Dan Purrington


In my opinion the three best methods are:


  1. Drift method
  2. GO TO method
  3. Clay Sherrod’s Kochab method


1.The Drift Method


This is the “gold standard” and perhaps the most straightforward,  but is time consuming, and frustrating for some.   For details, see a variety of sites including http://www.astro-tom/tips_and_advice/precision_polar_alignment.htm.  Many other sites provide the directions, which are very simple.


2. The GO-TO Method


This requires an equatorially mounting telescope with a “GO-TO” capability.  This is effective  and relatively quick, the only problem being convergence.  See “Polar Alignment by Iterating on One Star and Polaris,” by Michael Covington:


3. Clay Sterrod’s Kochab method


This is perhaps the easiest method, especially if you don’t have GO-TO capability.  It requires a lot of care in leveling, etc., in order to achieve tracking accuracy.  It depends on the fact that the NCP is on a line between KochabUrsa Minoris)  and Polaris, which means that it works best if you can arrange to have Kochab directly E, W, N, or S of the NCP.  This can be done with the aid of a planetarium program like The Sky.  See “Precise Portable Polar Alignment” on Sherrod’s site: