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TYPES OF MOUNTS

  Scope City's Optics Crash Course
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PART III: TELESCOPE MOUNTS

TYPES OF TELESCOPE MOUNTS

There are two basic types of mounts¡ªthe Alt-Az mount (moves in the vertical/altitude direction, and the horizontal/azimuth direction) and the Equatorial mount (has two axes of movement, one parallel to the Earth¡¯s axis, and one perpendicular to it, resulting in N-S and E-W movement relative to the celestial sphere).

The EQ (equatorial) mount essentially has an axis parallel to the Earth¡¯s, resulting in the movement around this axis being a true E-W movement. An EQ mount can have this axis adjusted to that of the Earth¡¯s by means of simple screws that allow one to adjust the angle of pointing. For visual use, it is only necessary to point this axis at Polaris. Even though Polaris isn¡¯t EXACTLY at the point the sky rotates around, it is close enough. For photographic work, greater accuracy can be had by using one of several techniques.

The primary advantage of this mount is that, because it turns on exactly the same axis as the Earth, it can track an object in the sky with a motion on only one axis (the E-W axis, known as the Polar Axis). Different objects can be selected by moving the telescope on the other axis (the N-S axis, known as the Declination Axis). This mount is also the easiest to use photographically because of its simplicity of motion in tracking the object as the Earth turns. It is the easiest mount on which to attach a tracking motor that allows the telescope to turn at exactly the same rate the Earth turns so the object stays centered in the field of view while you observe.

An example of an Equatorial mount.

The Alt-Az mount, on the other hand, is the most intuitive to use. Up-Down and Left-Right are very easy motions to adapt to, and this makes pointing somewhat easier for a lot of individuals. Objects do not rise straight from the horizon, however, so motion in both axes is necessary to track an object. Everyone is familiar with the most basic of this type of mount¡ªthe photographer¡¯s tripod. This mount can also be used for binoculars and small telescopes. Many variants of this mount exist, from the simplest photo-tripod all the way up to a very-expensive mount with a pier and high-end bearings on each axis.

An example of the most common type of Alt-Az scope¡ªthe Dobsonian

There is a modern variant of the Alt-Az mount, called the Computerized Mount. After initial alignment of its on-board computer with some target stars, this mount moves in two axes simultaneously, and tracks the objects found. Further, on-board computer programs allow this type of mount to be used to find objects in the sky. What a huge improvement for the astronomer-a simplicity of motion combined with computer-aided finding of objects. There is no doubt that because of these mounts more astronomers have seen more objects than ever in the past. The computerized scope, with its computer-aided alt-az mount, has revolutionized astronomy for the backyard stargazer. It¡¯s a one-way street, for sure¡ªonce you¡¯ve experienced the ease and precision of a computerized scope, you¡¯ll never want to go back to the simpler techniques of finding objects without one.

An example of a computerized mount, carrying a Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric (compound) scope.


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EQUATORIAL TELESCOPE MOUNTS

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iOptron iEQ45 GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder, Pier
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iOptron iEQ45 GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder, Pier
Item No. 644-11752
Manuf. No. iOptron 8001P

iOptron 8001P Mount iEQ45 GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder, Pier
 
Our Price: $4,988.00
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iOptron iEQ45-GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder
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iOptron iEQ45-GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder
Item No. 644-11751
Manuf. No. iOptron 8001

iOptron 8001 Mount, iEQ45-GT GoTo German Equatorial Mount With Renishaw Encoder
 
Our Price: $4,800.00
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iOptron iEQ45 GoTo German Equatorial Mount with Modified Clutch and Pier for Telescopes
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iOptron iEQ45 GoTo German Equatorial Mount with Modified Clutch and Pier for Telescopes
Item No. 644-11745
Manuf. No. iOptron 8000CP

iOptron 8000CP Mount, iEQ45 GoTo German Equatorial Mount with Modified Clutch and Pier for Telescopes
 
Our Price: $1,888.00
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iOptron iEQ45 computerized German equatorial mount with upgraded clutch
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iOptron iEQ45 computerized German equatorial mount with upgraded clutch
Item No. 644-11740
Manuf. No. iOptron 8000C

iOptron 8000C Mount, iEQ45 computerized German equatorial mount with upgraded clutch
 
Our Price: $1,699.00
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Meade Instruments LX800 German Equatorial Mount with Starlock
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Meade Instruments LX800 German Equatorial Mount with Starlock
Item No. 612-15040
Manuf. No. Meade 37-0800-00

Meade 37-0800-00 Mount, LX800 German Equatorial Mount with Starlock
 
Our Price: $7,299.00
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Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
Item No. 670-30018
Manuf. No. Losmandy G-11 GFT

Losmandy G-11 GFT, Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
 
Our Price: $3,695.00
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Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
Item No. 670-30017
Manuf. No. Losmandy G-11 SFT

Losmandy G-11 SFT, Equatorial Mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft, FHD-MA Tripod and 21 lb. weight
 
Our Price: $2,695.00
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Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Maxon motors, HD Tripod
Losmandy G-11 Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Maxon motors, HD Tripod
Item No. 670-30016
Manuf. No. Losmandy G-11 G, MAXON MOTORS

Losmandy G-11 GM, Equatorial Head G-11 Mount, Gemini Goto, Maxon motors, HD Tripod
 
Our Price: $3,495.00
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Losmandy Mount G-11 Equatorial Head, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
Losmandy Mount G-11 Equatorial Head, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
Item No. 670-30013
Manuf. No. Losmandy G-11 GLT

Losmandy G-11 GLT Equatorial Mount, Gemini Goto, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
 
Our Price: $2,995.00
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Losmandy Equatorial G-11 mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
Losmandy Equatorial G-11 mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
Item No. 670-30012
Manuf. No. Losmandy G-11 SLT

Losmandy G-11 SLT Equatorial mount, Digital Drive, Weight Shaft and 21 lb. weight
 
Our Price: $1,995.00
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Parallax Instruments HD300C Observatory Class German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Parallax Instruments HD300C Observatory Class German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Item No. 608-51300
Manuf. No. Parallax Instruments HD300C

Parallax Instruments HD300C Mount, Observatory Class German Equatorials with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
 
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Parallax Instruments HD200C-O Observatory Model German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Parallax Instruments HD200C-O Observatory Model German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Item No. 608-50900
Manuf. No. Parallax Instruments HD200C-O

Parallax Instruments HD200C-O Mount, Observatory Model German Equatorials with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System AND SQUARE MOUNTING PLATE MADE TO YOUR LATITUDE FOR PERMANENT PIER INSTALLATION
 
Our Price: $13,300.00
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Parallax Instruments HD200C German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Parallax Instruments HD200C German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Item No. 608-50800
Manuf. No. Parallax Instruments HD200C

Parallax Instruments HD200C Mount, German Equatorials with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
 
Our Price: $13,300.00
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Parallax Instruments HD150C-O Observatory Model German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Parallax Instruments HD150C-O Observatory Model German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Item No. 608-50700
Manuf. No. Parallax Instruments HD150C-O

Parallax Instruments HD150C-O Mount, Observatory Model German Equatorials with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
 
Our Price: $11,900.00
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Parallax Instruments HD150C German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Parallax Instruments HD150C German Equatorial Mount with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
Item No. 608-50600
Manuf. No. Parallax Instruments HD150C

Parallax Instruments HD150C Mount, German Equatorials with the Astro-Physics GTO Computer System
 
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