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A new tripod for a world of difference

2 July 2009

Celestron CG5 Mount

Posts have been few and far between lately due to being extremely busy with study (adult university distance courses take up a lot of time!), work and other things.

Over the weekend I managed to win an eBay auction for a telescope mount and tripod that I realised I’ve needed for some time: a Celestron CG5 equatorial mount on a “bomb-proof” tripod. It’s essentially what you see to the left, but without the computer and automatic tracking motor.

This became necessary because the motorised mount that came with my telescope is clearly not up to the task of reliably tracking objects — even after deciphering the instructions, carefully levelling the mount base and zeroing the unit, the drift is quite noticeable and requires regular, fiddly adjustment — and astrophotography requires either a fully-computerised AltAz mount that can track an object with pinpoint accuracy, or any level of equatorial mount. Trying to finely-adjust a motor-controlled AltAz mount to track an object is like using an Etch-A-Sketch: bearable for visual viewing, but astrophotography is out of the question. Even a cheap equatorial can track an object easily, providing the gears don’t have too much play in them and the unit is correctly configured.

A barn door mount for a camera would have done the trick, too, but I want to reap the benefits of an equatorial mount via the telescope’s eyepiece, too.

So today I have taken delivery of what appears to be 2/3 of the new mount and tripod assembly, with the joys of eBay meaning multiple packages. It’s definitely a solid, sturdy unit and I can see why the seller stated the need for something “lighter and more portable” — you wouldn’t want to carry this around to your local astronomy society’s evenings.

So once I’ve received all the parts and had a chance to test it out, I’ll post back with some pictures for your stargazing delight…

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