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A.P. Mach 1 GTO: First Impressions.

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#1 Cotts


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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:22 PM

Sorry, folks, no pics as I only have my iPad here at Okie-Tex. I can't dump the pics in my camera but I will do so when I get home to my iMac.

I picked up the mount on Wednesday, Sept 5 from the AP location in Rockford Illinois. George spent the better part of an hour with me giving me every tip and piece of advice he could think of. My hand controller was already set with the date and time! Nice service.

I arrived at Okie Tex on Saturday morning and was set up, ready to go shortly thereafter. Everything just as shiny- new as can be! I did a 'daytime polar alignment' as per the manual and got pretty close - close enoght to do some solar viewing.

Saturday night was clear so a proper polar alignment using the polar scope (I'm using my old Losmandy polar scope with an adapter from AP to fit the GTO) was performed and then a couple of iterative corrections ('two star polar alignment' as per the manual) got me pretty much right on the pole. This routine, along with the date, time, lat and long, got me up and go-to-ing for both Saturday and Sunday nights. Accuracy of the go-to was to always hit the center 50% circle of a 17mm Ethos in the 1200 mm f.l. Refractor. I did a 're-start from park' on Sunday morning and found Jupiter, Venus, the moon and the sun with no difficulty.

I would like feed back on this: it has been moderately windy here (10-20mph) and the scope shakes quite a bit. Should these sorts of wind speeds cause vibration with this mount and a 6" refractor? Your experiences would be appreciated.

I took a couple of photos at 1200mm and the 2- minute exposures showed round stars..... The polar alignment routines are good! All in all an excellent upgrade for me.


#2 RAKing


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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:08 PM


Congrats on your mount and it sounds like you are doing well.

For visual observing, you went "above and beyond" what I normally do for polar alignment and my Gotos always land in the FOV of my eyepiece.

You didn't mention your pier or tripod arrangement, but I can see some shakes with my 6 incher in wind speeds like yours, especially if they are gusty. Our gear isn't exactly streamlined and a 6 inch refractor (especially a triplet) has a rather long moment arm, so a good gust can cause a bit of turbulance. As a general rule, I use one of my shorter cats (SCT/MCT) when it's windy outside, plus I deliberately shift the OTA in the saddle so it's off-balance a little. The Mach1 is very forgiving about this and I've found it helps keep things quiet.



#3 Cotts


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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:26 PM

Ron, my tripod is the Losmandy HD with a height extension. I will have it on a concrete pier at home in my backyard soon. The HD will be my Star Party tripod.

Also, I'm going to try some imaging but for that I plan to start out with my William Optic 80mm Fluorite APO along with the WO 66 mm doublet achromatic for a guide scope. It seems to me that Astrophotography problems increase with focal length of the lens so the smaller scope is the way to go for now. This combination will pose little difficulty for the Mach1.


#4 Peter in Reno

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:16 PM

I have no issues imaging at 2000mm focal length with my Mach1GTO. This was taken last two weekends with C-8 EdgeHD using OAG and Lodestar. The sub-exposures are 15 minutes with Ha and Oiii filters.

Higher resolution Bubble Nebula


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#5 CounterWeight



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Posted 11 September 2012 - 04:13 PM

Again congrat's on the mount and hope you and everyone else continue to have a great time at the star party :)

#6 rockethead26



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Posted 11 September 2012 - 04:29 PM

Sounds great, Dave. Looking forward to the pics.

#7 gillmj24



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Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:20 PM

Dave if you want to email them to me I can post them because I switched to a Droid phone ;)

Enjoy the mount! (and scope!)

#8 Starhawk


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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:28 PM

Using the AP Eagle pier, I haven't seen gusts in the image. It's very stout and very secure. I expect you'll find no issue whatsoever on your concrete pier back home. You may want to think about one of the AP portable piers for portable use.


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