Mount: Vixen dovetail equatorial Go-To
Supplier: David Hinds Ltd
Telephone: 01525 852696
The Celestron CG-5’s black coatings and fully encased motor and computer control panels give it a solid look.
The 50mm diameter brushed stainless steel tripod legs and cast metal spreader all make for a strong, stable platform.
They also contribute to the weight, which totals 13.2kg for the tripod and head – quite heavy for a Go-To equatorial mount.
Maximum height is a whopping 160cm and, even when fully extended, the structure is very rigid.
It is rated for carrying a C11 telescope, which weighs 12.5kg and it seems like it could do this with ease.
Interestingly, there is no polar finderscope fitted, although one can be added as an extra; rough alignment is made simply by sighting Polaris through the hollow RA axis.
The alignment procedure is simple: switch the hand controller on, enter the setup data and you enter the two-star align mode.
On the first night of our tests, we carried out a preliminary inspection of the Celestron to check it powered up okay, spending little time on precise levelling or alignment.
Nevertheless, we were impressed when the two alignment stars appeared very close to the centre of the eyepiece.
Incidentally, the power cable provided is an amazing 8m long, so could be connected to a car’s cigarette lighter.
We carried out a proper test of the Go-To system, which required more precise alignment.
As with the other mounts, fine alignment adjustments are made using the hand controller, and when the stars are central in the eyepiece field of view, the exact position is recorded and saved.
The whole alignment procedure took less than 10 minutes.
On subsequent nights, we were able to repeat this, never finding the need to call upon the built-in fine-tuning features like polar alignment, periodic error control, third-star cone error correction or anti-backlash, to name a few.
The controller is crammed with over 40,000 objects and has a red backlit LCD screen.
The buttons have similarly named navigation functions and glow brightly.
In use, this is quite a noisy mount.
The motors whine quite a lot, which might disturb the neighbours on summer evenings, but in normal tracking mode the RA motor seems to tick away very quietly.
Some of the details weren’t quite as good as they could have been: stickers are provided to identify the ‘home’ position for each axis, but they looked about ready to peel off, and the declination motor’s casing rubbed on the clutch knob.
There are some nice touches, though: this tripod is the only one with a lug which can be repositioned so that one leg faces south instead of north, which can help overcome some potential collisions with long scopes.
There is also a generously sized bubble level to help level the top.
Overall, this is an excellent and capable mount with a first-rate alignment process and excellent tracking.