Sky and Telescope
mid-sized German Equatorial Mount
version of the GP or Super Polaris mounts. It weighs about 36
lbs. and will hold approximately 22 lbs of equipment.
History and Geographic Location
I have been observing for a little over two years, in amateur astronomy terms
not very long at all. My experience level can be graded as very much a beginner
but with a lot of enthusiasm, hence why I thought the mount would be a good
thing to review first the telescope I have with the mount will be reviewed
later. My favorite observation activities are finding Deep sky objects, planet
observing and lunar mapping. I also enjoy making my own constellation charts to
which I add objects when I find them. I live in Hertfordshire which lies in
the South East of England. Where skies can be mostly cloudy, and light
pollution can be high in the southern skies due to our great city of London.
Explain Your Choice
I ordered the mount from Orion Optics (UK). Mainly because of the quality of
their scopes for the money was said to be good and that comes from more than one
source. The story of how I got the GP/DX mount went as follows I had phoned
Barry at the above shop and told him I had £1300.00 what could I get? Barry
suggested I have the GX250 with the GP mount and a lunar Filter plus a light
pollution filter with 3 eyepieces and a 2* Barlow. I went away had a little chat
with some friends the outcome of which I was advised to drop some of the extras
and go for the GP/DX mount. This way I could add a larger scope and after all
eyepieces will come with time mounts are more of an investment. I went back to
Orion Optics and suggested that I have the GP/DX mount instead and for that
Orion dropped the light pollution filter and one eyepiece a good deal I thought,
so the purchase was made. The features that made the mount for me was primarily
that the heavier mount could support a DX300 scope, mine being the GX250 meant
that the mount was never ever going to be a problem. However, there were other
features that drew me to the mount in RA and DEC the mount has 144 brass teeth
for each movement making the mount extremely smooth good for photography. The
polar alignment scope is an excellent addition and caters for the Southern
Hemisphere. The mount has the obvious capability to support dual axis motor
drives, and really is a sturdy piece of equipment. The mount also for an
optional extra of £248.00 can be supplied with a field tripod. I primarily
brought the mount because I felt that to apply an "Overkill" effect
was in my best interest.
Equipment and Shipping
The Equipment did arrive on time due to the fact that I paid extra for overnight
delivery, I could not wait. The mount was well packed with various levels of
polystyrene and bubble wrap no damage was noted on delivery. However I had noted
that the RA adjustment handles were not in the box. Standard equipment comes
with the Polar alignment scope, the mount itself (Obviously) plus the pedestal
that the head of the mount sits on raising it to about 3 feet of the ground.
Handles and knobs are included as standard but not the batteries to light the
polar scope with. ( No major problems however as I raided the remote control
unit without my wife looking, my daughter quiet rightly got the blame, and I was
impressed with my lateral thinking :-) ). My first impressions were of quality
really it all fitted together really nicely I did not seem to need instructions,
which was a good thing because Vixens manual is next to useless for putting it
together and for anything else really.
I have tried the equipment on various objects and it has performed remarkably
well. the mount moves smoothly and settles down within a couple of seconds. My
first choice was Saturn with a 12mm eyepiece on my f4.8 scope. I used the manual
controls to track Saturn and found the mount adequate. The small knobs that come
supplied on RA and DEC movement are black and you have to feel around.
however, this was quickly noted to be due to my unfamiliarity with the mount. I
did eventually replace those for the long flexible knobs that come as an
optional extra I found these far easier to use but at £17.00 each they may be
considered a luxury. The mount tracks objects rather well and any movement that
is inadvertently caused soon settles.
The pedestal that comes with the mount can be cumbersome and awkward to
carry around and seems to be one of those items that always catches the
paintwork or doors as you try to navigate from inside the house to the backyard.
It is worth mentioning at this point that the mount is loaded with a 20lb
telescope it can handle larger but what that would mean to the effectiveness of
the mount I do not know. I got the feeling it could handle a little more but
that it would be very clse to the limt that the mount could hold. If you were
into CCD or photography then you may find that a 250 tube would be as large as
you would want to go.
Overall the mount for it's money is
a dam good mount, it has some nice little features for example a row of red LEDs
on the mount itself can be used for reading charts etc, it is activated when you
turn on the red light for the polar alignment scope. The fixings are nicely
thought out the V type fixture for mounting the tube is one of those good ideas.
making it very simple for one person to operate. I am not totally convinced that
the mount would take an awful lot more and it may be that the 250 tube I have is
comfortable for it but weather the 300 would be as comfortable I am not sure. I
would certainly need some convincing to apply a 300 tube and attempt
astronomical photography with it.
by Barry Sharpe - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Herthfordshire, UK