Computerised Mounts

Forums General Discussion Will I ever get there? Computerised Mounts

Andy Wilson

Hi Ian,

I think you are part of a silent majority who have trouble setting up telescope mounts. It is good that you raise these points as I am sure there are others who will read this post having the same experience as you. Over the years I have comes across a good number of people with an interest in astronomy who bought a telescope but never successfully got it working and gave up.

I do think things are easier now than 10 or 20 years ago. To track stars you used to need an equatorial mount, but now there are many cheap computerized altazimuth mounts that will track and locate objects from a 2 or 3 star alignment. This does of course mean knowing how to locate the bright stars used for alignment, and this is where I know some people fall down. It is also true that you get what you pay for, but an easy to setup mount is often not the most expensive one.

While I am one of those who does some fairly advanced astronomy, I still remember learning about equatorial mounts and being confused. Each step has taken me time to learn and then master. I also enjoy casual astronomy where I just look at the Moon, the planets, or a deep sky object without going to the lengths of making a recorded observation. It is important to get the balance right, to ensure you enjoy astronomy and it does not become a burden.

Apologies if I am stating things you already know, but I would advise that you start simple. A low power eyepiece with a wide field of view, so that accurate mount setup is not as important. Though it is easy to find the Moon and planets without a goto mount, start off by using your mount to find those easy objects which you already know where they are. That way you will spot when something is wrong, and when it is working right. With fainter objects it can be difficult to know whether your telescope is pointing at the wrong bit of sky, or if the object is too faint for your telescope and sky conditions.

If you still have your telescope(s), then you could try posting specific questions on the mount you use. There may be others on the forum who know that mount and can offer advice. Otherwise someone may be able to post advice on relatively cheap, easy to use mountings from their personal experience.

Best wishes,