Thank you all so far for replying and feel free to continue doing so. Seems there is great discussion happening. I have read every single reply but if I replied to everyone, I fear I'd be at risk of spamming the forums. That's a good thing, though. Means that hopefully this thread will be useful for others in the future, too, like it is for me! There are a couple of comments I'd like to address, if it is okay::
Jon Isaacs wrote:
As a note, your current EQ mount can also be used as an ALT-AZ mount. Instead of aligning the RA axis with Polaris, you point it straight up at the Zenith.
Jon, this is very true! You are, much more-than-likely, the person on CN with the most experience with the kind of mount and scope that I have, judging from what I've read in my time here so far. It is a very sturdy mount and tripod, indeed!
That said, would you, or anyone, know if there are other scopes, *fast or slow*, that will fit into this mount's clam-shell? Or if not, is there a way to easily get other scopes into it? I ask because it would actually save quite a bit of money if I could just find an OTA instead of an OTA+Mount/tripod, you see! And everyone likes saving money!
Here is a picture of my scope and mount/tripod, for reference:
Granted, it would not save much in the way of weight since the mount is quite well-made, of course. But if I knew of an OTA or possibly OTA that comes with EPs that would fit into my current setup, it would definitely open up the field of options while still being able to use the super sturdy mount I have, currently! I think I recall someone once saying that, even though it's an 80mm scope, that they tube itself is not a standard tube size for 80mm???
When you get to the end of an arc, you can move a star from the bottom or top of the field to the opposite side, then sweep back in the other direction. You get perfect coverage of the sky.
That's a really good idea! One I had never thought of, before. I'll be applying that in the future for sure.
Another point I've found important to me over the years is to have "enough" mount.
This is definitely a fear, of sorts, that I have. If I *did* go for a light-weight EQ-1, just for budget purposes, like the ST80-A comes with, I'm worried of its ability. It's also part of the reason I've been considering the 70mm Vixen that comes with either the Mini Portamount. It can also be bought with the regular Portamount II, but, at nearly $100 more. =\
Okay, so thank you all once again! I've already book-marked this thread as it is and will be of great value for me. Please do keep discussing, should you feel inclined to do so!
With great thanks,