An evening goes like this;
1) The mount has no clutches but moves easily by hand (you do htis slowly) so you roughly point the scope at an alignment star by hand. I shine a laser through the finder for speed and simplicity.
2) Switch on the mount's Servocat drives and Argo Navis GoTo. They each have their own handset, something I'll describe in a moment. In the Argo Navis handset select Mode Align Star and scroll to your preferred alignment star. Use the small Servocat handset with NSEW buttons to centre the star in the finder and OK that on the Argo Navis handset. All this is in the open area of the observatory.
3) Go into the warm room with the Servo Cat handset, fire up the camera and use the handset to precisely align the star onto the centre of the crosshair on your capture screen. Pop out and OK this refined alignment on the Argo Navis handset which lives on a stand by the mount. (I always OK the rough finder scope alignment before the accurate camera-based one in case I dopily slew away from the alignment star. I know what I'm like...)
4) Select 'Catalogue' in the Argo Navis handset and go back into the warm room. Hit Go To on the Servo Cat handset and the mount swishes with a pleasing and very posh-sounding whirr to the target, which is always on the chip. Centre and then set the Servo Cat to slow guide speed.
5) Open PHD and run the calibration in 1 second subs. Then switch to 5 second subs. This mount has very low PE and deviates very slowly so long guide subs help beat the seeing. It thrives on these long subs.
Some might consider the two handsets a complication and opt to control the lot via the computer. Not me. Give me handsets any day. (Only this week a guest went out to use our Takahashi mount which is controlled by TheSky 6. It has been working perfectly for about a year but this time it won't play. The Sky 6 opens correctly but when the mount is connected it leaps to the wrong part of the sky. We jackass around trying to find out why and in the end we have to swap to a different planetarium to get going. When something doesn't work in imaging it is, almost invariably, a software nonesense. Handsets every time for me. Whenever I switch on the planetarium-controlled mounts I have a pang of stress; will they work? Remember, I have an obligation, I'm not just doing this for myself.)
The Argo Navis handset is brilliant. It has only 2 buttons and a large wheel used for scrolling. Once you are used t it I doubt you'd want anything else. Scroll the wheel the choose a menu, eg Catalogue.
Press Enter. Scroll the wheel to choose a sub catalogue (Messier, IC, etc etc.) Press Enter. Scroll to the first digit. Enter. Scroll to next digit. Enter. Etc. You then use the little Servo Cat handset and press Go To.
The Servo Cat is a small NSEW affair with a set of buttons for slew speed (Slew, Jog, Fast Guide, Slow Guide.) It also has a GoTo button which ignores the chosen speed and triggers a fast slew to whatever is on the Argo Navis.
The mount has overload protection in the case of a pier collision which is very reassuring, especially for Yves!!
I've probably done about sixty hours imaging with this mount and it has performed magnificently. On the last project, for instance, I took 24 consecutive Ha subs of thirty minutes on consecutive nights and evry one had perfectly tight little stars.
I would buy a Mesu 2 tomorrow if I were in the market for an observatory mount. The price is fantastic, the quality is fantastic and you can speak to the boss if you need to. Not even the European importers can speak to Takahashi...
The Mesu is now available from Telescope Service.
Edited by ollypenrice, 24 February 2012 - 08:52 AM.