Alt-Az Telescope Mounts

At times it could be great to setup the telescope mount in daytime. Generally this is not possible when you can’t see any stars. In this post I will describe a method to align the mount precisely in daytime.   Sometimes on a nice sunny day you would like to observe the sun or the brighter planets – Mercury and Venus. Unless you have a fixed installation in an observatory this can be difficult, as you can’t easily spot the planets with the naked eye. Using the principle described below, you will be able to align your mount during the day and make goto’s directly to the brighter planets and even the brighter stars can be seen in broad daylight. The basic idea of using a terrestrial object I got [...]

This is a video recording of a talk about the Modern Alt-Az mount held at The Practical Astronomy Show in March 2019. Actually the recording was made a few weeks later when I repeated the talk at The Astronomical Society of Copenhagen. Unfortunately the video quality is not perfect but I hope it can be useful anyway. The video is rather long so here are the timing if you want to jump to certain sections: Introduction My Journey into amateur astronomy (01:24) Comparison of Polar aligned and Alt-Az Mounts (05:05) Summing up the Comparison (19:12) Alt-Az short exposure Astrophotography (20:39) Alt-Az long exposure Astrophotography (30:41) Summing up (38:30)

You can take great astrophotos using your Alt-Az mount – learn how here If you own an Alt-Az mount, you most likely think “It cannot be used for deep sky astrophotography”. But that is not correct. It is possible to take wonderful deep sky images with an Alt-Az mount if you know how to do it and pick the right objects. As with any astronomy equipment, the quality of the mount (stability, tracking accuracy), telescope and camera will of course have influence on the final result. But with good knowledge and persistence, you can take great images even with modest equipment. This article will explain how. In this post, I will look into the following subjects: Equipment considerations Alt-Az mount tracking Guiding an Alt-Az mount Influence of field rotation How [...]

You may have learned that for taking good astrophotos, you need a polar aligned mount preferably a german equatorial mount. But with new high quality Alt-Az mounts, this is no longer true. New technologies introduced in Alt-Az mounts mean they can deliver precise equatorial tracking while maintaining the basic advantages of the Alt-Az mount (read more about these advantages and a comparison to Polar aligned mount here). Tracking needed for precise astrophotography One of the first challenges when taking astrophotos is to achieve good tracking. Without good tracking of the object imaged, the rest doesn’t matter. Top quality optics, super sensitive low noise camera, everything collimated and aligned perfectly – all this will not help you if the tracking is bad. Tracking the sky means that the telescope must continually [...]

 The Alt-Az mount is gaining fame again after many years in the shadow of the polar aligned parallactic mount. The ever increasing possibilities within computer control has made it possible to design Alt-Az mounts capable of delivering precise equatorial tracking. Having the simple mechanical principles of the Alt-Az mount, these new mounts offer easier transport and faster setup than the typical polar aligned mount. Setting up an Alt-Az telescope mount – no leveling needed Basically, an Alt-Az mount has a vertical azimuth axle and a horizontal altitude axle. However, this does not need to be precise with many newer mounts where the software handles the alignment. Therefore, the great advantage setting up an Alt-Az mount is that no leveling of any kind is needed. Just set up the tripod [...]

This is the first article in a small series that will focus on the use and possibilities of Altitude-Azimuth (Alt-Az) telescope mounts. First the basic overview will be created and in the coming articles more details on the actual use and possibilities of the modern Alt-Az mount will be covered. The historic view The very first telescope mounts made were Alt-Az mounts. Logically, it is the easiest way to mount a telescope to get a compact and stable base. For astronomical telescopes, the need for tracking the objects across the sky lead to the invention of the Polar aligned Parallactic mount. In the times of no computer control, the fixed speed drive needed for the polar aligned mount was easy to make as a mechanical clock. With modern computer controlled [...]

TTS-160 Panther Mount

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