I wanted to focus on polar alignment and setting up my polar alignment scope. I got some good advice on how to use it on the ap-gto mailing list.
So, I started with the Polar Alignment from PEMPro. I could never get it to work with my CGEM scope. But with the Mach1 it wasn't a problem at all. I spent 1.5 hours trying to get polar alignment as accurate as possible. With our seeing conditions (starts flickered a lot) I could not get it below 0.1 arc mins.
Here is a 10 min unguided test shot:
There are some traces, but not a lot. Seems as if the polar alignment went very well.
Then I aligned the polar alignment scope such that Polaris was in the place that was indicated in the AP app. That will allow me to get very good polar alignment in the future just with the polar alignment scope.
And finally, I pointed to scope somewhere (Deneb) and started guiding to see if there is a difference.
Here is the best guiding graph from the best night at GSSP (i.e. near perfect seeing conditions):
Peak Error: 2.26 arcsec
And here is the guiding graph from tonight - without doing any any adjustments to the PHD parameters:
Peak Error: 1.15 arcsec
I can't wait what guiding I will get after I spend some time working on those PHD parameters!