Advice Sought

Forums Telescopes Advice Sought

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    David Dunn

    Hi all,

                    I like to take wide field images of the night sky. Until now I have been using a fixed camera on a tripod. This limits me to 2-3 second exposures with a 150 mm lens.

    I have been looking at star trackers as a possible way forward. There are two models which seem popular:


    Vixen Polarie

    I am sure there are others.

    I would welcome any comment/advice from members on the options above.

    Many thanks


    David Dunn

    My apologies! Cutting and pasting doesn’t work from word.



    I can recommend the Skywatcher Star Adventurer.

    It is very well built and can handle, small telescopes in the 66mm range. Polar alignment is also easy, with a phone app, that shows the position of Polaris.

    I own one.

    David Basey

    Hi David,

    I have a Vixen Polarie and am extremely satisfied with it. You can see a couple of results on my Member’s Page.

    Clearly polar alignment is key. The polar sight has a field diameter of 8.9deg, I’ve attached a copy of a table from the manual showing the permitted exposure times assuming you can align on the pole to within 2deg.

    If you intend to use longer focal lengths or much longer exposures I can recommend the optional polar alignment scope which is a very solid piece of kit.

    Lastly, with longer focal lengths and exposure times you need a really solid tripod to mount it on. That much is obvious, less obvious to me was the need for a really tall one otherwise you end up kneeling on the cold and wet ground to align the device.

    Hope this helps, if you want to ask anything else feel free to drop me an e-mail.


    Dominic Ford

    Hi David,

    I’m afraid pasting from MS Word can be a bit of a minefield, yes. Word includes all sorts of superfluous formatting information when you paste into a web browser. The BAA forum is supposed to strip all of that out and just leave your text, but sometimes it doesn’t do a very good job of it.

    I’ve done a quick edit on your post to remove some of the junk, and hopefully not too much of your actual text.

    I personally tend to paste text from MS Word into MS Notepad, and then from there into the website. Notepad is a really simple no-frills text editor, and completely removes any formatting which may cause problems!

    Best wishes,



    For this kind of money, if you don’t have to lug it up a mountain, what about a tracking equatorial mount like an HEQ5?


    Callum Potter

    Hi David,

    I don’t use one myself, but other options to consider are the

    Ioptron SkyTracker – i’ve seen a lot of good images made using these.

    Other newer things to think about are:

    Ioptron SkyTracker Pro – more ‘heavy weight’

    And something new I saw recently mentioned in Astronomy Now is the 

    SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini.

    Would be interested to hear from anyone that’s tried these newer mounts.

    Thanks, Callum

    David Dunn

    Hi All,

    Thank you for all the help and advice you offered. I think I need to sit down and go through all the info. In the mean time I am still working on my fixed camera Messier survey. See the members pages.

    All the best


    Roy Hughes


    Home made devices might do as well(?).

    Quote from a much earlier post, re. devices we made in the 1960-70s:

    ‘In 1974, vol 84, no 3 (April) page 189 D. G. Daniels describes a similar device looking a bit more like the one I built (long since gone to the scrapbox in the sky). If you’ve got a fast connection you can download a copy from the BAA (6.57Mb) a real blast from the past. If you do, then, rather than spend hours trying to scroll to the right issue do a search for time-switch (the “-” IS important!)’


    David Dunn


    Thanks for the info. I will download the reference.

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