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Mid-80's Vixen Saturn Mount

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#1 kansas skies

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

This question may be more suited to the section on mounts, but I'm asking here as it is an older mount that someone here in the classic section may be more familiar with. I'm really just wondering if anyone has any information concerning the payload capacity of this mount. I tried to research it on the internet and there doesn't seem to be much out there.

Bill

#2 Ducky62

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:23 AM

Did it come with an ota?

Michael (AaronM) might know. He has a few of these.
There is something interesting in the Japanese history of Vixen mounts that sounds like the Super Polaris was introduced right after a Goto patent expired. The Saturn was Vixen's (relatively) heavy duty mount before that.

#3 kauzuak

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

Were the Sensor and Saturn the same mount? I think this is the sensor mount on p. 10 and 11. sorry, can't help with the japanese.

http://yumarin7.saku...n/Vixen1985.pdf

#4 Ducky62

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:47 PM

The Saturn is bigger than the Sensor

The Vixen Saturn could carry a C-14 according to this site.
It has 4cm shafts and weighs 25 kilos.

harpoint-observatory.com


Here is another link which shows a Meade 14" SCT and an 8" refractor on a Saturn.

#5 Glen A W

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

Really beautiful, but I am surprised I've never seen one in person! GW

#6 kansas skies

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

Ducky62 - The mount is currently setup with a 4" refractor. It's overkill for this scope (although originally part of the package), but then again, it's extremely solid. The mount without counterweights weighs close to fifty pounds and takes considerable effort to setup. I'm really just thinking out loud and wondering how much scope the mount will handle. According to the pictures in your link, it looks very comfortable with a 14" SCT. I don't know how you found those pictures, but they really are good.

I did some more searching and found another LINK that shows the mount on a pedestal. It gives a little more information, but I can't determine the source, so it seems a little vague.

kauzuak - From what I gather, the Sensor mount was somewhere in size between the Polaris and the Saturn.

Bill

#7 Ducky62

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:24 PM


Google "Saturnmontierung" or "Saturn-montierung" search both web and images. Most of them seem to be in Germany* where Tasco distributed a lot of Vixen stuff in the early/mid 1980s. Is the 4" a Vixen scope? What is the focal length? I'd love to see pictures.

*( I didn't try a Japanese language search)

#8 kansas skies

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

Ducky62 - Thanks for the info. The OTA is a Celestron 102mm by 1500mm achromat, which I assume was made by Vixen (it has an APL label). I don't have any good pictures as of now, but I'll try to post something in the near future. It really is a beautiful scope.

Bill

#9 Ducky62

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

Wow! A 4" f/15! :bow:Is it black, white or orange?(I'm guessing white :question:) Does it have a guide scope in addition to the finder?

#10 kansas skies

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

White, and yes - a 60mm Vixen of the same era.

Bill

#11 kauzuak

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:13 PM

wow, that does look like a beefy mount. It must be a pretty rare bird.

#12 kansas skies

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:33 PM

This scope was purchased new by my older brother in the early to mid 80's (I've seen Halley's comet through this scope). He bought the big refractor and I bought a shiny new black Super C8 (which I still regret having to part with). He bought the refractor OTA and the mount, then built an extremely solid (make that very heavy) and very nice looking maple tripod to hold it all. As happens, his interest in astronomy waned somewhat over the years, so the scope began to sit around gathering dust. He mentioned awhile back that he was thinking about letting it go, and I jumped at the chance. I set him up with my Orion Starmax 127 as a down-payment (it's a great scope in its own right) and brought the refractor home.

I assume that the Saturn mount is fairly rare. I would have to imagine that Celestron was selling this short-lived refractor to directly compete with Unitron, and that the Saturn mount was designed specifically for this application. Of course, the era of the long-focus refractors was coming to an end as the fluorite refractors were becoming competitive price-wise. These excellent shorter tube refractors were much more manageable and the Polaris/Super Polaris mount became very popular. The SCT's were all fork-mounted, so I don't think there was much demand at the time for a heavy GEM.

As for solid, I generally brace myself using the tripod when I'm observing and there is absolutely no motion imparted to the scope. Wind doesn't seem to affect it at all. It's as rock-solid as anything I've ever seen. I'm not sure what the whole scope weighs when fully assembled, but it easily exceeds 100 pounds. The downside to all this is that it's definitely not a grab and go scope.

I still have to wonder if there is any literature out there with actual specifications on the mount. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do at this point, but eventually I would like to build a permanent pier for the mount, then adapt other scopes to use the mount as well.

Bill

#13 Littlegreenman

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:50 AM

The Sensor mount was beefier than the Vixen SP-DX and GP-DX mounts. The DX versions of the Super and Great Polaris mounts were rated at about 22 lbs/ 10 kg lbs capacity, the standard version rated at 7kg. I would guess the Sensor at around 28-32 lbs, but it is an educated guess. So the Saturn should be able to carry at least a chunk above that.
I've owned all the above, except the Saturn.
LGM

#14 kansas skies

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

Thanks to all for the help.

Ducky62 - I have to admit that I've never thought about searching the internet in other languages. I've been wearing out Google's translator page for the last day or so and it does look like Germany is a hot spot for Vixen mounts. It's a little difficult since languages don't usually translate well, but with a little work, you can get a pretty good feel for what is being said.

Bill

#15 Ducky62

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

German is easy. I can get the gist without even translating
Try reading machine translations of Japanese! :roflmao:
Many of their sites have text as image which doesn't translate at all and it isn't very easy to separate out the words and phrases in the Japanese characters that you want to use as search terms .There is a lot of interesting and useful information out there in languages other than English.

#16 kansas skies

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:40 PM

Well, I'm going to try to post a few images if I can manage to do so...

This should be the mount.

Bill

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#17 kansas skies

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

And here is the scope...

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#18 kansas skies

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

These are the labels on both scopes...

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#19 kansas skies

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

And these are the knobs that my brother just finished machining to replace the original plastic knobs that cracked. I had to include this picture as they turned out really nice.

Bill

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#20 Ducky62

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

That is a beautifully over-mounted telescope!
Very interesting to see the APL mark on that late a Vixen 'scope too..

#21 kansas skies

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:19 PM

I hope to take advantage of the over-mounted-ness of it all by one day using it to take a few pictures (I still have a ways to go). I have a feeling the sturdiness will come in very handy for that purpose. I also have another refractor (shorter focal length achromat) that also rides nicely on top. When I do get geared up for photography, I will at the very least mount my C8/C90 combo on this mount as well (separate from the refractors). And, I'm sure that a fairly sizeable reflector would be a comfortable fit (with a shorter tripod or pier).

I also wondered about the APL mark. If I remember right, my brother special-ordered this scope through the local Science Center. It's possible that it had sat on a shelf in a warehouse for some time before he bought it. I haven't seen any other examples of this scope around, although I'm sure they exist somewhere. I gather from these links that it might have been sold elsewhere under the Vixen brand. It would be interesting to know when APL ceased to exist.

Bill






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