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Thread: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

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    Default Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.



    Hi all, I've now set up SV70T on my AVX with StarSense and have gone back to my old system of leaving it outside with a Astrogizmos 24/7 cover. This set up just lets me remove the cover and in many situations, go back to the old alignment from the night before and start observing/imaging right away, assuming no clouds of course. Also, the whole set up can be lifted and carried back in (for now, albeit awkwardly) in case there's too much wind. I do have a balancing problem and question but I'll get to that after my mount question (see below).

    The problem is that I was planning on using my solar scope on the AVX as well and switching OTAs appears to be a bit cumbersome (I have to remove the StarSense connectors and I'm always anxious about things with cables). So I was planning on getting a separate mount only for the solar telescope. My choices are:

    Coronado EQS mount with a RA motor for $200 - this is designed for up to the 60mm scope, and it doesn't have too many reviews. It has only sidereal tracking speeds but not a solar tracking mode and there are very few reviews about it. I'm concerned about the aluminum tripod too - it looks a bit flimsy. Does anyone own one of these and used it with the SolarMax scopes and gotten good results (i.e., no shaking, be able to take movies of the sun for a few minutes without shaking)?

    Meade Polaris 90mm Refractor Telescope with Polaris RA Motor Drive for $250 or less - this comes with the 90mm refractor that I don't need but the tripod is made of steel and looks more sturdy and the description for the sidereal tracking motor drive says that it has a "variable speed adjustment" that lets you track the sun, moon, planets, etc. So this seems like a better option and seems robust.

    CG4 mount that comes with the XLT series of scopes - this starts to get pricier. Similarly Orion has the SkyView Pro mount that can be outfitted with dual axis motors. I think this works out to about $450 and of these two options, the Advanced CG4 may be the better option. This seems like overkill for just tracking the sun.

    --

    As an aside, my SV70T doesn't balance properly on the optical tube axis once the diagonal and eyepiece are in place, even though I've moved the scope as far as I can up above the mount and have both holding screws in place. I've ordered the riser blocks Stellvarue sells that lift the OTA a couple of inches and has a longer dovetail, but apparently those will take another couple of weeks to arrive. I'm thinking of ordering the ADM counterweight kit which should ship faster, but in the meantime, is it okay to use my scope so I can get some first light in (assuming the clouds clear) - it would probably be only for a couple of uses I believe. I could tape something heavy to the other end of the OTA I suppose...

    --

    Any thoughts on how I can solve both these problems? Thanks!

    --Ram
    Tubes: Celestron 9.25" 235mm f/10 XLT EdgeHD SCT; Meade ETX 80mm f/5 achromat; Coronado SolarMax II 60mm f/6.6 Hα <0.7Å BF10 solar; Stellarvue 70mm f/6 triplet apochromat; Obsession UC18 457mm f/4.2 with Argo Navis & ServoCAT; Takahashi FS128 5" f/8.1 and FC100DF 4" f/7.4 fluorite doublet apochromats. Mounts: AVX; LXD75; Paramount MyT. Eyepieces: 2" Tele Vue Ethos 4.7/13/21mm, Paracorr, 2,4x Powermate; Stellarvue 0.8x, Takahashi 0.7x, 0.66x reducer/corrector. Cameras: ZWO ASI120MC-S; Lodestar X2c; X2m; Canon T7i; QHY163M; QHY247C. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3 and S2.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    A CG4 and single axis drive would be so useful in many ways and would definitely work very well for you (love mine).

    The Meade mount is probably sturdy enough, but it is not easily aligned. If observing at home, you can align the mount and mark the position of the legs for a quick alignment reference. My driveway has three little white spots painted on it, set the mount down there and I have a good rough alignment for visual observation.

    But I would probably get a used SLT mount (sold on ebay at the time) which will work with many small scopes. The mount is quite sturdy, the goto is accurate, and the tracking is smooth and quiet. I got mine for about $120 and it carries the AR102 or 6"SCT with no problems. Makes for a great grab and go mount.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    Actually, the cheapest Meade Polaris scope I can get is the 70mm refractor for $150, and the motor drive can be purchased separately for $40. So it's even cheaper than the Coronado EQS mount and I get a 70mm refractor, 3 eyepieces, a finder which I could sell or give away I guess. But this seems like a better option because of the variable speed adjustment in the RA drive that lets you adjust the sidereal speed to have it track the sun and the planets, and also this is the same mount that is used for their 130mm reflector, so I assume it must be stable enough for these.

    Solving the balancing problem for the SV70T is almost as expensive ($110 for the riser blocks, $80 for the ADM counterweights) though presumably I don't need both.

    --Ram
    Tubes: Celestron 9.25" 235mm f/10 XLT EdgeHD SCT; Meade ETX 80mm f/5 achromat; Coronado SolarMax II 60mm f/6.6 Hα <0.7Å BF10 solar; Stellarvue 70mm f/6 triplet apochromat; Obsession UC18 457mm f/4.2 with Argo Navis & ServoCAT; Takahashi FS128 5" f/8.1 and FC100DF 4" f/7.4 fluorite doublet apochromats. Mounts: AVX; LXD75; Paramount MyT. Eyepieces: 2" Tele Vue Ethos 4.7/13/21mm, Paracorr, 2,4x Powermate; Stellarvue 0.8x, Takahashi 0.7x, 0.66x reducer/corrector. Cameras: ZWO ASI120MC-S; Lodestar X2c; X2m; Canon T7i; QHY163M; QHY247C. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3 and S2.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    I buy iOptron cube packages regularly as local Craigslist and Kijiji items. The earlier ones had flimsier aluminium tripods, but the heavier stainless steel tripod has been around now for four or five years. I have used them on outreach scopes for many years with great satisfaction. The above mentioned SLT and Nexstar mounts are also good, but they are larger and have the unique "Celestron left handed arm" design, so you need to use your scope at a weird angle, or re-jig the mount.

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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    Ozman13, thanks for your response. The SLT is an alt-az mount right? I need to be able to track the sun with the SolarMax. I used it with my AVX with only a guess polar alignment (pointed it towards where I thought north would be, the lattitude scope was the same as before, when it was polar aligned with polemaster) and it was good enough to track the sun for several hours within a very small sensor. I was able to get my first movies of the sun and I'm looking for something that'll give me that capability but dedicated only for the solarscope.

    I agree the CG4 option seems like the most versatile for other OTAs planned for the future but the options I've seen cost at least $400, more than twice that of the other two options.

    --Ram
    Tubes: Celestron 9.25" 235mm f/10 XLT EdgeHD SCT; Meade ETX 80mm f/5 achromat; Coronado SolarMax II 60mm f/6.6 Hα <0.7Å BF10 solar; Stellarvue 70mm f/6 triplet apochromat; Obsession UC18 457mm f/4.2 with Argo Navis & ServoCAT; Takahashi FS128 5" f/8.1 and FC100DF 4" f/7.4 fluorite doublet apochromats. Mounts: AVX; LXD75; Paramount MyT. Eyepieces: 2" Tele Vue Ethos 4.7/13/21mm, Paracorr, 2,4x Powermate; Stellarvue 0.8x, Takahashi 0.7x, 0.66x reducer/corrector. Cameras: ZWO ASI120MC-S; Lodestar X2c; X2m; Canon T7i; QHY163M; QHY247C. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3 and S2.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    The variable speed adjustment is really not needed. It would take a significant amount of time for a solar system object to drift out of the EP because of it's difference from sidereal time. It's much more likely to drift out of view because of alignment. Small adjustments will be needed over time regardless. I have many mounts and have never found any need at all to change to solar or lunar tracking, regular sidereal will track them just fine.

    For less than the cost of the cheap Polaris scope you can get the used SLT goto mount that is sturdier than the Polaris mount and it's goto. I believe the Polaris mount does not accept a Vixen dovetail. If I am correct about that (I'm just not sure on that one) then you will also need an adapter to attach any other scope to the mount.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ramdom View Post
    The SLT is an alt-az mount right? I need to be able to track the sun with the SolarMax.

    --Ram
    The SLT is an alt/az mount and will easily track the sun with your 60mm SolarMax.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    Hi OzMan, thanks for the suggestion about the SLT. Are you saying the Alt-Az tracking is enough for imaging the sun for several minutes, or is there a wedge that could be used with the SLT that could make it have equatorial operation? I'm more comfortable with equatorial mounts than Alt-Az ones for some reason and if it had a wedge I could imagine that would be a great solution (allows for computerised control and behaves like an eq mount when needed). The iOptron cubes also seem to be of this type but they're more expensive and their payload isn't as high (even though sometimes their pictures show two OTAs - my SV70T is already exceeding 10 lbs with the diagonal, focal reducer, and a camera).

    The Polaris does appear to accept a Vixen style dovetail.

    Thanks for giving me additional choices to think about...

    --Ram
    Tubes: Celestron 9.25" 235mm f/10 XLT EdgeHD SCT; Meade ETX 80mm f/5 achromat; Coronado SolarMax II 60mm f/6.6 Hα <0.7Å BF10 solar; Stellarvue 70mm f/6 triplet apochromat; Obsession UC18 457mm f/4.2 with Argo Navis & ServoCAT; Takahashi FS128 5" f/8.1 and FC100DF 4" f/7.4 fluorite doublet apochromats. Mounts: AVX; LXD75; Paramount MyT. Eyepieces: 2" Tele Vue Ethos 4.7/13/21mm, Paracorr, 2,4x Powermate; Stellarvue 0.8x, Takahashi 0.7x, 0.66x reducer/corrector. Cameras: ZWO ASI120MC-S; Lodestar X2c; X2m; Canon T7i; QHY163M; QHY247C. Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, 3nm O3 and S2.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    There is no wedge that I am aware of for the SLT, but field rotation will not be a problem unless your single exposure time is several minutes using a short focal length instrument. An alt/az mount also works great for planetary imaging.
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    Default Re: Mount for tracking the sun: EQS, Polaris, CG4, or what? Also balancing question.

    I have the SV70T and the AVX mount as well plus an Orion guide scope (60mm). I get ideal balance on the RA axis but the declination does seem to not balance well. I can't move the OTA forward enough to counter. You didn't mention where your balance issues were but I assume it is the same place as mine.

    However, having said all of this, I think the RA is more important and I've been getting 10min exposures without issue. More experienced people may have better advice but I haven't thought about buying other equipment as things are working great.
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