When it comes to astrophotography, accurate polar alignment is crucial for capturing clear and detailed images of celestial objects. Finding the best polar alignment app for Android devices can be a daunting task, as there are many options available with varying levels of precision and user-friendliness. The ideal app should provide accurate alignment guidance, easy-to-use features, and compatibility with a wide range of telescopes and mounts. In this article, we will explore the key features and benefits of the top polar alignment apps for Android, helping you make an informed decision on the best option for your astrophotography needs.
We have compiled a list of 5 Best Polar Alignment App For Android for your consideration, which have undergone rigorous testing and evaluation by our team of experts.
5 Best Polar Alignment App For Android
1. Polar Clock
Polar Clock is an application that is intended to assist with the configuration and polar alignment of an equatorial mount. This lightweight and user-friendly software features a display of Polaris’ hour angle, local, sidereal and UTC time, as well as GPS coordinates. It is particularly beneficial for Orion/SkyWatcher mount users, as it includes a virtual polar scope that positions Polaris in the correct orientation.
The purpose of Polar Clock is to make the process of setting up and polar aligning an equatorial mount as straightforward as possible. Due to its lightweight nature and ease of use, this software is an excellent choice for beginners who may be unfamiliar with more complex software. The application displays a range of useful data, including Polaris’ hour angle, local, sidereal and UTC time, and GPS coordinates.
For Orion/SkyWatcher mount users, Polar Clock has an additional feature that positions Polaris in a virtual polar scope. This feature can be particularly helpful when attempting to align the polar scope to the mount. The software’s simple design and intuitive interface make it easy to use, regardless of the user’s level of expertise.
Overall, Polar Clock is an application that is designed to assist with the setup and polar alignment of an equatorial mount. Its lightweight nature and user-friendly interface make it an excellent choice for beginners, and it includes helpful features such as a virtual polar scope for Orion/SkyWatcher mount users.
2. PolarAligner Pro (Astro Tool)
The Polar-Aligner is an astronomical application designed for the northern hemisphere which aims to make the process of aligning a mount easier. However, several users have given the app poor reviews due to the compass or spirit level not functioning properly. This is likely because the device does not have a compass sensor or a tilt sensor. Buyers should be aware of this before making a purchase, as refunds are possible. A user manual is available which outlines the necessary device requirements, including the need for a compass sensor, tilt sensor, and GPS.
The app provides basic tools such as a spirit level for leveling an equatorial mount and adjusting it to face north using a compass. The spirit level can now be calibrated with a real spirit level, which enhances its accuracy. A new feature called daylight alignment (beta version) has also been added.
The GPS provides accurate location information with altitude and can calculate the position of Polaris. Additionally, the app can display graphical representations of the Polaris position or switch to a northern sky map to show the Ursa major, Ursa minor, and Cassiopeia constellations. The app also includes a tool for drift-alignment and a calculator for determining the correct alignment direction with minimal error.
The app supports a wide range of Polarscopes, including those from IOptron, Meade, Orion, Sky Adventurer, Skywatcher, Astrophysics, Takahashi, Bresser, and Celestron.
3. Polar Alignment – Polaris hour angle
The Polaris Locator application provides a straightforward and user-friendly tool for determining the location of Polaris in relation to the north celestial pole. It is primarily designed for amateur astronomers and astrophotographers who utilize a telescope with a German Equatorial Mount.
The app is equipped with essential parameters required for aligning the mount, ensuring ease of use. Additionally, the ‘save location’ feature eliminates the need for GPS activation when determining the hour angle of Polaris, streamlining the process and enhancing efficiency.
The Polaris Locator application is highly accurate, enabling the possibility of unguided short exposures or longer exposures with a wider field of view with precise mount alignment.
4. Polar Finder
When using an equatorial telescope mount for astronomical observations, it is important to ensure that the right-ascension (RA) axis is aligned with the rotation axis of the Earth to prevent errors in guiding and star-trails. The process of achieving this alignment is known as polar alignment, and it begins by roughly aligning the RA axis. A polar finder scope with a reticle can aid in this process, as it engraves the Polar star (and the Octant for the Southern hemisphere) and can be adjusted to position it over the real Polaris. However, since Polaris rotates around the Earth’s rotation axis rather than coinciding with it, it is necessary to know the exact hour angle of Polaris to adjust the finder.
To solve this problem, a utility has been developed that graphically displays the current position of Polaris and tracks and draws its position in real-time. The application also displays the hour-angle of Polaris, local sideral time, current local time, and the longitude of the user’s location. Users can manually enter their longitude or use the built-in GPS to obtain it. The display can be mirrored to match the view in the user’s polar finder scope, and the utility supports various eyepiece reticles such as Astro-Physics, AstroTrac, Ioptron, Losmandy, Skywatcher, StarAdventure, Takahashi, and Vixen. The utility also includes features such as precession and night vision mode.
PolarisView is a mobile application designed for Astronomy and Astrophotography enthusiasts who utilize a German Equatorial Mount (GEM) for their telescopes. The app is a useful utility that assists users in aligning their GEM or equatorial mount for their viewing session or night of astrophotography.
One of the primary features of PolarisView is its ability to display Polaris on the screen of the user’s device. The app displays Polaris as it should appear in the polar finder scope of the telescope. By adjusting the GEM mount to match the screen display, users can achieve polar alignment for their astronomy viewing sessions.
In addition to helping users with polar alignment, PolarisView can also assist with short exposure astrophotography. Motorized mounts can keep objects in the user’s view all night long during astronomy viewing sessions.
It is important to note that PolarisView is not usable in the Southern Hemisphere or near the Equator since Polaris will be below the horizon.