Mounts and Tripods


The Questar includes an integrated fork mount and 9 Volt battery powered clock drive. I've used a Davis and Sanford Tripod model C/BB with a custom built wedge for the Questar. You can learn how to make the wedge. Here's the Questar taking images of Mars at opposition:

I've used a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer adjustable wedge and Manfrotto tripod with the Questar. This combination makes it easier to make find adjustments and increased the stiffness of the mount. I compare these wedges and tripods along with some sample images in a post in my blog.

I've since switched the Sky=Watcher wedge to use with the Polarie mount and a small refractor. I now use the Questar with an Astrotrac wedge and custom adapter.

Vixen Polarie

In addition to the Questar with its built in fork mount, I also use the a6300 with a Vixen Polarie mount and both wide angle and telephoto lenses. This makes a near a near ideal ultra light weight package for nightscape and time lapse photography. I use the Polarie with either a camera or a small refractor on a classic Tiltall tripod made by Marchioni in New Jersey. The Tiltall is a classic lightweight tripod, but lacks cross braces for the legs making it less stiff with heavy loads like a telescope.

With a small refractor or heavy long focal length lenses, a counterweighted kit allows longer exposures. I use the Polarie with the Davis & Sanford compact C/BB tripod and the small Sky-Watcher wedge. Here it is set up with a William Optics RedCat 250/51mm Petzval Refractor for DSO astrophotography with:

  • Davis & Sanford C/BB compact tripod
  • Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Equatorial Wedge Base
  • Vixen Polarie Star Tracker mount with polar scope
  • Vixen Polarie Multi Mounting Block
  • Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Dec Bracket with optional SVBONY Dovetail Clamp

Vixen Porta II

I like the Manfrotto 046B (also Bogen 3036 or 3236) that I use with the Questar so much, I got a second one to use with the Vixen Porta II alt-az mount for my refractors: the tiny 51mm WO RedCat and the 4" Explore Scientific AR102 shown below.

Sky-Watcher AZ EQ5 Pro

This is my heavy duty computer controlled mount for DSO imaging. The Vixen Polarie and ASIAIR Pro can find targets that I can't see from my light polluted home, by using plate solving. Without fine motion control in RA this can be a slow trial and error process. The Sky-Watcher AZ EQ5 makes this easy as pie using the ASIAIR Pro. The ASIAIR makes spot on polar alignments simple and fast. Most of the time the AZ EQ5 slews to the target right in the center of the field. When it doesn't the ASIAIR automatic plate solve at the end of the slew, detects this and the ASIAIR automatically corrects the mount. The two axis belt driven stepper motors in the EQ5 allow me to guide using a 120mm mini guide scope and mono ASI120 MM mini guide camera. I'm using this mostly with the WO RedCat f/4.9, 250/51mm but also intend to use it with the ES AR102 f/6.5 663mm/102mm acromat for close up views. The ES AR102 setup only weighs 13.5 lbs and the WO RedCat 7.2 lbs with the ASI533 camera. These are well below the AZ EQ5 mount rated capacity of 33 lbs.

The AZ EQ5 has a pier mount that allows equatorial use in the tropics and, in Alt-Az configuration, dual mounted scopes. Astro gear is hard to find during the pandemic. I was lucky to find this nicely tuned second hand mount for sale locally.

Content created: 2015-05-18 and last modified: 2021-03-23




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