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  #21  
Old 10-04-2014, 12:43 AM
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Joshua Bunn (Joshua)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrB View Post
Probably quality. The SmartEQ's seem to be a bit hit and miss in that regard, and some reviews I've read say they need some work and fine tuning to get them working their best, which I was quite happy to do.
The tripod that comes with them, and with the Sky Tracker package in your link, is apparently only good for filling your rubbish bin.
There are a few informative threads on CN and SGL if you're needing more info.
I see, I will be picking up my Sky Tracker tomorrow, so ill see how it goes. I do have my own tripod for it.

thanks
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  #22  
Old 10-04-2014, 04:09 AM
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skysurfer
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Well after some looking at reviews it looks attractive.

I read the user manual :
http://www.astrotrac.com/media/Astro...%20-%20Web.pdf

My SP mount weighs 4kg and this mount only 1kg (plus about 0.5kg of the Manfrotto tripod head I already have, which saves 2.5 kg in my air travel luggage. But how should I mount the Televue Genesis on the Astrotrac ??

And isn't the $220 polar scope a Requirement ?
I see some sketches of the sky in the user manual with the surroundings of both poles (resp Crux+Achernar and Ursa Major+Cassiopeia). Is there a reticle supplied ?

The 20 years old SP mount with polar finder is very accurate: point the +7 star BQ Oct (not Sigma Oct !) in the center of the polar scope and voilą ready to track at least 5 minutes per frame with the Genesis.
So only the 2.5kg luggage gain is a reason to buy it.
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  #23  
Old 10-04-2014, 08:57 AM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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I don't have experience with other trackers, but I can assure you the Astrotrac is an absolute gem. For months I hadn't realised I had the tangent arm the wrong way around (I blame the manual!) and even then I was able to get several minutes of sharp stars using wide focal lengths. After correctly setting up and polar aligning the astrotrac I've been able to achieve 5 minutes of perfect tracking using a Canon 200mm lens. I probably could have pushed it even further but didn't try as I was happy with that.

I'm a member of the Astrotrac yahoo forums and have seen people do some crazy things with their astrotracs.. like mounting a C5 SCT on it, 4" refractors, and even a 152mm Takahashi refractor!!! (http://cosmicbug.files.wordpress.com...t320-glee1.jpg).

Personally I think the Canon 400mm f5.6 is perfect for the astrotrac. Decent focal length for dso imaging and with good polar alignment you don't need to autoguide. My 2c.
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2014, 12:38 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skysurfer View Post
But how should I mount the Televue Genesis on the Astrotrac ??
As you have found, fitting a ball head is easy. Mounting a scope is not.
The trackers are designed for camera's, hence the easy attachment of a ball head.
Astrotrac though has accessories available for mounting scopes, ofcourse they increase the overall cost and add weight.
First you would need the Declination head: http://www.astrotrac.com/Default.aspx?p=head
Onto which you can mount dovetail plate adaptor.
An example is this one: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/astr...010-head-.html

I'm not using a dovetail. I have a solid 20mm thick by 50mm wide by 200mm(or 250mm?) long aluminium bar bolted to the head which has various sized holes(some are threaded) that allow me to attach tube rings and ball heads and whatever else I want. I think this is much more rigid than any dovetail.

Quote:
And isn't the $220 polar scope a Requirement ?
For short focal lengths, not really. You can get it close enough by eye and a bit of fiddling.
For longer lengths(scope), yes, you will need it.
However, Roger Groom (rogerg) has an attachment that holds a laser pointer and he uses this to align. This should work out to be a much cheaper alternative.

Quote:
I see some sketches of the sky in the user manual with the surroundings of both poles (resp Crux+Achernar and Ursa Major+Cassiopeia). Is there a reticle supplied ?
What you see in the polar scope is as per the manual.
I have never used the constellations and stars as etched on the screen, I just set the centre (cross point of lines) as close to the correct offset from Sigma as possible. This is usually good enough for 5 to 10 min subs for me.
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  #25  
Old 10-04-2014, 02:36 PM
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Peter Ward
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There are other solutions....I've carted my rig (pictured) from central Australia, to Tennant creek, to Iceland.

All that airline travel really makes you appreciate the lack of counterweights . The relatively recent addition of a carbon fibre tripod also helped.
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  #26  
Old 10-04-2014, 02:55 PM
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MrB (Simon)
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Not biased at all Peter?
Actually, I had looked at the Starlapse system when I was scouting around for a system. Once I factored in the additional expense for the declination axis though, it blew my budget.
Truth be told, the full-kit Astrotrac system I bought blew my budget too, by ~50%, but I got a pier with it too.
The Starlapse was going to blow my budget by more than 100% and I would still need to spend on a very solid tripod or pier.
I will admit it is an impressive system, I just couldn't afford it.
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  #27  
Old 10-04-2014, 03:27 PM
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Peter Ward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrB View Post
Not biased at all Peter?
Actually, I had looked at the Starlapse system when I was scouting around for a system. .......I will admit it is an impressive system, I just couldn't afford it.
Yes.... I probably am biased .

But my needs were more for an eclipse travel rig...hence lightweight/no counterweights and rigidity were top of my "luggability" list.

As a camera-only tracker there are more affordable solutions that clearly will do the job.
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