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Self Guiding Mount?

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#1 RonBednar

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 01:37 AM

Talking with the CFO last night about AP etc and she asked if anyone had ever marketed a mount with a built in guiding system. Seemed like a logical step she thought and I had to admit...yeah...that's a good question.
Has anyone ever made a self guiding mount?

Cheers,
RonB

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 10:05 AM

Well, to guide you have to be able to see a star at reasonable magnification, detect it's position, and adjust the mount's aim based on changes in that position. To do that requires some kind of optics like a small scope or finder, a detector like a CCD camera, and some electronics to control everything.

So, without knowing for sure, I suspect that no one sells a mount with a built-in small scope, camera, and guiding electronics for AP use. The closest thing is the recently available LightSwitch mounts from Meade, and the new SkyProdigy series from Celestron. These do have built in cameras and low power optics, but they are used for auto alignment and short exposure AP, not for guiding. These are alt-az mounts anyway so long exposures are out of the question.

However, there are a couple of self-contained autoguiders on the market now. You still need a guide scope or off-axis guider, but the autoguider is a combination of the sensor and guiding electronics so you don't need a computer in the field for guiding. Here's one from Celestron that got a very good review in the latest Sky & Telescope:
http://www.celestron...D=50&ProdID=648

-Dan

#3 jmiele

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 10:10 AM

IMO the mounts in the upper cost/quality range when properly setup, are already capable of 5,10 or even 15 minute unguided astrophotography subs. Joe

#4 RonBednar

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 01:07 PM

Well I just thought she made a good point...but mounts are only going to get better at tracking. Maybe as time goes by the issue of a separate guiding setup will be moot.

#5 Nasus

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 06:30 PM

Celestron SkyProdigy Series.
Ok - not yet, but I'm pretty shure they'll use&improve this technology to guild a Gem or at least a sth. like the larger Nexstars. Basically Meade recently brought us sth quite similar.

#6 Starhawk

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 08:19 AM

Not as of yet. The closest thing is having a built in autoguider port. I think what is driving this is astrophotographers are a tiny part of the overall market. The nicer scopes seem to be halo products for cheaper beginner scopes which make up the bulk of profits.

-Rich

#7 RonBednar

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:24 PM

AstroTrac GEM with built in guide camera that accepts all the current free and commercial guiding software. With a load capacity of 90lbs. Due this Summer...for mucho bucks!!

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#8 Doug76

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:22 PM

Talking with the CFO last night about AP etc and she asked if anyone had ever marketed a mount with a built in guiding system. Seemed like a logical step she thought and I had to admit...yeah...that's a good question.
Has anyone ever made a self guiding mount?

Cheers,
RonB


In a manner of speaking, yes there is.
It's an add-on available from Explore Scientific, and there are versions for many common mounts.
I'm sure it's not cheap, but it sure seems to work, if one believes their write-up.

http://www.exploresc...opedrivemaster/

#9 RonBednar

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 11:36 PM

Hmm, at $1800 is it a deal? I don't don't have enough experience to say...maybe others will chime in on it.
They did also mention you needed a mount specific adapter but did not say what, if any, cost that is.
Looks interesting for sure though.

RonB

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 01:25 AM

the Telescope Drive Master is not an autoguider.

Rather it's a very high resolution encoder that bolts to the RA axis. The TDM then monitors the rotation of the RA axis and if there are deviations it sends autoguider commands to correct for them.

So.. the TDM doesn't use a guide star (traditional definition of autoguider) but directly measures the rotation speed of the RA axis. The company which makes it claims to reduce PE of a typical mount to +/- 1 arc-second.






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