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Procedure

This instruction set will help you polar align the PANOPTES unit once it has been deployed and is fully operational with cloud storage set up.

Before you start

You need to set the mount manually as described below before you attempt to polar align your unit:
Note: The mount images shown here may not match the mount model you have used in your build.

STEP 1: Balance the mount

Ensure that the mount, camera box and counterweights are properly balanced before attempting to do the polar alignment.
The mount needs to be re-balanced any time it is physically moved or has any weight added or removed.

STEP 2: Set the latitude on the mount

The mount must be adjusted to account for your current latitude. Use the ‘Latitude adjustment knob’ on the mount until the arrow roughly points to your current latitude on the ‘Latitude Indicator’.
For example: If you are located at 33°23'39" N / 104°31'21" W, set the arrow to roughly point at 33°.
The azimuth knob has to be adjusted such that the mount's axis of rotation points towards true North.
iOptron CEM40
iOptron CEM25
iOptron iEQ30Pro
The Latitude Adjustment knob on the iOptron CEM25.
For instructions, see Section 3.2.3 in the iOptron iEQ30 Pro Manual.

STEP 3: Mount position

It is assumed you are keeping a close eye on the unit during this entire procedure. If at any time it looks like the mount or camera box might collide with the pier you should immediately turn off the mount power - by physically toggling the power switch - and resolve the issue.

Test mount positions

You should ensure that your mount can take itself from the Park position (RA axis horizontal, cameras pointing roughly down) to the Home position (RA axis vertical, cameras pointing roughly toward Polaris) and back to Park position.

Set mount position

Set mount at Home position with PANOPTES head up facing North and counterweight down.

STEP 4: Test image plate-solving

The process of polar alignment relies on plate-solving the image taken during the process. You can check this in advance by running the following test from the command line:
cd $POCs
pytest -xv pocs/test/test_images.py