The world keeps turning

In the beginning there was the alt az mount and the astronomer saw that it was good. Then they had to use it and discovered quite quickly that the sky rotates about us in an odd way!

For a long time, astronomers had to move the mount a little sideways, then up or down continuously, just to keep the target centred. Now, one way of doing this is to just keep the mounting ridged with no motion whatsoever, such as in a transit telescope, and allow the star or object to drift into view; but that doesn't give much time for viewing or sketching very easily. So, it came about that the equatorial mount was invented and, thus, you could now track and keep centred the object of your attention, allowing for detailed sketching and, later, for long exposure astrophotography.

You'd think that the alt az mount would have been completely cast aside, but no. For one thing, the equatorial mount was often the most expensive and heavy part of a telescope and, secondly, it is much easier to set up and begin observing with an alt az mount. Now with computerisation, even alt az mounts can track the sky, while things have gone one step further with the combination of both types into one, giving us mounts such as the Skywatcher AZ-EQ5 GT I review in this month's magazine. With configurations of Equatorial, Alt Az single and Alt Az dual mounting, these mounts are becoming increasingly popular due to their impressive versatility.

Also in the June issue, Steve Collingwood enjoys another very popular type of Alt Az mounted telescope; the Dobsonian, as you can see in his review of the Explore Scientific 16 inch, while Martin Lewis gets to see what the Celestron Skyris 132M Solar System Imager can really do.

So make sure you pick up your copy today!

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