METHODS FOR POLAR ALIGNMENT OF AN EQUATORIAL MOUNTING
In my opinion the three best methods are:
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 Kochab (β Ursa 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: