Right angle polar scope adapter

For the Vixen Polarie non-illuminated polar scope...

Accurate polar alignment is essential for long exposure astrophotography. I have two mounts with polar scopes and neither has a right angle eyepiece. For astrophotography I like to keep my tripod legs short to maximize stiffness. I may want to look at the stars, but this puts me down with my knees in the dirt in a very uncomfortable position. The more cofortable I am the more accurate my polar alignment is.

Right angle adapters are easily foound for SLR cameras. It's relatively easy to adapt one for most polar alignment scopes. Inspired by several similar projects on Cloudy Nights, I decided on the Nikon DR-3 Right Angle Finder. I found a DR-3 on eBay for less than $25. My DR-3 has a 19mm threaded attachment to the camera with a small 19mm extension tube. The Vixen Polarie Polar Scope has a wide cylindical colar that holds the eyepiece. Exploring my house for cylindrical objects that I could make an adapter from, I found that the small plastic pill bottles my pharmacy uses are a perfect fit to the collar on the Polarie polar scope. These bottles are 1 9/32" in diameter. To fashion an adapter I:

  1. Cut the pill bottle to about 1 1/8" length
  2. Drilled a pilot hole in the center of the bottom of the pill bottle. A small drill press worked well for me.
  3. Widened the hole for the 19mm thread of the DR-3. I didn't have the exact tap drill size for this, but used an 18mm drill. I lightly sanded the 18mm hole to get it just wide enough to thread the DR-3 extension tube in the plastic. This made a very firm connetion. If it ever becomes loose a bit of expoxy around the extension tube will keep it in place.
  4. Done! The DR-3 can be unscrewed from the extension tube in the adapter for easy storage and the adapter can be left in place on the polar scope collar to minimize wear. The adjustments can be made to the polar scope and the right angle viewer can be rotated to a convenient positon independently.

The exact dimensions and materials will need to be selected for your particular polar scope and right angle viewer. If you have the illuminated version of the Polarie scope, it doesn't have the wide collar and you may want to mount to the eyepiece instead.

Here is the completed adapter:

Here it is disassembled with the parts and and drills I used.

Content created: 2020-01-10




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