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Choice of mounts

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We are about to replace our Nexstar 6SE with a set up better suited to astrophotography. We have almost decided on the Celestron 9.25 OTA and either the HEQ5 Pro mount or the EQ6 Pro mount. Common sense tells us we need the EQ6 for best results in imaging but...we live in a second floor flat with no lifts!

We would welcome any advice/opinions on either of these mounts and of the choice between them.

Many Thanks

Trish & Colin

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Be warned though; the EQ6 Pro is very heavy and you will need a clear view of Polaris to polar align or a wide clear view of the meridian to drift align. I sold my EQ6 Pro and bought an alt az mounted CPC925GPS because of the weight and time to set up the EQ6 Pro and put it away again. The CPC925 is far easier in that respect and I also realised I was unlikely to get into deep sky astro imaging and an alt az is perfectly adequate for planetary imaging and observation. I also find the Celestron goto alignment process far easier than Skywatcher's: just choose 3 bright stars (including any planets on view or the moon) and the Nexstar system does it all for you. The handset is also far more informative of the objects you are looking at. With the Skywatcher, you really need to know which stars you are using for alignment.

Having said all that, the EQ6 Pro is a good solid heavy mount more than capable of supporting a C925, but I think more suited to an observatory or semi-permanent set up. This from one who knows from experience.


Edited by Brinders
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I saw both the HEQ5 and the EQ6 for the first time today at SGL5. the HEQ5 has the same size tripod as the EQ5 but the mount its abit bigger. The EQ6, no other way to explain it other than, HUGE. It looks extremely heavy, but it seems to be what you need to image in any real quality. I have an EQ5, the new white one, and i have taken some photos with it, it is very sturdy, but if there is some strong wind it does move abit. If you can afford it then i would go for the EQ6 pro, a worth while investment. If it doesnt work out for you though, I will give you a tenner for it. :D

Edited by Keiran
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Unless you're no more than 25 years old, and pretty damn well-built and fit, lugging an EQ6 (and the rest) up and down several flights of stairs will become your worst nightmare after the second or third trip out. I live on the ground floor, and it's enough of a pain in the rear for me, although I am now in my forties. Trouble is, I have six or more trips to the car (and back again!) :

1 - Mount head itself : 16+ Kg

2 - Tripod & eyepiece case

3 - Power tank & laptop

4 - Camera bag & tripod

5 - Binos & tripod

6 - Cables & misc case

7 - Scope(s) and multi-mount

As a result, there has to be a fairly solid, reliable (is there such a thing?) forecast of clear weather to get me "in the mood" for a trip out to the moors.

...and I've just had a nasty thought - if you were to lose your footing on the stairs while carrying that mount-head, you'd have a pretty undesirable decision to make in the 0.05 seconds required to avoid disaster; do you save the £700-worth of mount, possibly permanently injuring yourself in the process, or do you preserve your health and drop the mount? Sorry to be such a doom-merchant, but when you've had to move one of these mounts around, you start to appreciate the idea of a permanent setup.

Edited by Takahashi
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If I was living in a Flat, with no Lifts - then I would go for a CG5, the EQ6 Pro is a cracking mount, but for your situation i would go for something a little more portable. Have you thought about buying an APO Scope, you could also get away using a CG5/Vixen Polaris mount, & it will weigh a lot less then the other mounts mentioned.

I don't have a semi permenant/permenant setup, I usually carry all my EQ6 Pro in bits into the Garden, I think with the HEQ5- you might just get away with using a powerpack, but with the EQ6 - you'll end up buying a Leisure Battery, which is another 20-25kg in weight.

Just some thoughts.


Edited by Deneb
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Have to say, the EQ6 sounds a complete non-starter in your situation. I've had the EQ6 and can say with 100% confidence if i had to lug that up and down two flights of stairs it wouldn't get used. And that's before you lug out the C9.25 and all the imaging kit. You maybe be better off looking at a smaller imaging setup consisting of an Apo refractor and Vixen GPDX? The GPDX weighs a fraction of the EQ6 but still has a good load capacity.

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I think the problem starts with the idea of a C9.25. It is not the weight that will be the killer problem but the focal length. The tracking accuracy required is beyond the comfort zone of an EQ5 or 6 even though the 6 will carry the weight. It is not beyond what is possible but it is well beyond what is painless and likely to work without much tinkering and many lost frames. If you are new to getting autoguiding sorted and fine tuned, and to imaging in general, then I would urge you to keep well away from an SCT. You also need a focal reducer and Crayford focuser since f10 and a moving mirror are non starters for imaging. (And at this point I realize that you didn't specify whether you were aiming for planetary or DSOs. If planetary only, then forget my objections to the SCT!)

You often read discussions regarding weight on mounts. It is less of an issue than focal length and tracking accuracy. I use EQ sixes with up to 980mm of focal length and they are fine at that, though not always okay for 'ten minute plus' subs -and they are observatory mounted. I would not worry about a 10 inch SCT with f2 Hyperstar conversion slightly overoading a mount, but at F10 it would be utterly hopeless.

Remember that in DSO imaging a 'light bucket' is a scope with a fast f ratio, not a scope with a big aperture.

My choice for DSO in your situation would be ED80 and HEQ5 GoTo. A demon setup and easy on the staircase!

Go on, tell me, you meant planetary imaging, didn't you?!?!


Edited by ollypenrice
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