Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)
t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Alt/Az Experience needed...
      #4461396 - 03/20/11 08:59 AM

Looking at getting my first alt/az for grab and go simplicity. I've always had GEMs and love the tracking and clock drive ability. At what magnification would you say "pushing" an alt/az becomes bothersome for planetary viewing? One respected CNer here says he can't enjoy alt/az at all and prefers GEMs for all viewing. I'm just trying to loose the dead weight if I can and use my refractor more on weeknights and quick looks...I'm looking at the quarter hitch and gibraltar as options. Any advice on using an alt/az would be appreciated...can it be done for planetary and even binoviewing or is it folly?

Edited by t.r. (03/20/11 09:00 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4461450 - 03/20/11 09:29 AM

I find alt-az perfectly useable on the Solar System at powers up to and over 300x. Wide apparent field eyepieces help, and it's probably best to have a drive for really critical work, but I've seen plenty of cool stuff with various alt-az mounts and Dobsonians. This assumes the mount has smooth motions, of course.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
skybsd
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4461473 - 03/20/11 09:40 AM

Hi,
I've been through a similar quandry myself last year in looking for an airline portable, travel mount.

Do you have a budget in mind?
How far is the "go" in your grab 'n go intentions?
Which refractors do intend on using with your intended Alt-Az mount?
Do you have any experience tracking by hand?

My requirements were resolved in my getting the SV-M2 and my favourite, the fully tricked out UA UniStar Deluxe + DSC.

My search is still not complete, though The only downside to these systems is the lack of slow-motion controls - for tracking, albeit manual. Don't get me wrong, lots of people seem to like "pushing" the scope along by hand - personally that gets old after a couple of hours.

Like I said, its just me. After trying out slow-motion controls on a friend's vixen GP GEM, I'm convinced that getting this in an Alt-Az system will solve the last piece of the puzzle for me- but your own experience may differ..,

Best wishes..,

Regards,

skybsd


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: skybsd]
      #4461485 - 03/20/11 09:46 AM

I did have a Super Polaris mount that I drove by hand for many years chasing planets across the sky,but never an alt/az...over,up,over,up,over...

No budget, "go" to the back yard.

I'm mounting my AP130Gt on this, 18# loaded. I'm wondering if slow-motion controls are a necessity on alt/az mounts for any chance of chasing planets successfully?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4461639 - 03/20/11 11:12 AM

Hi tr:

Personally, I find that 200x or so is where it starts to get annoying for me with a slo-mo alt-az mount. But it depends to a degree on your EP. 100° AFOV at 200x gives you a lot more drift time than 50° AFOV at the same mag.

Just curious though - since everyone's definition of grab and go is different (see endless threads on this topic ), can you describe a little more about your grab and go scenario and what defines it for you? Since you say you love tracking, maybe there's a goto alt/az mount that will fill your need.

-Dan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
skybsd
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4461857 - 03/20/11 12:50 PM

Hi,
Good to hear from you..,

Quote:

I did have a Super Polaris mount that I drove by hand for many years chasing planets across the sky,but never an alt/az...over,up,over,up,over...





Ahh - cool, that's important experience to have, really,


Quote:

No budget, "go" to the back yard.





Understood - pretty straight-forward then


Quote:

I'm mounting my AP130Gt on this, 18# loaded. I'm wondering if slow-motion controls are a necessity on alt/az mounts for any chance of chasing planets successfully?




Indeed - as I'm mainly focused on DSO, its quite useful to me - and I can't comment for planetary usage.

At that payload, I'd tend to prefer reflex-arm type alt-az mounts - like the UniStar, HH / QH, and T-Rex mounts. If you're already tending towards the "hitch" mount, I'd advise you give the owner there a call to discuss whether or not he'd recommended the half, rather than the quarter hitch mount.

Outside of the reflex-arm mounts, you're really better off talking to Tom at Discmount - for a AP130GT, I'd want to make sure there's little chance of tipping over.

Have you thought of what tripod you're likely to use? The tripod is often the neglected part of the equation, and is actually important to get right, too

Regards,

skybsd


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Nippon
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/22/09

Loc: Central Florida
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: skybsd]
      #4462007 - 03/20/11 01:47 PM

I have a Tele Vue Alt Az and a AT Voyager for my TV 85. The Voyager has slow motions and the Tele Vue is push to. I actually prefer the Tele Vue due to its lack of slow motions. It is just easier to grab the scope or handle and move it for me. Either mount works fine up to 200 or so with the 85. The thing I really like about the Alt Az over a GEM, which I also have, is the convenient position of the eyepiece and finder regardless of what part of the sky I want to look at. I got the chance to play with a Tak 120 on a DiscMount DM 4 and was impressed. If I could swing it money wise I would go with one of the DiscMounts.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4462040 - 03/20/11 01:57 PM

Quote:

I'm mounting my AP130Gt on this, 18# loaded.




That is getting to be a pretty big scope for a grab and go alt-az rig. It's not going to be "a leave it mounted and haul it out the back door and be ready in a minute" rig.

But in any event, as Rod says, 300x on the planets is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. With larger scopes, one can go much further depending on the mount and target. For refractors I like mounts like the Vixen Portamount that allow me to point and shoot dob style but also provide slo-mo controls for tracking at high magnifications.

But it really depends on you and your particular situation. If you are in a place where the seeing is normally stable so you are not waiting for that one moment during the night when everything comes together, then manual tracking makes sense.

jon


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bill Barlow
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/03/07

Loc: Overland Park KS
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4462486 - 03/20/11 05:27 PM

I've had very good results with Universal Astronomics' Unistar altaz mounts on UA aluminum surveyor tripods. One setup that is very portable and will work well with a C6 or a 3-4" refractor is the Unistar light mount on the light surveyor tripod. This setup only weighs about 12 pounds.

I use UA's heavier Unistar Deluxe with a 7" duel clamping saddle with my C11. This mount head is attached to a Meade field tripod. This setup weighs about 28 pounds. I also have pan handles installed to make the push-pull motions easier so that I don't have to touch the scope. With altaz mounts, proper balance is the key to having smooth motions. I can use 200-300 magnifications fairly easily on these mounts.

Bill


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #4462522 - 03/20/11 05:46 PM

Quote:

Hi tr:

Just curious though - since everyone's definition of grab and go is different (see endless threads on this topic ), can you describe a little more about your grab and go scenario and what defines it for you? Since you say you love tracking, maybe there's a goto alt/az mount that will fill your need.

-Dan




For me, it is trying to get a 5" refractor and its mount out the door in one trip! Right now, I have a C6 on a EQ3 and use this scope most often, as it is one trip out the door. I want to be able to use the fantastic Ap130 more, but it is no small feat to get it out and working on a light weight mount for the type of observing I primarily do, planetary. The Mach is great, but it is a weekend only venture...just need something light and easy to use, but steady enough to "push it" to track a planet at 200x! I feel the Gibraltar 5 may do this, but I don't no if I'd be disappointed with "pushing" to follow a planet with it!?!?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
edl
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/24/04

Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4463038 - 03/20/11 09:47 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

I have the Quarterhitch and absolutely love it. My Edge8 HD and 105/650 APO ride on it effortlessly, and its my first choice for solar viewing too. I'd certainly recommend checking the new half hitch models to anybody wanting an alt-az mounting system. Not inexpensive, but worth it in my opinion.

Best,
Ed L.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Waduino
sage


Reged: 10/24/08

Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: edl]
      #4464645 - 03/21/11 05:11 PM

T-Rex is another possibility, although I have never seen or tried one myself. It looks like it could handle the 130 without breaking a sweat.
I'm not so sure about grabbing this setup in one go though. Might be a bit of a handfull.
Wad.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Lt 26
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/19/09

Loc: Northwest Illinois
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Waduino]
      #4465340 - 03/21/11 10:59 PM

I think the Gibraltar 5 would work for your scope. The Ash tripod is harder and one pound heavier than the Walnut. The 5 head is very smooth and I use mine with no or very little tension. A good set of rings is a must over the TV clamshell. I also use the DM 18" straight handle to drive it. Settle time is about one and a half seconds or less, I know sounds crazy. I too think slow motion controls would get in the way here.

I use mine at 175x with a 4" scope and find it smooth and easy to track. I keep the tripod, mount, handle, rings, eyepiece caddy and starbeam all set up. Open rings, add scope, view.

Dereck


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Lt 26]
      #4465770 - 03/22/11 08:06 AM

Thanks Dereck, thats what I needed. Can you go higher to around 200x and still track a planet comfortably? Can you leave the scope mounted and carry the whole shebang out the door in one trip? Also, can you expand on the slo-mos getting in the way...

Edited by t.r. (03/22/11 09:29 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Lt 26
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/19/09

Loc: Northwest Illinois
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4465906 - 03/22/11 09:49 AM

t.r., if I had wider doors or a Patio sliding door I could. The movement of the scope on the head is smooth, effortless, and vibration free that with T6,s or Ethos give me long views without moving the scope much. If I recall Jupiter drifted through the E6 at 146x in around 90 seconds, without one nudge.

The Gibraltar is a simple design that just happens to work very well. I stay at 200x or under, my skies boil.

Dereck


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dscarpa
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/15/08

Loc: San Diego Ca.
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4465999 - 03/22/11 10:41 AM

I have my C9.25 on a Giro 2, my IM715 mak on a WO EZ, and swap my WO ZS110 and Lunt 60 between a Voyager and SW AZ4. I've tracked up to 370X with the C9.25 and 350X with the mak. I don't find tracking at these powers hard if the scope is balanced and the axis tension dialed in. I use 100, 82 and 70 degree eyepieces. I enjoy using the slomo on the Voyager but don't think it has a advantage over my no slomo mounts. The Giro and Voyager are not sensitive to being level which is a big advantage. David

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dtsmith
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 03/22/06

Loc: Lafayette, IN
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: dscarpa]
      #4466517 - 03/22/11 02:32 PM

How does the size and weight of the AP130 compare to the NP127?

I've had my NP101 on the standard Gibraltar and a DM6. For tracking, I had no issues with the Gibraltar, however I found focusing to be a bit of a guessing game at around 200x due to shaking. While I'm a bit over-mounted on the DM6, there is no issue with focusing,tracking or switching eyepieces. I will say that the DM is not really grab and go - it's heavy and the scope can/will turn easily as you're moving it. It's OK if you're going 10 - 20 ft, but I find that it's best to make two trips for set-up/tear-down. The Gibraltar is smaller, lighter, easier to break down for storage and transport, but I'm not sure how well it will handle a larger scope at high magnifications.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
timmbottoni
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/25/05

Loc: W Chicago suburbs, IL USA
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: dtsmith]
      #4466576 - 03/22/11 02:56 PM

I use a C8 and a WO 80mm on opposite sides of the original style WO EZ Touch. I manually push the scopes and can track at 250X on the C8 easily. I have tried higher, using a 4mm UWAN which is 508X but that is too hard. 300X is manageable but takes some getting used to.

TImm


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mike E.
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/26/10

Loc: Moonstone Observatory
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: timmbottoni]
      #4466664 - 03/22/11 03:32 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

I have a Half/Hitch Mount. It is a fine piece of engineering.

Charles is currently making the "Super Half/Hitch" which is designed for larger scopes.

Check out the website at: http://www.halfhitchtelescope.com
Also check out their forum on the yahoo site. (Half hitch telescope users)

Here's the Half/Hitch with an Intes-Micro 5" Mak.
.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tonyt
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/02/09

Loc: Australia
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Mike E.]
      #4467073 - 03/22/11 06:25 PM

While planetary observing can be done with alt/az, it's better with slo/mo controls and better again with a driven mount. Each observer needs to figure out what they're prepared to trade off for portability.

I keep a cheap mount sitting on the back verandah to allow for quick/convenient set-up. If you're able to do this maybe a used EQ5/Skyview pro would suit?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)


Extra information
22 registered and 27 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Dave M, richard7, bilgebay, iceblaze 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 4059

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics