sufficient to return good tracking or would you recommend switching off the mount and starting the whole two star/polar alignment process all over again?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my question. I’ll be pointing people to this guide!

  17. Ray Shore

    Hi Conor,

    I don’t normally start the polar alignment over. I do a pretty good drift alignment then I go to autoguiding which I talk about here: http://www.astrophotography-tonight.com/orion-starshoot-autoguider-review/. This made a big difference for me. I would say until you get into autoguiding though to just follow the procedure for the All-Star alignment and then do the drift alignment to refine it further. Also, make sure that you balance your mount in both axis for the area of sky that you are imaging in. This should help a lot.

  18. H Ray,
    Reading your tutotial without a ‘scope or a star to look at, would you please confirm:
    When corredting the stars drift, I take it that I would be bringing the star back to the centre line each time. Am I correct? ( I have read elsewhere that to reduce the Azimuth drift I need to move the star FURTHER AWAY from the centerline, the re-center with the hand box before watching for drift again.)
    Second question- Does the Permanent PEC survive repeated set-up / breakdown /setup as I have to travel to dark-ish sites for my imaging?
    Third question- Do you think that the software alignment (All Star) plus permanent PEC might give me 5 minute exposures without guiding?
    As you will guess, I am spending more time aligning ahd PEC traininh with my HEQ5 Pro than I spend imaging.
    I am hoping that the CGEM will give me 5 minute exposures before I have to tavkle guiding!
    I’ll very much appreciate your comments.
    Pat

  19. Ray Shore

    Hi Pat,

    I believe what you are reading is true. When you make an adjustment for drift, the star moves away from the center. Then you bring it back with the hand controller to watch for more drift. The better you get the drift corrected, the longer it will take to drift away from the center.

    I work with Jeff Turner at http://www.daltonskygazer.com on some astrophotography related projects. He has more experience with PEC on this scope than I do so I’ll add his comments about the subject:

    “I do believe that nexremote can retain pec correction. The problem with pec correction is that these scopes use a worm gear. Every 7 or so minutes the worm goes through one full revolution, even which pec correction there will always be one spot that has a bounce on the graph for pec once every revolution. The pec will help tame the scope yes, but ultimately one would want to autoguide this mount. I think a well trained mount with superior polar alignment could get up to 3 min exposures in ideal conditions but not when one breaks down and sets up all the time”.

    I’ve been using guiding so I didn’t get into pec. Jeff had some experience with it. I hope this helps!

    Thanks,

    Ray Shore

  20. I have decided to bite the bullet and have ordered the bits to go guiding! (Unfortunately, no girl.) I am hoping that after the software polar align I can find a guide star, get the guider going, and start imaging. Hopefully, this will sidestep the drift alignment so that i can turn this time into imaging time.

    Any comments? Tips on guiding?

    I plan to use every chance, during the short summer nights, to get in some practise with the new gear.

    Thanks for your help.

    Pat

  21. I’ve been using a Fork Mount for the last 40 years and just switched over to the CGEM for my C-8 and C-11. I’m very familiar with the Drift Method, using a Fork Mount. I always had the drive motor on when I used the Drift Method for the Fork Mount, but when I just turn on the CGEM it does not ‘Track’. I can only assume you have your CGEM turned on and at least a two star alignment completed before you start your drift method, correct?? I ask Celestron the same question, but they answered by not answering the question. So my question is: Turn on the CGEM, then Do or Not Do a alignment using the CGEM Hand Control Method, then start the Drift Method?? You mention a Southern Star, I assume that means a Dec of less than 0, eg: -5 ??

  22. Kenn,

    I have noticed the same thing. When I first turn on the CGEM, it does not track until I do a star alignment. My LX200 would track when I first turned it on. I will ask someone about this and let you know.

    The southern star doesn’t necessarily need to be a Dec of less than 0. As long as it’s close to the meridian and celestial equator. Some use a Dec of around +20.

    Thanks, Ray Shore

  23. Kenn,

    From what I am hearing there are 3 options: must do the alignment, resume from hibernation if pier mounted, or do last alignment.

    Ray Shore

  24. After a few go arounds with Celestron they finally answered the question: A drift alignment requires that the mount axis of rotation be precisely orthagonal with the celestial pole. The CGEM has a latitude scale but you should not rely on the reading of 34 degrees. Use a angle reader to verify that the vernier is accurately reading the altitude on your CGEM. Also use the All Star Polar Alignment feature that is available with the mount.
    The CGEM requires at least a one star alignment to activate tracking.
    Do a two star alignment , followed by the ASPA and then one or two calibration stars. After that try the drift method.

    Thanks for being there.
    Cheers, Kenn

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Pat,

      You’re very welcome! I would do this after the 3 star alignment.

      Thanks,

      Ray Shore

  25. I am using a CGEM as well. I do 2-star alignment + 4star calibration , then do a polar alignment display to see how far am I off. I adjust accordingly and redo the process of alignment until I get a fairly close ( like within 30 arc min of error ).

    I do this because I find out that after I do drift alignment, I need to reset the mount so that it updates its offset parameters otherwise the GoTo will be off. Am I missing anything ?

    Also, any suggestion for me that when I adjust the az/alt knobs, the field shakes a lot…… 🙁 ?

    Oh BTW, the drift alignment you describe here is very useful.

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Ed!
      That is the process I go through as well. I always have to redo the alignment after the drift align. Not sure what can be done about the shaking when the az/alt knobs are adjusted. Is your tripod nice and stable? Maybe others would have some ideas. Thanks for the comment regarding my drift alignment procedure. I may need to update it because it appears that the adjustments depend on how the mount is flipped. I am finding that I have to turn the knobs the opposite direction sometimes. I’ll get it figured out and update my tutorial! Thanks, Ray Shore

  26. looking for suggestions on how to do a drift alignment when to do if I have little sky? I have a good 30deg left and right of Polaris, and overhead. I have no clear view of the south, south west, or south east.

  27. Hi Ray,

    Do you think it would be easier to simplify the procedure such that:

    For the Alt adjustment, turn the adj. knob such that the east/west star is being brought back to the center line.

    For the Az. adjustment, turn the knob such that the zenith star is being brought back to the center line

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Maybe that would be a better way. I’m noticing that my directions don’t always hold true. Maybe it’s due to the way the mount is flipped.

  28. I tried to use your directions and they were incorrect. When aligning on a Southern Star (Part II), the star drifted to the right and I turned the azimuth adjustment knob on the west side of the CGEM clockwise. This only increased the drift rate! The increase in drift rate was so subtle that it took me quite a while to figure out what was happening.

    Then I read the posted comments and saw where someone said your directions are only correct sometimes (depending on which side of the mount the OTA is positioned). That was frustrating!

    I would suggest updating your procedure, which is useful as is, but can be improved.

    Also, from a previous comment: Adding a GPS module to your mount will not significantly improve the ease of alignment. All the GPS module does is provide accurate time and location information to the controller. If you can enter accurate date/time/lat/long info in to the hand controller manually, then the GPS module becomes an unnecessary, and overly-expensive accessory.

    Finally, if you are going to update your article, I would suggest including information about where in the setup and alignment process the drift align belongs. Here is what I do:

    Orient the mount toward the celestial pole. If in the northern latitudes, verify that Polaris is roughly centered in the polar axis port.

    Turn on the mount, enter/verify that the date/time/lat/long are correct.

    Do a Two Star alignment. This is just to roughly orient the mount to the sky. This needs to be repeated whenever the mount’s orientation is adjusted with the azimuth and altitude knobs.

    Perform the hand controller’s Polar Alignment routine.

    Unsync from the alignment star.

    Slew and center on each of the original alignment stars, and replace them in the alignment. This is only to make it easier to use the hand controller to find the named stars to be used for the drift alignment.

    Now, perform your drift alignment procedure.

    After the Drift alignment is successfully accomplished you should once again update the positions of the 2 original alignment stars, and add 2 or more calibrations stars.

    One final note: In order to use the azimuth adjustment screws to move the mount, it may be necessary to loosen the Mounting Knob (the knob that is attached to the bolt that fastens the mount to the tripod). Loosening it too much will make the mount unstable (wobbly) and it will be nearly impossible to accurately align the mount. You will know that this is the case if the field of view changes as the knob is finally made hand tight. Having the knob totally hand tight will make it very difficult to push the mount with the adjustment screws. Play with it a bit to find the “sweet spot” before performing the Polar Alignment and/or the drift alignment steps.

    Those are just my thoughts. I hope that they help.

    Rick

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Rick,

      I sure appreciate your feedback! I apoligize for not updating this tutorial. I will update it soon with the information that you supplied. Thanks for the excellent information!

      Regards,

      Ray Shore

  29. Andrew Dumont

    Good afternoon Ray,
    I have a Meade 10″ SN mounted on a Losmandy G11 G2 .I attempted to perform a drift align last night without any luck.I have followed numerous suggestions and site to accurately do this but,ended the night frustrated and confused.
    My problem begins with the Southern star. I slew the scope and center on a star and using the HC.Then, move the star back and forth so I am able to orient the reticule. I place the star on the center of the cross hairs and wait for drift.The different sites I studied insist that if the star drifts down,then I need to move the star to the right using the AZ knobs and left if the star drifts up.So,I attempt to move the star accordingly and instead of a left or right movement as I expected.The star instead moved in the same path that it drifted.Meaning ,I was able to re center the star without the need for the HC.Is this ok or am I missing something?.Should I go ahead and adjust in the opposite direction of the drift using the AZ control and then re center on the star?.
    Then their is the Eastern star. Following the same process as the Southern star.I orient the cross hairs of the reticule with the star and wait for drift. This time,when the star follows the cross hairs,I am suppose to adjust the altitude to re center.Problem with that is, the altitude adjustment sends the star in the opposite direction of the drift but, at a angle.So I need to center the star using the HC.Does that sound normal?.
    Regards and clear skies,
    Andrew

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hello Andrew,

      Sometimes the drift align can be very tricky! I need to make an update to my CGEM drift alignment tutorial. I believe the way you adjust the AZ and altitude might depend on which way the mount is flipped. My best advice is to watch the drift and make an adjustment. Note which way you adjusted the knobs. If the drift slows down, then you know you’ve adjusted the correct way. Continue making adjustments until the star does not drift anymore. If the drift speeds up, then you know you’ve adjusted the wrong way. Just make the adjustment the other way. This is the way I was taught by my mentor Ed Henry. I remember him telling me to write down how I adjusted it and the effect it had on the drift.

      I hope this helps!

      Best Regards,

      Ray Shore

  30. Hi Ray, I do the 2+4 star align then the manual Polar align. Then drift. How much to move the star on south drift? I use a 50D and Nebulosity live mode. Star moves either up vert or down vert. Now when I go west star as soon as i loosen the Lat lock knob I see the star move! Do I have the Lat know locked too tight? This movement moves the star off the vertical reticle. I think I tighten the Lat lock knob too tight and it flexes inside the mount and thend when I loosen the knob it settles. Hard to do the west star when loosening the lat knob the star moves off the vert line. Thanks! Pat

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Pat,

      It sounds like you do get some flex with the lock knob too tight. The best way to do the drift align is to make adjustments and watch which way the star drifts. If you make adjustments and the drift slows down, you know that you are making the right adjustment. If the drift speeds up, then you just need to adjust the other way. I hope this helps!

      Ray Shore

  31. My CGEM front and rear altitude adjustments do no move the mount whether I loosen the tripod mount screw or not nor will it move without the optical tube mounted. There is literally no travel on the front knob screw nor the rear if I turn them clockwise against initial resistance. Any suggestions?

  32. Hello Ray

    I have done drift alignment for years. And your review is the best yet. Very clear and concise. It will help many. And me as well Thanks.

    I do have a question. I live in Costa Rica (lots of good skies) at 10 degrees North Latitude. The CGEM does not have the capacity to lower the ALT to this low a ALT, so folks down here just lower the North facing leg. This seems to work well enough in the two-star alignment procedure for visual. But my guided astro-images are either blurred or have tiny star-trails. These, even after careful drift alignment and the Celestron two-star plus calibration star alignment procedure. Do you have any thoughts how I can identify this apparent alignmnet problem?

    Thanks very much and…….

    Clear Skies
    dan

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hello Dan,

      Thanks for the nice feedback regarding my tutorial. I’m glad it’s helpful!

      Regarding your issue, I think there is some field rotation going on. This is because the mount isn’t level and the telescope axis is not tilted the same as the Earth’s axis. As you mentioned, lowering the north facing leg works for visual astronomy. However, it doesn’t work so well for long exposure astrophotography. If I remember correctly, someone else reported this issue a long time ago and was able to resolve it by changing the alignment pin (on the top plate of the tripod) to the opposite side of the tripod plate. This provided more open space for the counterweight bar since the north facing tripod leg was now facing the opposite direction and not in the way. The other two legs are facing North but spread apart to the sides so the mount can be lowered more. That’s the only thing I can think of to help. Let me know if this helps. If not, I’ll research it more to see if there’s another solution. Thanks, Ray Shore

  33. Ray,
    Thank you for making drift alignment so simple.
    I’m pretty new to the astrophotography scene but your method is foolproof!
    I might add though. Anyone still having problems after this procedure should do a Periodic Error Correction. It makes a big difference.
    Thanks again,
    Matt

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Edward- thanks for the feedback. I’m glad to hear that my tutorial is helpful 🙂

  34. Hi Ray,
    I have a Celestron Avx mount. I recently got into Astrophotography. My problem seems that I am having a drift even on a 15 second shot. I align my scope with Polaris and make sure it’s leveled. I then do a 2 star and 4 star calibration. I have not tried this Drift alignment method. I will try that on my next clear night. Do you recommend anything else. Thank you for you time 🙂 PS I also have a guild scope which I have not tried until I master at least a 30 second shot with out any star movement

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Nancy,
      I’ve heard that the AVX is a really nice mount for its class. Just wanted to check, did you follow the 2 and 4 star calibration with the All-Star polar alignment routine? I’ve probably done a drift alignment more often than the All-Star polar alignment. Drift alignment will make it quite accurate but can take awhile sometimes! I have heard others have had nice success with All-Star.
      Ray

  35. Hi Ray,
    Thank you for getting back to me, I did do the 2 and 4 star Calibration. I think I’m not doing the All Star polar alignment right. I’m going to give it another try if the weather is nice tomorrow night. I still was not able to image tonight.

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi Nancy,
      It might take some practice to get the All Star polar alignment down. Once you do though, it should be close enough for the autoguider to take over.
      Ray

  36. Hi Ray,
    I made some improvements the last two nights. Last night I was able to get a 15 second picture with out any star movement.Tonight I got between 20 to 30 seconds. I finally figured out my problem has to do with balancing. I took off my guide scope and view finder scope. Now I need to master balancing the scope 🙂

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Sounds like things are going much better! Balancing will help a bunch. Let us know how it goes.

      Thanks, Ray

  37. Hi Ray,
    I have AVX mount, which has a polar alignment function called ” ALL -Star ” polar Alignment, and I use that procedure to polar Align my telescope. Please let me know if I can use the drift alignment procedure after that procedure.

    1. AstroPhotography Tonight

      Hi, yes absolutely. This would fine tune your polar alignment even more. You may have to do your goto alignment again though.

      Thanks, Ray Shore

  38. I have a cgem and edge hd 1100 . the mount altitude when pointed at polaris with polar scope is 2.5 degrees higher than my actual north latitude. Is that a defect i can live with?

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