Why a Telescope Mount is a Necessity for Stargazing

by William Wilson - Date: 2007-04-11 - Word Count: 534 Share This!

If you have ever tried looking through a telescope without a telescope mount to steady your equipment, you understand the difficulty of focusing on a set object in the night skies. Compound that problem with a heavenly body that is actually moving across the sky and you realize that it is almost impossible to track this object. There is no doubt, stability of your telescope is key to enjoyable stargazing.

Purpose of a Telescope Mount

A telescope mount provides a stable platform for your telescope, whether it is a refracting telescope, reflecting telescope, Dobsonian telescope, or catadiotric telescope. A telescope mount will ensure that your viewing of a celestial body is not interrupted by unexpected movement. It also determines how you will position your body relative to the telescope to view the night's sky, determining how comfortable you will be over any extended period of stargazing.

Types of Telescope Mounts

Altazimuth telescope mounts are generally used on a Dobsonian type telescope. These telescopes look like a large canister and are mounted on a chassis that provides limited mounting capabilities. With this type of mount, the telescope can be adjusted in up and down or left and right positions. This range of movement in a telescope mount is generally fine for the beginner and intermediate astronomer.

Equatorial mounts are more advanced and allow for greater movement to coincide with the movement of planet Earth. As good as this sounds, there is a level of skill required by the user. The user will need to understand the planet movement and be required to make minor adjustments to the telescope mount. This type of mount is usually reserved for higher quality telescopes, so it is really geared for the intermediate to advanced astronomer. However, with a little experience and practice, the mount could be used by most stargazers.

In this hi-tech era, computers have become an integral part of astronomy and are used to move and track heavenly bodies. Well, an advanced telescope mount, though expensive, is available that provides this kind of computer tracking and superior viewing options. This mount even facilitates the viewing through the computer monitor as well as the eyepiece, with a few clicks of your mouse moving the mount into position.

Choosing the Right Mount

In choosing the right mount, you must first determine what the intended use of the telescope is. Other considerations are the skill level and specific needs of the operator. Determining the type of terrain the mount will be used on will dictate the stability requirements. And, of course, your astronomy budget will play a major role in what type of telescope mount you will purchase.

Choose a mount that will allow for a comfortable body position for times of extended viewing. Nothing can ruin a stargazing experience faster than being required to contort your body in unnatural positions to get a satisfactory view of your desired object.

So, to choose the right telescope mount, take the time and effort to research the different brands of telescope mounts and the various quality levels available. Then, and only then, choose the one that best suits your needs and falls within your budget limits. It can make the difference between a comfortable, enjoyable stargazing experience and a cramped, short-lived outing.

Related Tags: telescope, astronomy, stargazing, telescope mount, telescope mounts

Bill Wilson is a researcher and writer for online astronomy publications. If you would like to learn more about telescope mounts visit http://www.a1-telescopes.com where you will find tips on how to choose a telescope mount for easier and more rewarding stargazing.

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