SMOOTH, STURDY AND UNBREAKABLE – THE PERFECT MOUNT
Telescope optics are glamorous and fun to talk about. But the hunk of metal or wood that supports the scope — the telescope mount— is every bit as important as the optical tube. In fact, astro-photographers sometimes spend considerably more money on their mounts than on their scopes.
The first job of the mount is to keep the telescope from shaking, which is much harder than it sounds. At high power, every little wobble or vibration is magnified so much that the whole image becomes un-viewable. A mount also has to allow the telescope to move extremely smoothly. Celestial objects don’t stand still for you to look at. Or, more precisely, they do stand still, but they appear to move across the sky as Earth rotates underneath you. At 200× it takes about a minute for an object to cross from one edge of the eyepiece to the other. To keep an object centered, you have to move the scope frequently and in very tiny increments.
The very simplest kind of mount is the Dobsonian design. Dobsonian mounts do only the two tasks outlined above — keep the scope steady and let it move smoothly — and they do those two jobs extremely well, and at very low weight and cost. That makes them exceedingly popular for large reflectors, which would be impractical to mount any other way.
The more complex mounts are split into 2 main groups – Equatorial mounts and Alt-Azimuth mounts (see more below)
Many mounts have motor drives that track celestial objects automatically. This is essential for astrophotography and a great convenience for high-power planetary viewing. But deep-sky objects stay in view relatively long at the modest magnifications typically used to view them, so motor drive is less critical for deep-sky observing.
Computerised mounts are practically in a class of their own, though they are actually variations of either an Alt-Az or Equatorial that is controlled by an in-built computer. All you have to do is find the object you’re after in the computerised controller and the powered mount will do the rest!
A computerised telescope will swivel by itself to find the object you’re looking for and will keep it in your field of view, making it perfect for beginners who don’t know their way around the sky yet. Computerised equatorial mounts are able to smoothly track objects, so are ideal for taking longer exposures in astrophotography.
EQ & AZ MOUNTS
EQ – Equatorial Mounts
An Equatorial mount moves the telescope in an arc, allowing the user to track objects much more easily as they move across the sky. This means you only have to adjust a single axis to track the object to keep it in your field of view.
AZ – Alt-Azimuth Mounts
Alt-Azimuth, or Alt-Az, mounts are simple telescope mounts that are quick to set up and easy to use. These telescopes have two axes of movement: altitude (up/down), and azimuth (left/right). As an object like the moon moves across the sky, you will need to adjust both of these directions every now and then to keep it in your view.
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer is a user friendly modular mount designed for wide field astrophotography and time-lapse photography. It is a precise, portable and stable celestial tracking platform for sidereal, solar and lunar tracking with automatic DSLR shutter release control (using snap shot cable sold separately). Moreover, it comes pre-programmed with parameters assisting you to create interesting stop motion and time-lapse videos with your DSLR.
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