A.P. Mach 1 GTO: First Impressions.
Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:22 PM
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.
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.
Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:26 PM
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.
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
Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:20 PM
Enjoy the mount! (and scope!)
Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:28 PM