The Vixen Sphinx Equatorial Mount is their Japanese-made refinement of the classic equatorial mount, and is a truly beautiful design which has quickly proven itself to be extremely popular with customers and well-revered by enthusiast sites and commercial publications.
In creating the Sphinx, Vixen decided that the majority of users want equatorial mounts which are motorized and feature "GO TO" intelligence so they spend their time at the eyepiece instead of hunting around with a red flashlight and star map. You can get these capacities by using a Vixen Great Polaris, GP2, or GPD2 mount and adding the Star Book controller for them, but by making a mount from its inception with this in mind Vixen was able to greatly improve it. They put the movement motors inside the declination shaft, so that there's no cables milling about to tangle and also that the weight of the motor itself acts as a counterweight, improving balance. The Sphinx's counterweight shaft collapses in to the body of the mount for transport.
But beyond elegance and ease of transport, the evolutions within Sphinx made the declination shaft considerably shorter, allowing it to be a better tracker than GP2 and also allowing Sphinx to align to the polar axis for Northern Hemisphere observers at latitudes of up to 70° (instead of 62° max. latitude for GP2/GPD2): the Sphinx is a Canadian, Icelandic, and Scandinavian friend indeed.
But the best feature of all is the 4.7" color LCD controller that's only available with Sphinx-series mounts (optional Star Book on GP2/GPD2 is smaller monochrome). STAR BOOK's displayed star map controls the telescope's slewing speed-push a button to 'zoom in' on an area on the star map, and the mount accordingly slows down its movements. Select anything you like on the map and the telescope immediately centers upon that object. The 22,000-object dropdown menu only lists objects available to be viewed at that time you're viewing, eliminating the frustration of other systems that don't tell you the object is below the horizon until after you've selected it. Sphinx with STAR BOOK lets you spend your time viewing or imaging.
This is the mount itself with counterweight shaft, a single counterweight, and Vixen's HAL130 tripod. Though mounts are actually qualified for a 'moment load' instead of a specified weight (identical-weight scopes of varied dimensions deliver varied loads upon a mount), Vixen Japan claims very conservatively that the Sphinx supports loads of up to 22 lbs (10 kg), and in particular cases of well-balanced scopes it can of course be much more than that. Heavier scopes will benefit from an additional counterweight and the SX Half Pillar accessory is highly recommended for use with longer focal length refractors to facilitate more comfortable viewing. Vixen's Sphinx mounts aren't supplied with a dovetail plate because they are included with every Vixen optical tube assembly; if you wish to mount a third-party telescope, use the Accessory Plate DX.
It should be noted that Sphinx's Star Book luxury comes in something that's a bit of a battery hog; when operated upon the standard "D" batteries, you'll only likely have enough juice for one night of observing. Unless using rechargeable "D" batteries, most take advantage of Vixen's #3599 AC adapter or their #8644 Cigarette Lighter Adapter combined with a Celestron Power Tank.
Note: Dovetail plate not included.
- 180-Tooth worm geared fine motion
- Built-in DC servo motors allow improved motion and reduces need for heavy counterweights
- Star chart's zoom buttons control motor speeds; zooming in makes finer motor speeds, zooming out increases speeds to cover large distances
- Slewing speeds of up to 5° per second
- Retractable counterweight shaft facilitates easier storage and transport
- Employs standard Vixen dovetail bracket for attachment of telescopes
- 4.7", 4096-Color LCD screen (320 x 420 pixels)
- 32-Bit RISC processor(75MHz) with 8MB of SDRAM and 4MB Flash ROM(upgradeable via LAN port)
- STAR BOOK Controller doubles as a stand-alone star atlas
- Controllable by optional aftermarket software
- Simulates vertical/horizontal altazimuth motion control
- Built-in manual movement clutches
- 2-Section HAL130 aluminum tripod (27.6-43.3"/81-130cm)