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Mount to Mount to Mount....

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#1 MrFiremouth


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 12:33 AM

Hello everyone...
I am curious as to what makes a good mount and why?

The reason is I want to take long exposure images with a CCD and want a motorized mount that will take me to the image and track it. The problem is cost.

The Celestron/Meade mounts look very fancy, but I am told they are mass produced and it would be better to get a better mount. So, when I am looking to buy a scope, I would assume I want just the scope and not a scope/mount combo.

I saw these....

I am assuming the ones marked Gemini GOTO are the ones that will find an object and track it and that the other version tracks after "I" find the target?

Is there other quality mounts available for a reasonable price under $2,ooo USD?

Please list pros and cons and try to explain to me what would be better and why?


#2 Al Canarelli

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:09 AM

The Losmandy GM8 is a fine mount in it's weight class (30 lb payload) but if you are ultra concerned with money (who isn't these days), I think you can do better. One of the best buys in astronomy these days is the Celestron Advanced GT. It is completely GOTO, has the same 30 lb. payload capacity of the GM8, very reliable and is a fantastic buy @ about $550 brand new and complete.

I'm not saying that the Celestron Advanced GT is the best mount for imaging that money will buy...it's not. What I am saying is that it's good enough to do the job and it will save you a lot of bucks in the process. Believe me when I tell you, if you want to do imaging, you will be spending a lot of bucks on stuff you never considered having to buy...a mount and a telescope is JUST the beginning! So stretch your money as best you can now before walking into the "money pit."

#3 Chris Curran

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:50 AM

The term "reasonable price" is never found in a discussion of imaging mounts... :)

#4 Luigi


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:55 AM

What scope(s) do you intend to mount on it? With scopes up to 20 lb (and not too long) many people get excellent results with a CG5ASGT which sells for less than $600. The key is proper setup and autoguiding, no matter which mount you use.

#5 MrFiremouth


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:21 PM

What scope(s) do you intend to mount on it? With scopes up to 20 lb (and not too long) many people get excellent results with a CG5ASGT which sells for less than $600. The key is proper setup and autoguiding, no matter which mount you use.

Ha! This is a whirlwind of confusion that I am still learning. I will start a new thread when I feel like I know the differences and advantages between refractors(short and long) and CST, and DOB's. The budget for the scope will be between $3-$4K. I will be building a shed with an added observatory(with exploradome top)to house the scope. This should all happen by end of next summer.(If economy holds) :)

The shed/observatory will be first, then I will get the scope and Mount. I own a DSLR with multiple lenses and attachments for mounting to scope, and a Meade entry level CCD imager.(Color)

I am in no hurry and want to spend the time until I am ready learning more of the night sky and attending star parties to get some scope hands on experiences with other types of scopes.

I like the idea of the Celestron. I guess the weight issue will finally come down which scope I decide on.

Maybe by next summer there will be some new products(One never knows!)


#6 Jaime Riviere

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:43 PM

Luigi, How would you define "not too long"? I understand this is difficult and the only way to find it is to try but, for example, is a 35' and 11 lbs. refractor too long for a CG5?

Rich: I am not an expert, but maybe the CGEM mount from Celestron is an idea. I guess it has lower QC and mechanics than the GM8 bit you receive a higher load capacity and GOTO, plus other things.


#7 rsbfoto



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Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:43 PM

Hi Rich,

Interesting post this one here.

You have a budget of 3-4K for a telescope (does that include imaging equipment ?)

You have a budget of maybe 3-4K for the Observatory

and only 2K for the mount.

For me that is saddling the horse the wrong way. If you start with a total budget of about 8-10K then I would suggest you get a good mount for a start onto which you can build up the other equipment.

I made the mistake of starting with a small mount a Losmandy G11 with GoTo because I said that time. Oh well I will not grow with my imaging equipment and now I am the victim of my own wrong decision.

In the meantime I do load 66 pounds of equipment on a Losmandy G11 hoping that it works ... OK it works because I have tinkered a lot on the mount, but if I would have known how I would grow, then I woud have got a Losmandy Titan ...

Just my 2 cents ...

#8 Luigi


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Posted 26 May 2009 - 04:24 PM

>>>How would you define "not too long"?<<<

There are no absolutes, but a 20 lb f/12 refractor will wobble more than a 20 lb SCT. There is a wide range in what people consider acceptable as far as mount stability goes.

#9 Chris Rowland

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:04 AM

Hi Rich,

If you haven't done any astro imaging before and are starting from scratch this is what I'd suggest:

Get an ASGT or CGEM mount and an 80mm refractor. Something like the Oynx. Get enough adaptors so you can fit your DSLR to the scope. Get a reticle eyepiece.
Set this up and learn to use it. Then start imaging. This rig should track well enough that you can do 60 sec unguided images.
Learn about astro imaging, including taking images and processing them.

You can get some really good images with this set up.

You can then add things as your interest changes - an 8" or 11" SCT will allow you to use a longer focal length and the Oynx can then be used as a guider.
Or get a dedicated Astro CCD camera.

As you get more experience you will know exactly what you want, your imaging interests will dictate what sort of scope and mount you want.

Hope this helps.


#10 MrFiremouth


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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:32 AM

Hi Chris,
I have the attachments to mount the DSLR to a 1.5"
I also have a CCD imager by Meade. It is a color imager, but is a cheap model.
Tracking is my enemy in all shots i have already taken because I have a standard beginner scope.
Here is a shot through a 25mm eyepiece of the Moon...
Posted Image
with 2x Barlow...
Posted Image
With CCD imager...
Posted Image

Got lots to learn.
Tracking is everything for longer exposures.
CCD imager does not see stars and have not tried DSLR mounted to scope. Digiscoping through eyepiece is difficult due to proper alignment of camera to EP.

The shed is definitely getting done, 8x10' will be storage, and an additonal 8x10' will be the observatory. Working out the roof is the problem. Code requires shed to be built to look like house and flat roofs negate that. If I put a pitched roof like the house, it may obstruct a view.
I could raise the observatory roof and deck to be slightly taller than the shed part.
Code also allows only 1 out building per property, so I have to combine them.

The shed is this years project, the scope upgrades are next years project. However, if overtime kicks in I can amass funds for a used 10"dob to play with quickly out back.

I want to see more scopes and understand more by physically viewing through them and possibly moving them to a target. I am in no hurry on the scope as my Binocs and the 70mm serve me well for stargazing, Moon viewing. Planets? I have not seen much with them through the 70mm, but did see Jupiter and 3 moons early this year as a Large star and 3 pinpoints flanking it. There was 2 on the left and 1 on the right and all star maps said on that day and at that time, it was indeed Jupiter!

I also understand that cropped AP photos and good software and post editing skills can make people think if they use the same scope the pic was taken with they will see that image through the eyepiece. I know the longer exposures tend to show more than our eyes see.

The budgets are forecasted by overtime I usually acquire each season. If the economy holds or improves, I will be able to reach my goals, otherwise I wait a little longer. :)

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