There is an advanced feature in the ExploreStars application that ensures accurate tracking rates are maintained when a proper physical polar alignment is not obtained, and you are performing the 2- or 3-Star Alignment procedure to accurately point to objects in the sky. There are two tracking modes available called TRACK MODE and POINT MODE. When slewing to an object after a 2- or 3-Star Alignment, the system goes into POINT MODE, which directs the mount to continually “Point” to the object based on the real-time calculated motor position using the 2- or 3-star pointing correction.
The behavior of the mount in this mode is such that the tracking rate not only on the RA axis but also on the DEC axis adjust the rate dynamically. This rate is updated five times per second to maintain the object in the center of the field. When slewing the mount manually with the keypad buttons, the system reverts to TRACK MODE, which sets the RA axis rate to the predetermined tracking rate value.
Both functions result in excellent object tracking for both visual observing and astrophotography. The POINT MODE is indicated on the ExploreStars display as a “triangle-P” symbol, and the TRACK MODE is indicated by the “square-Tr” symbol. So even if you are not physically polar aligned, you can still rely on the tracking rates to be accurate when observing the sky.
NOTE: It is recommended that when doing astrophotography with the ExploreStars application that you use TRACK MODE only. Also be aware that there are limitations to the length of exposure you can obtain with regard to field rotation which can vary based on the focal length and the image scale of your equipment.