What's in a mount?

 

We are used to the latest generation of mounts being computerised and have grown accustomed to handsets with a database of up to 40,000 + objects from which to pick and choose. So, you might well ask, what more do you need in a mount?

In truth, the handsets often have objects such as asteroids and comets missing from their databases and for really deep, deep sky astrophotographers, many obscure targets are also missing. So no wonder serious users hook up their laptops to control their mount. The advantage is that you can download all sorts of additional catalogues and access online catalogues, or else your planetarium software includes the comets and asteroids, updating the databases frequently so you don't miss out on any new discoveries. It also provides a graphical display of the night sky, allowing you to see where you want to point your scope and zoom in to target your chosen subject, rather than relying on a simple display showing only coordinates.

However, Vixen has chosen to do something more with its version of the handset when compared to its competitors, as seen in the Starbook TEN controller. It provides a colour graphical representation of the night sky and tells you where you are pointing your scope. It is certainly a step up from your typical handset, as I discovered in my review of the SX2 mount with Starbook TEN and Advance unit (an interactive, 360 degree model of which is available here). See how I got on in our May issue.

Video is an interesting aspect of our subject and Mark Payne-Gill puts the Mallincam Signature HD video camera through its paces. No wonder he uses it for Stargazing Live and the Sky at Night TV programmes! Finally, Steve Richards enjoyed the breaks in the cloud to put the Telescope Service TS Imaging Star 100mm f/5.8 Quadruplet Flatfield Astrograph into action for his review, so there is plenty to read and explore in the latest issue. Don't miss it!

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