PolarAlign is used as a reference to help "polar align" an equitorial telescope mount that has a Polar Alignment scope. PolarAlign uses iPhone's Location Service to obtain your current latitude and longitude, although they can be entered manually.
The screen shows the position of Polaris if you are in the northern hemisphere or Sigma Octanis if you are in the southern hemisphere. It also displays your latitude, longitude, altitude and universal time, along with the local sidereal time (LST) and hour angle (H.A.) of Polaris.
The view can be zoomed by double tapping the screen. The PolarAlign generic reticle can be set to inverted, corrected, or right angle, to match the polar finder. Alternatively, three different Takahashi reticles or the Astro-Physics RAPAS reticle can be selected.
PolarAlign has an "augmented reality" capability which allows an iPhone to be mated to a polar finder scope, if you build a simple adapter.
Ratings and Reviews
Nothing user-friendly or intuitive about this app
Fascinates me that people rate a program five stars without the slightest explanation, program guide, or tutorial of how it works? Did people learn this app using ESP? There is nothing about this app which is self-exclamatory, intuitive, or user-friendly. That there are a few years-old reviews (nothing more recent that 2 years old) should tell you how relevant or actively used this program is: it is a loser. Save your money, because this is useless.
The last update was eight months ago? Seriously?
I agree with the other 5 star reviewers. This program is very easy to use. The iPhone adapter to attach to the polar telescope is very easy to use. I have an Orion Atlas EQG mount and found that a 1.25" PVC pipe fits better than the 2" one called for. Also, I simply use rubber bands to hold the iPhone in place rather than the Velcro straps. Regardless, the program gives absolute unparalleled accuracy in polar alignment, far better than one can achieve by eyeball alone. A required program, as far as I am concerned. Orion and Celestron need to routinely supply this program and an adapter with each mount purchase. This is probably the best astro program I have ever purchased! The author responded almost immediately to update a few things when iOS 8 came out!
Fantastic, getting ~ 1arcmin alignments with the AR mode on an Atlas
You will need to build the mounting bracket described on the support site in order to use the augmented-reality mode, and develop some facility in getting the iPhone camera aligned with the polar scope, but it works beautifully. I'm getting 0.5 to 1.5 arcminute alignments on my Atlas mount with no drift-align, amazing.
And thanks for adding the multi-year declination rings!
Highly recommended, but be prepared to put in some effort to get the value.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.