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Mount options for a 102 Frac


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41 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Another benefit of EQ mounts is that they are usable in the ‘dob hole’ - the area around the zenith where the seeing tends to be the best, altaz mounts cannot do this. Then again observing at the zenith with a refractor is not always a lot of fun anyway. 

You just move a bit to the left, no....? 🤣

I don't think anything is very good straight up to be honest, but yes, an EQ is best there. It's fun with a dob! 

 

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4 hours ago, John said:

for me it is the "dump it down and observe" nature of the alt-azimuth

I agree John, when I don't need tracking or when I don't have time for setup the AltZ is the quickest setup approach.

AltZ are generally lighter, however the Vixen mount I have is considerably lighter then the Chinese mounts in the same class and there are other Harmonic drive mounts that lighter still. 

If you are tracking fast moving objects like planets then EQ mounts all the way.

Edited by Deadlake
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Just now, Deadlake said:

I agree John, when I don't need tracking or when I don't have time for setup the AltZ is the quickest setup approach. If you are tracking fast moving planets then EQ mounts all the way.

Luckily all the planets I observe seem to be slow movers :icon_biggrin:

 

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2 minutes ago, John said:

Luckily all the planets I observe seem to be slow movers

I find with the poor seeing this year if I use a tracking mount I can focus on the those good moments of seeing. Also at high magnification less wobble when floating around over the moon.

A good test would be how much more you can see with an AZ100 with and without tracking enabled. I'll leave that up to others to discuss in the future....

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In all of this (and a thank you to everyone for their help) I'm inclined to ask: if the Vixen Polaris was the 'jack of all trades,' how come that idea didn't catch on? You'd think that would have been copied?

Edited by Stardaze
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2 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

I find with the poor seeing this year if I use a tracking mount I can focus on the those good moments of seeing. Also at high magnification less wobble when floating around over the moon.

A good test would be how much more you can see with an AZ100 with and without tracking enabled. I'll leave that up to others to discuss in the future....

My eyes are far too adept at tracking the clouds this month 😂 Are they ever going to clear? 

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The EQ5's can be good bargain workhorse mounts with a fair amount of capacity for their price. Especially used - I recently sold a nice one for £140 complete with steel tripod !

They will easily hold a 4 inch refractor and even 4.7 inch for visual observing.

 

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41 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

In all of this (and a thank you to everyone for their help) I'm inclined to ask: if the Vixen Polaris was the 'jack of all trades,' how come that idea didn't catch on? You'd think that would have been copied?

There are some equatorial/atazimuth hybrids out there but they aren't cheap. The real beauty of the old Vixen mounts is that they had manual drives. Most modern equatorial rely solely on electric. The EQ5 is an exception, although you'd need to do a little adaptation with a hacksaw to get it to convert into Altaz mode. I have to say though, that like Mr Spock, I find a lightweight German equatorial to be just as easy, if not easier to use than an altazimuth. Polar alignment doesn't need to be spot on accurate for most visual purposes, and just aiming the polar axis towards Polaris is generally accurate enough. (You don't necessarily need to see Polaris). They really are dead easy to use, and are mostly hands free if they have an RA drive. If you can't find a Polaris mount, I'd suggest a standard SW EQ5 with RA drive or equivalent,  and you'd be set to go. Although I have several altazimuth mounts myself, I rarely use them unless it a field trip, but even then if possible I'd prefer to use an equatorial.

post-41880-0-40467300-1431273417.thumb.jpg.2728bf6c37c3a5d176f6d48993329dd3.jpgpost-41880-0-82044500-1427970489.thumb.jpg.3aad4bb1d5980bddb7a349c0f094f326.jpgmsg-41880-0-36501200-1428934339.thumb.jpg.6b51227ed36508d4243976cee2fbe6f5.jpgpost-41880-0-75082200-1433239196.thumb.jpg.9fc4daf528a57ef2b8f93650bbbf9b02.jpgpost-41880-0-68326100-1432994737.thumb.jpg.cb4d0ce38c6061869840840a27a7248b.jpg

 

 

Edited by mikeDnight
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25 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

My eyes are far too adept at tracking the clouds this month 😂 Are they ever going to clear? 

Is it me or when the ✈️ where grounded in 2001 or in lock down the seeing was better? 

Edited by Deadlake
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7 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

There are some equatorial/atazimuth hybrids out there but they aren't cheap. The real beauty of the old Vixen mounts is that they had manual drives. Most modern equatorial rely solely on electric. The EQ5 is an exception, although you'd need to do a little adaptation with a hacksaw to get it to convert into Altaz mode. I have to say though, that like Mr Spock, I find a lightweight German equatorial to be just as easy, if not easier to use than an altazimuth. Polar alignment doesn't need to be spot on accurate for most visual purposes, and just aiming the polar axis towards Polaris is generally accurate enough. (You don't necessarily need to see Polaris). They really are dead easy to use, and are mostly hands free if they have an RA drive. If you can't find a Polaris mount, I'd suggest a standard SW EQ5 with RA drive or equivalent,  and you'd be set to go. Although I have several altazimuth mounts myself, I rarely use them unless it a field trip, but even then if possible I'd prefer to use an equatorial.

 

 

Thanks Mike. It's interesting to see a few visual observers praise EQ mounts, my perception (for visual) was the opposite. Perception based largely on the regular members here owning many fancy alt/az mounts. After all of this, I'm inclined to think that I might need both.....

4 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

Is it me or when the ✈️ where grounded in 2001 or in lock down the seeing was better? 

Apparently not according to a source I read last week but I have to say that we had months of superb seeing.

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14 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

Thanks Mike. It's interesting to see a few visual observers praise EQ mounts, my perception (for visual) was the opposite. Perception based largely on the regular members here owning many fancy alt/az mounts. After all of this, I'm inclined to think that I might need both.....

I added a few pic's on my previous post to prove I'm not making it up. :biggrin:

Edited by mikeDnight
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25 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

if possible I'd prefer to use an equatorial.

That's completely true and not surprising, as EQ mounts move in the same way as the sky does. Still nice to have a small alt-az though,  just in case a gap appears in the eternal cloud cover! 😀

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46 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

Thanks Mike. It's interesting to see a few visual observers praise EQ mounts, my perception (for visual) was the opposite. Perception based largely on the regular members here owning many fancy alt/az mounts. After all of this, I'm inclined to think that I might need both.....

If I had a permanent mount then I'd use my SXP2 all the time, the star book is better then the Nexus, no vibration transmitted to the scope/EP etc...

IMG_4809.thumb.jpeg.fe8ed63c56434bb10dca7310bfd32214.jpeg

 

It's the setup time of the AZ100 which beats the SXP2 above. For viewing planets the EQ is the better mount. The AZ100 has more sweep ability then SXP2, i.e I can get to the other side of the sky faster...

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1 hour ago, Deadlake said:

If you are tracking fast moving objects like planets then EQ mounts all the way.

Didn’t know they moved that much faster than anything else? 😉 Or are you just talking about objects viewed at high power? If so then yes, tracking certainly helps in that regard, just purely being able to concentrate on viewing without worrying about nudging or operating slo mos does make a difference I think. The scope is always settled and the views always as stable as they can be.

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Here's 3 photos - the SP in alt-az mode w the 102M (this was before I modded the motors on), and then in EQ mode after the motors were added.  The photo of Mars was taken with that setup (lucky imaging so need for long-exposure AP accuracy-of-tracking levels).  Having the motors really helped with high-power visual obs too.

IMG_2899.jpg

IMG_3462.jpg

2020-10-07-0037_8-Mars_lapl6_ap23_imppg_pi.jpg

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Can we just remember that this is a thread to help the OP choose a mount for a 102mm scope. It is not an EQ vs AltAz argument, nor a ‘who has the biggest AltAz’ thread, so let’s keep it helpful and relevant please.

We are not trying to convince the OP, merely inform of the options.

Thank you 👍

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5 minutes ago, Stu said:

Can we just remember that this is a thread to help the OP choose a mount for a 102mm scope. It is not an EQ vs AltAz argument, nor a ‘who has the biggest AltAz’ thread, so let’s keep it helpful and relevant please.

We are not trying to convince the OP, merely inform of the options.

Thank you 👍

It’s fine @Stu, I was all for Alt/Az but I have overlooked EQ. Though, yours will be bigger (deeper pockets probably) 🙃

Edited by Stardaze
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5 minutes ago, Stu said:

Can we just remember that this is a thread to help the OP choose a mount for a 102mm scope. It is not an EQ vs AltAz argument, nor a ‘who has the biggest AltAz’ thread, so let’s keep it helpful and relevant please.

We are not trying to convince the OP, merely inform of the options.

Thank you 👍

Fair point Stu. I've removed my earlier post of alt-azimuth pics. Apologies to the OP for confusion caused.

 

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18 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

It’s fine @Stu, I was all for Alt/Az but I have overlooked EQ. Though, yours will be bigger (deeper pockets probably) 🙃

Don’t you believe it 🤣. I’ve had quite a few Vixen GPs over the years, all bought used probably for between £150 and £300 depending on spec and condition. No idea why I keep selling them 🤪. Latest one is a GP-DX which was off here for £400 but came with a couple of Skysensor 2000PC controllers and cables etc.

I do think a lot depends on your observing habits and favourite targets. If you are a lunar/planetary and potentially solar junkie then a simple dual axis driven EQ makes a lot of sense. If you tend to observe a wide variety of objects in an evening then I would either go AltAz (with or without slo mos depending on your preference) or if wanting EQ then I would personally opt for Goto but that’s due to my inability to think in RA when finding stuff! 🤣

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2 minutes ago, IB20 said:

This is one thing that does put me off from getting one of the f/7 4.5-5kg 4” scopes. The weight soon starts to add up with something like a steel tripod and skytee. 

Ah, but the cunning plan is that it looks a little smarter than the dob, so hopefully SWMBO accepts it so that it can sit at the back door ready to go. 😉

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7 minutes ago, Stu said:

Don’t you believe it 🤣. I’ve had quite a few Vixen GPs over the years, all bought used probably for between £150 and £300 depending on spec and condition. No idea why I keep selling them 🤪. Latest one is a GP-DX which was off here for £400 but came with a couple of Skysensor 2000PC controllers and cables etc.

I do think a lot depends on your observing habits and favourite targets. If you are a lunar/planetary and potentially solar junkie then a simple dual axis driven EQ makes a lot of sense. If you tend to observe a wide variety of objects in an evening then I would either go AltAz (with or without slo mos depending on your preference) or if wanting EQ then I would personally opt for Goto but that’s due to my inability to think in RA when finding stuff! 🤣

Again, all very valid points. I’ve been quietly surprised this year in how much I’ve enjoyed the planets. I have even started to observe the moon, which I had very little interest in previously. It’s a funny old game! 

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16 minutes ago, IB20 said:

This is one thing that does put me off from getting one of the f/7 4.5-5kg 4” scopes. The weight soon starts to add up with something like a steel tripod and skytee. 

That is one of the negatives of the SkyTee2 for me, it seems to be cast from pure ‘veryheavium’! Very capable mount though and available for a good price on the used market if weight is not an issue.

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