What is a Telescope Mount?
If you’ve ever looked up at the stars and wondered what it would be like to gaze at them as closely as you can with a telescope, then you’ve probably noticed that most telescopes require an object to sit or stand on in order to stay balanced. This is the telescope mount, which serves two major purposes.
A telescope mount is an assembly which supports and allows movement of the optics in one or more directions as well as rotation about one or two axes. Many telescope mounts are built to support optical systems, such as telescopes, cameras, and binoculars, by providing accurate tracking of sky objects. Most telescope mounts are altitude-azimuth (alt-azimuth) mounts which do not rotate around the polar axis, i.e., they can be moved in elevation and azimuth, but not roll and pitch. Here are some of the most popular telescope mounts out there and what sets them apart from the others.
Types of Telescopes Mounts
Telescope mounts are important in order to keep your telescope stable and in the right position. The mount has a slew of gears, pulleys, shafts, screws and motors that allow it to hold any type of weight including the weight of an entire amateur telescope, camera equipment or photography supplies. There are several types of telescope mounts which range from inexpensive, easy-to-use that lets you manually track celestial objects as they move across the sky up to expensive goto mounts with a remote control that automatically tracks stars without any manual intervention needed. The different telescope mounts types are:
German Equatorial Mount
A German equatorial mount (GEM) is one of the most popular types of telescope mounts for amateurs. These mounts have one axis tilted at a 23° angle from horizontal so that one axis points north-south and another east-west. In addition to this, these mounts also use counterweights on each side of their axis’ fulcrum point in order to balance the load so that no heavyweight pushes down on only one side.
Skywatcher GTI Mount
A Skywatcher GTi equatorial mount features two slow-motion cables for manual tracking and three clutches for fine positioning adjustments on both axes making it perfect for astrophotography enthusiasts looking for a simple yet effective setup.
Celestron AVX Mount
Celestron AVX mounts are advanced computerized equatorial mounts that can be used on any platform and work well for telescopes, cameras or other optical equipment. The star-tracking feature makes it easy to pinpoint celestial objects quickly, so you don’t have to waste time doing manual adjustments.
Harmonic Drive Mount
The final type of mount is the harmonic drive mount. These types of mounts are usually seen on larger commercial telescopes, but some amateur astronomers may purchase them if they want a large enough system. Harmonic drives use electric power to maintain the position of a heavy astronomical instrument without constant human attention. It does not require physical contact between two gears like other systems do and instead uses electrical pulses when needed.
If you have enough money to invest in your passion for astronomy, you may also want to consider purchasing a Goto mount. These mounts are very expensive and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. What sets them apart from other types of mounts is that they have an attached computer, usually with a joystick or remote control.
Shop Telescope Mounts at Discounted Prices from Telescopes Canada
We at Telescopes Canada offer telescope mounts online. These different types include the German Equatorial Mount, the Celestial Equatorial Mount and other types of mounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to look for when buying a telescope mount?
For starters, make sure the telescope mount you are looking at can be used with your specific type of telescope. You'll also want to take into consideration how heavy your telescope is so that you can find the best mount for your needs since some mounts cannot handle heavier telescopes. The next thing to think about is whether or not the mount will work with your budget as well as where you live and what level of use you plan on putting it through.
Which is the best mount for a telescope?
Finding the right telescope mount may seem like an intimidating task but if you know what to look for and consider all factors before making a purchase, it should be easy. Some mounts are easier to set up than others so make sure you choose one that won't take hours just to put together. There are many different types of telescope mounts including alt-azimuth, equatorial, and GEM (German Equatorial Mount) but there's no best because each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need them for.