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Vixen SXD Sphinx D Go-to Equatorial Mount, with Star Book Controller & HAL130 SX Aluminum Tripod, 2503HAL130
The Vixen SXD or "Sphinx D" mount is a heavier-duty and increased payload capacity version of the famous original Sphinx go-to mount. Using the latest version of the Star Book hand controller, this mount is the latest advance in go-to telescope technology from one of the pioneers in computerized telescopes (Vixen's first Sky Sensor go-to computer drive was introduced in 1984!)
Instead of the limited two-line text display used in other go-to scope hand controls, the unique Star Book hand control has a large 4.7" diagonal full-color liquid crystal star chart, with an easy to read control function display. The control function display is integrated with a uniquely intuitive and simple ten-button control system. Its ease of use makes the 20-button hand controls used on other scopes - with their cryptic abbreviations and involved menus to memorize ?look downright old-fashioned. The Star Book hand controller makes Sphinx go-to astronomy amazingly easy to master for observers of almost any age and experience level. The original Sphinx mount was recognized by Sky & Telescope magazine as a ıHot Product of 2004," and time has not altered that critical judgment.
The new Sphinx D mount comes with a 1.9kg (4.2 lb) counterweight, a 3.7kg (8.2 lb) counterweight, and an adjustable height HAL-130 tripod, but without a dovetail plate for mounting an optical tube. The Sphinx D mount will handle a payload weighing up to about 50 lbs (about 25 lbs using the supplied counterweights). If heavy photographic accessories are going to be added to the scope, or the use of a heavier optical tube is planned, additional optional counterweights can be added at any time.
The Sphinx D is a solid, well-built mount with the typical top-quality Vixen look and feel. Beginners and seasoned hobbyists alike will enjoy the intuitive ease of use of the Star Book controller, the ability to download future software upgrades directly to the controller, and the versatility of being able to place a wide variety of optical tubes on this solid go-to equatorial mount.
The Sphinx Deluxe (Sphinx D) mount
Motor drives: 180-tooth brass worm gears in both axes for precise 360?motion. The two drive motors are mounted internally. This eliminates the possibility of damage from bumping an exposed motor during transport or setup, as can happen with mounts that use exposed motors with only light plastic or soft vinyl covers. The motor placement keeps the center of gravity of the mount low, to keep the number of counterweights needed to a minimum to balance any given payload. The internal mounting of the motors also allows them to be mounted close to the right ascension and declination shafts to reduce the gear train length. This reduces backlash and improves the accuracy and reaction time of the drive system.
The drives can slew your scope across the sky at speeds up to a fast 5?per second. The motors draw 0.4A when tracking and up to 1.7A when slewing. A battery box holding eight optional D-cell batteries supplies the power to the mount. For use near AC power, an optional #AC3599 AC adapter and #AC2537 Sphinx adapter plug are available for uninterrupted operation. Alternatively, an optional #DC8644 cigarette light plug cord can be combined with a rechargeable 12VDC battery such as the Celestron #4512V or #4517V for extended use away from AC power.
General specifications: The upgraded Sphinx D uses one-piece hardened solid steel right ascension and declination shafts to accommodate the heavier payload capacity. The shafts ride on needle bearings throughout to easily handle a load of up to 50 lbs, with smooth motion in all axes. There are a total of nine bearings used in the Sphinx D: two on the right ascension axis, three on the declination axis, and four on the worm axes (which reduces the motor loading, thereby improving the tracking smoothness). The Sphinx D is usable over a latitude range of 0?to 70?
Counterweights and payload capacity: Two counterweights are standard equipment with the Sphinx D mount: a 1.9kg (4.2 lb) and a 3.7kg (8.2 lb). These are sufficient to handle optical tubes weighing up to about 25 lbs. Additional optional counterweights are available to balance a heavier load. The counterweight shaft stores inside the motor housing for convenience when the mount is not in use. The Sphinx D mount will support a maximum payload of about 50 lbs. Additional counterweights will be needed to balance an optical tube in this weight range. Adding an optional Vixen #SDP2661 dovetail bracket will allow you to install a variety of non-Vixen optics and mounting rings on the Sphinx mount.
Polar finder: A supplied internally illuminated polar axis scope is threaded into the mount body for faster and more accurate alignment (within 3 arc minutes) on the celestial pole for critical astrophotography use. The mountıs micrometer-adjust altitude and azimuth control knobs make short work of casually lining up the Sphinx D on Polaris for visual work (or more precisely on the celestial pole for astrophotography when using the polar alignment scope).
Tripod: A full length heavy duty HAL130-SX adjustable height aluminum field tripod is standard equipment. The tripod has legs that adjust the height from the ground to the top of the tripod over a range of approximately 32" to 51" to suit a variety of optical tube lengths and types. The tripod is color-coordinated with the Sphinx mount. An optional #SX2516 half pillar might be needed to add enough extra height to the mount to bring the eyepiece of a long focal length refractor up to a comfortable observing height when using the HAL130-SX tripod and observing at the zenith. The half pillar may also be needed when observing at low latitudes to keep the counterweight from striking the tripod legs.
Weight: The weight of the Sphinx mount head and counterweight shaft is 19.4 lbs (31.8 lbs with supplied counterweights). The HAL130-SX tripod weighs approximately 12 lbs. Total mount/tripod weight is approximately 44 lbs.
The Star Book controller
Specifications of the built-in computer: 75MHz 32-bit RISC processor, 8MB SDRAM, upgradeable 4MB flash ROM (Vixen offers flash upgrade firmware and comet database downloads from their website). The astronomical database includes 22,725 celestial objects. A LAN port allows for computer control and network connectivity via downloads available from Vixen. An autoguider port is standard. A flash ROM download allows for compatibility with a variety of autoguiders (including SBIG).
Liquid crystal display: The innovative Star Book hand controller has a large 4.7" diagonal full-color LCD screen. It displays a chart of the area of the night sky at which your scope is pointing at all times, along with the functions of each of the ten buttons on the controller. As you change screens, the button function display changes to keep you current with what each button does, without guessing. Features and menu options are always displayed at the bottom of the large color screen and are easily navigated with the ten large buttons on the controller.
The 4096-color screen displays a detailed 320 x 420 pixel star chart that acts as a navigational system and go-to controller for the mount. A cursor shows the exact point in the sky your scope is aimed at. As you move the scope, the star chart scrolls under the crosshair so you always know exactly where your scope is pointing and what interesting objects are only a button-push away.
Zoom-In/Out buttons for the color star chart display also control the motor speed. As you zoom in closer to an object on the display screen, the motor speed automatically slows for finer control. As you zoom out, the motor speed increases to let you cover larger distances across the skies more quickly, up to a maximum of 5?per second.
Stand-alone use: The Star Book controller can be used as a stand-alone star atlas any place, any time. You can use it for binocular or bare eye astronomy, for example, to identify constellations, star clusters. nebulas, and more. Easy to see at night and easy to use, it will help you learn the skies quickly when youıre not using it to control your go-to Vixen SXD Sphinx D mount.
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