Normally each night I just click center here on my first target and let it plate solve on to the target and start imaging.
I never do a star alignment first.
My question is would my mount track better and give me better guiding if I were to do a good star alignment before I plate solve onto my target.
My reasoning for wondering about this is that my mount is always off by about 4000 pixels when starting out fresh at night. As I move from target to target through plate solving it drops a sync point in each time and gets the mount better aligned. This results in me usually being off by only 200 pixels when I go to center on the third or fourth target.
So I’m wondering if I were to do a good star alignment prior to my first plate solve and get the mount better centered would it then translate that into better tracking and thus give me better guiding?
Seems to me that if the mount had a better idea of where it was then it would not have to work so hard to provide corrections as it tracks.
If your 4000 pixel misalignment is due to a polar alignment error, and if you fix that, it will certainly improve your tracking. But if your polar alignment is good, then a one-star solve and sync, as Joel said, is all you need.
Thanks for the input. I thought about sending my NEQ6 to Dark Frame in Europe for tune up and other upgrades but when I can just get on target with Plate solve and get 20 - 30 minute exposures with nice round stars, I ask myself What’s the Point?
Because of the mount being off by so many pixels at startup it usually takes three iterations of Plate solve to get it below 50 pixels, but after that initial Plate solve it will usually get new targets in 2 iterations.
That’s why I was just thinking that maybe a star alignment would help it but that’s all it was . Just a thought.
Building a model is really only useful if you’re in an observatory or if you plan on taking multiple short targets. If you’re mobile don’t bother. Just select both the “Slew” and “Center” options on your targets and SGP will slew first then center. This will get you close to the target and make the Center more accurate. It also has the bonus of making sure you don’t sync very close to the pole which is almost always a great way to make things go poorly.