I'm really confused with this one. Almost all documentation says you must start with your telescope pointing to the Celestial Pole and for the lucky ones who live in the north you can use Polaris.

But I live in the Southern hemisphere (Chile), so besides no Polaris for me, the real question is: Should I start with the telescope pointing to the South or North Celestial Pole?

I have had a month of frustration trying to align.

I have looked into other answers here and other sites, but no one explicitly says where to point it and how to find it.

  • $\begingroup$ What kind of telescope? Is it manual, or computerized? $\endgroup$ Mar 26 '18 at 17:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Google "collimate telescope southern hemisphere" (no quotes) and links like celestron.com/blogs/knowledgebase/… may help. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    Mar 26 '18 at 18:22

If your telescope has an equatorial mount, its polar axis should point toward the south celestial pole (SCP). The bad news is that all the stars within 5 degrees of the SCP are magnitude 5 or fainter. The good news is that visual observing does not require precise polar alignment. Even if you are off by 5 degrees, the mount's drive should keep most targets in view at least 10 times as long as if the drive were not running.

You don't have to aim the telescope's optical tube at the pole, only the polar axis of its mount. Find your geographic latitude, set the polar axis to the same angle above the horizontal, and point it south. The skymaps.com Evening Sky Map, Southern Edition, can help you get your bearings. The SCP makes a right triangle with Crux and Canopus, both of which are fairly high in the southern evening sky in March, April, and May. If you really need a precise alignment, this Australian article has a finder chart for $\sigma$ Oct and describes the drift method. This article in Spanish may also be useful.


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