Polar Alignment (PA) describes the process of precisely aligning the Right Ascension (RA) axis of a equatorial mount with earths rotational axis. This has to be done every single time a mount is set up and is mandatory to be able to do astrophotography. Traditionally this is done with a additional "Polar Scope" attached to the setup, but it is not feasible to use one on OAT. The other options you have will be discussed here.
Since there are some very different ones, here's the pro's and con's of each method:
OATs build-in Polar Alignment
Pro: Fairly quick and easy. No computer or guider required
Con: Limited precision. Free view on Polaris required. Northern hemisphere only.
(Build-in) Drift Alignment
Pro: Precise. No computer or guider required. Can be done with obstructed view of the sky.
Con: Not easy. Can take long. Needs practice
PHD2 Drift Alignment
Pro: Very precise. Relatively easy. Can be done with obstructed view of the sky.
Con: Computer and guider required
Pro: Very precise. Very quick and easy.
Con: 10$/Year subscription. Computer and guider required. Free view on N/S celestial pole required.
OAT has its very own Polar Alignment method. All you need is a camera and a way to view the last picture taken. This method only works in the northern hemisphere and requires a unobstructed view on Polaris.
Polar alignment, if you're using the LCD: select
Polar AlignmentThe mount will move for a bit, mostly around RA. After the slew, physically move the mount (via the single back M14 screw and via rotating the whole mount) such that Polaris is in the dead center of your viewfinder. Make sure the front stays level. If you're taking pictures (as opposed to Live View), move the mount in one direction only between pictures to see where the star goes. Repeat until centered. You may need to mark your laptop screen somehow from pic to pic so you can see how the movement of the mount corresponds to the star movement.
Done, if you're using the LCD press
The drift align tool in PHD2 can be used to quickly obtain a precise polar alignment of your equatorial mount. The process takes a little bit of practice, but after doing it a few times, you should be able to obtain an accurate polar alignment in minutes.
PHD2 is telescope guiding software that simplifies the process of tracking a guide star, letting you concentrate on other aspects of deep-sky imaging or spectroscopy.
SharpCap is an easy-to-use and powerful astronomy camera capture tool. It can be used with dedicated astronomy cameras, webcams and USB frame grabbers.