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Choosing a mount for astronomy

Getting started on amateur astronomy can be confusing sometimes as there is so much diffent types of gear available. In this article we will discuss different mount types for telescopes and DSLR cameras to help you decide which type of mount suits your needs.

As we all know objects in the sky move relative to the observer on the surface of the Earth as our planet rotates. To compensate this most mounts are equipped with tracking motors to keep objects in the field of view. If you are looking to get started on visual astronomy an Alt-Az mount, even unmotorized one, can be a good option to start with. For example a dobsonian mount is the most bare-bone version of this type of mount.

Sky-Watcher 200P

Advantage for such setup is simplicity, there is no need for any configuration and its easiest way to get observing. However this kind of setup has it’s drawbacks though as the objects you’re looking at will drift out of the view in a matter of minutes at low powers. With high magnification, commonly used to view planets or the crates of moon, your subject can stay in the eyepiece only 10 seconds before drifting out!

So how can we compensate for this? The answer is to use a mount that can track objects throughout the night. We offer a wide variety of Alt-Az mounts for different size telescopes. Advanced models are also equipped with Go-To functionality that will find your desired targets for you. These mounts are a great choice for visual astronomy and solar system imaging!

Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 AZ GO2 WiFi Maksutov Cassegrain

If you’re looking to get into ever growing community of deep-space astrophotographers an Alt-Az mount is not a suitable choice. Instead you should look into equatorial mounts. They vary in size from small star trackers intended for DSLR astrophotography to observatory class mounts that can handle large telescope systems.

The working principle of equatorial mount is almost the same as in Alt-Az mount but the mount itself has a wedge that tilts the mount at an adjustable angle. Once this angle is parallel to Earth’s rotational axis the mount can track for hours without any adjusting. This procedure is called polar alignment and almost every equatorial mount has a polarscope to help you align the mount. We also offer tools like QHY Polemaster to help you get better and faster polar alignment with ease.

iOptron GEM28

This type of mount also compensates for field rotation that becomes visible when tracking objects for a long time, enabling you to capture stunning images of galaxies and nebulae without hassle. If you’re looking to save some weight on your telescope setup have a look at our harmonic drive mounts as well. They can handle impressive payloads without counterweights.

Alt-Az Mounts:

Dobsonian telescopes:

Star trackers:

Equatorial mounts:

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