Getting Started: Using an Equatorial Telescope Mount: Everything you need to know for astrophotography or visual use.
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When it comes to tracking celestial objects, more advanced telescopes will probably have an equatorial mount. Many midrange and high end telescopes are set on these mounts - and with good reason. For visual astronomers, the equatorial mount allows the greatest accuracy and tracking ability. An equatorial mount is also a prerequisite for anyone with ambition to seriously capture astronomical events and bodies via photography. They allow an astrophotographer to pass the most basic, primitive shots and begin to advance the pursuit into long exposure astrophotography.
It's also wildly frustrating at times.
Call it an occupational hazard, but many would-be astronomers and astrophotographers have discovered what Allan Hall learned over decades of hands-on research and self-motivated study: equatorial mounts - in terms of assembly and use - are counter-intuitive, often without instruction, and complicated. Considering that the mount needs to be viable, presentable, and functioning with precision in order to begin observing and photographing the night sky; this represents a real road block for many people.
In "Getting Started: Using an Equatorial Telescope Mount", Allan Hall sheds light on the best strategies for crossing this initial bridge that holds so many people back from pursuing these rewarding disciplines.
Hall delineates, clearly and plainly - with a love for all things astronomy related - the ABC's of your equatorial mount experience. Beginning with why an equatorial mount will lead you to the most rewarding craft, Hall writes with the engaging, patient tone of a man who knows his field and knows what awaits those who master this early aspect of using the equatorial mount.
Terminology, strategy, and setup can be stress-free, even when facing down problems that halt advanced users, such as cone error and the various elements of alignment that can be stumbling blocks.
The author of a series of books on astrophotography, celestial bodies, advanced telescope use, and more; Allan Hall's books are a treasured resource for those ready to begin their journey at home. Today: for the first time, amateur astronomers and astrphotographers can develop their skill set in a fully-informed way using the tremendous wealth of information and experience available, as well as equipment that is precise, professional, and affordable.
With levity, concise instruction, valuable practical advice, and warmth, Allan Hall's "Getting Started: Using an Equatorial Telescope Mount" is your starting point for the most accurate tracking of celestial bodies.
Remove the frustration and wasted time that come with trying to assemble an equatorial mount yourself. Learn from the broad experience found in "Getting Started', and begin your understanding of the night sky and the measurements, balances, and alignments that you need to observe and potentially capture it in images.
Begin today with "Getting Started: Using an Equatorial Telescope Mount", Allan Hall's comprehensive guide to a stress-free start in your observance of the celestial skies.
Have to get the polar alignment this accurate, but it sure is nice. Let’s get started. Once the telescope is set up, aligned with the polar scope (if we have one) and aligned with the computer or hand controller, we need to find a star near the meridian (the line that runs from north to south just overhead), north of the celestial equator (the line that runs from east to west directly over the earth’s equator). The star should be roughly 65 degrees or so in height and no brighter than Polaris.
Alignment. When I have my laptop hooked up to the handset and want to use it to control the mount, I select “2)NO”. Figure 45: Hand controller display. Connecting your computer to your mount is beyond the scope of this book but I did want to mention where the fork occurred just so you would be aware. For the purposes of this book, I will assume you selected “1)YES”. Figure 46: Hand controller display. The handset now wants to know which method you want to use to align the mount. There.
Repeated. This process continues until the mount has a sufficient number of matches so that it knows exactly where it is pointing. It should be noted that this process only replaces the computerized alignment and in no way is a substitute for accurate polar alignment. That being said, if you are doing visual work for bright objects you could just point the mount roughly at the celestial pole, activate the automatic alignment and be done. This sure makes things nice for a quick evening out under.
Excellent for visual. EQ mounts are lined up pointing towards the celestial pole, a process called polar alignment. This is what allows them to follow the arc of the objects through the sky. Figure 9: Direction of polar alignment with an EQ mount. Another interesting feature of EQ mounts is that they use weights to balance the scope assembly to make tracking a target smooth and easy. If you look at most EQ mounts you will see one or more round weights at the end of a shaft extending from the.
The scope and weight up and down. You can slide the weight left and right (as it appears in the figure above) until it balances the scope. Lock everything down, return the scope to its home position. Figure 28:Balancing the nose of a reflector. The third axis is just pointing the nose of the scope straight up in the air and making sure that the nose does not tip one direction or the other. This is primarily to see if you have too much weight strapped to one side or the other such as on a.