Tuesday, June 12, 2012

to share with members

Manuel phoned in a bit of a panic. He was very excited to have discovered a software application to help with polar alignment. He was astonished that "no one knew about it." He thought it very important that all the members know about it and he wanted to find some way of getting the software to everyone. It was fantastic because you would be able to do a good polar alignment without seeing the NCP (or SCP) and you didn't need to use a camera! OK. Breathe. Now, tell me what you know...

He proceeded to tell me about 2 applications! I was a little unclear about which one he had. I checked the web and found the sites for both. Shareware Alignmaster by Matthias Garzarolli. And freeware EQAlign by Antonio Fraga. Further questioning revealed it was the EQAlign that he was hot about. And as I read project page, it talked about supported cameras... Um...

Manuel continued to praise the software for its easy of use, accuracy, and speed. But then he shared that he had not yet tried the software. I see. I recommended he test it first before championing it with RASC members.

I knew a tool like this that it wouldn't apply to all members. Some did not use equatorial mounts. Like all the Dobsonian fans. I also considered those not interested in imaging—they did not need high-precision alignment.

I also pointed out that many with equatorial mounts likely were already using tools like this, or using the built-in software in their mounts, or knew the drift alignment process. And the serious imagers had permanent setups. I noted that Dietmar, in fact, used a tool like this. Maybe even one of them.

After the call, I kept thinking about it. His unbridled passion. I sent him an email. Reminded him that RASC member nights (er, "recreational astronomy meeting nights") were a perfect forum for this! Their raison d'ĂȘtre. Members sharing discoveries, tips, tricks, product reviews. Or he could write up a review article for SCOPE. I gave him Paul's and Eric's contact info.

He could also put a note out on the Yahoo!Group. And be receptive. Ask if anyone knew about it and had used it...

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