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Old 27-05-2021, 04:54 PM
Alasdair
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A few elementary questions about an equatorial mount

About a year or so I bought a Saxon Hyperion 1201EQ3 scope second hand, mainly as a sort of easier-to-carry alternative to my 10" dobsonian. And in fact I've become very fond of it. But I also haven't used it much, because up until a few months ago I wasn't living in a place which made viewing easy.

Now I've moved to a place with a nice north-facing balcony, and I've enjoyed some fine nights admiring the lunar limb, and of course last night's lunar eclipse. But I've never got used to properly setting or using the equatorial mount: I've sort of basically set the scope up to roughly point in the direction of what I want (mainly the moon; but also Saturn and Jupiter), and used the controls like an inconvenient alt-az mount.

More recently I have learned how set the mount up so that it faces properly south and at the correct angle for Melbourne, but in fact most of my viewing is to the north. What is the best way to manage viewing in the "opposite" direction? Do I just swivel the OTA about on the mount so that it faces north (in which case it sort of juts out to the side, balanced by the counterweights), or would it be as reasonable to set the entire mount up so it faces north to start with?

If somebody could point me in the direction of simple instructions for a clear idiot like me, I'd be very grateful!

Thanks heaps,
Alasdair
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Old 27-05-2021, 05:05 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Alasdair,
Yes, just “swivel” the scope on the mount.
Once set up there should be no need to move the mount on the ground.
Moving the scope is the way to go.
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Old 27-05-2021, 05:36 PM
Alasdair
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Thanks so much, Merlin66. I half-assumed that would be the way to do it, but I have learned that very often my assumptions are dead wrong! I will swivel like a champion.
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Old 28-05-2021, 11:40 AM
astro744
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The idea of having an equatorial mount is so that once aligned with the south celestial pole one only needs to move the RA axis when tracking an object either by hand or motorised. You have a refractor so when looking at something in the north you have to decide if you want your tube to be east of the polar axis or west. I usually decide this such that the counterweights are not higher or going to be higher soon in time than the telescope in a horizontal plane (east-west).

Using a Newtonian reflector introduces problems with the way the eyepiece is pointing. It could be pointing down on one side of the polar axis and up on the other often neither at a convenient angle. My first telescope was (and still is) a 6" f5.5 Newtonian on a Vixen Polaris German Equatorial mount. I understood that the polar axis had to be aligned with the Earth's axis of rotation but all too often it was just more convenient shifting the mount laterally just so the eyepiece was at a convenient angle. If I wasn't worried about tracking then it simply meant using both RA and DEC slow motion knobs to re-center the object just like in Alt-Az. Comfortable viewing was more important than RA only tracking.

If wanting to track with a motor though you have no choice and for a Newtonian then a set of rotating rings is nice (often expensive). Refractors are easier on a fully aligned EQ. You just walk the OTA around the mount when switching from one side to the other (unlock both axis). I use a TV-101 on a GM8 and the best thing about the GM8 is that there are no axis locks so one simply tightens the clutches for a secure fit and then when one wants to change targets one simply moves the telescope around and it stays in the new position.

Last edited by astro744; 28-05-2021 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Corrected misleading typo.
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Old 28-05-2021, 12:43 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Have a look at this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7HVDKAZ6eM
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