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Tuthill Polar Alignment Scope for SCT's

Posted by Donald Siwek   06/01/2004 12:00AM

Tuthill Polar Alignment Scope for SCT's
[ARTICLEIMGL="1"]Roger Tuthill was an engineer and innovator who designed and patented a number of astronomy tools. Sadly, Mr. Tuthill passed away in 2000, but his legacy lives on in the product line that bears his name (

The Tuthill polar alignment tool is a model of utility and elegant simplicity. The scope is a specially "misaligned" rifle site. When the appliance is set for the correct date and time, and polaris placed in the crosshairs, the finder and parent telescope are perfectly polar aligned. Brilliant and easy to implement.

The scope is attached to the base of an SCT, as you can see in the picture with Mr. Tuthill, by means of a piece of extruded aluminum that is orthogonal to the RA axis (see close up) The alignment scope is then secured in the aluminum plate and is thus parallel to the polar axis.

A somewhat cumbersome calculation is made to determine the correct rotation of the alignment scope. A metal pointer on the scope is used to determine that position using the attached vernier scale which is marked in degrees (Fig. 3).

Finally, the position of your telescope is adjusted, as usual, to place polaris in the center of the alignment scope crosshairs. BAM! - polar alignment in about a minute.

Brand new, this gizmo goes for about $300 and in my estimation worth every penny of it! These items crop up on Astromart every now and then for about $200.

This tool is now critical in my setup and an incredibly helpful addition to my toolbox. If you have an SCT on a field tripod, you will wonder why it's not a standard element of all SCT's! I give this item 5 moons.