Guide to Telescope Mounts
Without the right telescope mounts, it's difficult to get the best performance from even the best-rated telescopes. Find mounts that are rigid and sturdy on telescope tripods and piers to prevent any movement of your telescopes. Choose from a range of mount designs and mounting mechanisms.
Telescope Mount Designs
Alt-azimuth mounts allow you to move your telescope in up-down (alt) or left-right (azimuth) movements. These mounts are easy to set up, rugged, and very sturdy, and they're best suited for large aperture telescopes. You place alt-az fork mounts in an inclined plane to tilt the azimuth axis so it's parallel with the polar axis.
Equatorial telescope mounts are made up of mount heads and tripods that allow you to move telescopes on two axes: right ascension (east-west) and declination (north-south). With this mount, you can smoothly follow the stars across a night sky. For long-exposure astrophotography, shop for German equatorial mounts with gears and polar alignment scopes for precise alignment. Remember to also get reliable telescope accessories for mounts, such as counterweight kits and adapter brackets.
Telescope Mounting Mechanisms
Whether you're using an alt-az, equatorial, or fork mount, you need to consider the mounting mechanism, and choose the best one for your needs. A motorized mount allows you to smoothly move your telescope on different axes. In addition, once you find your object, it automatically keeps it in the eyepiece by moving the telescope with a motor. This motor moves the telescope at the same speed as the terrestrial objects moving in the sky. Therefore, you spend more time sky gazing and less time adjusting your telescope.
GoTo telescope mounts help you find terrestrial objects and keep them within your eyepiece with the help of a computer, which is usually a handheld controller. These computerized telescope mounts are easy to use and won't require any special expertise or knowledge. For best performance, shop for telescope computerized accessories such as auto-alignment systems, Wi-Fi modules, GPS accessories, and power adapters.