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Old 01-04-2010, 06:50 PM   #1
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Astronomy Buffs? Got a question for ya

I am contemplating a new photography project and it looks like it will require the use of a motorized tripod head. Any idea where to get one inexpensively and what features separate them from one another? Many thanks.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Well, how much do you want to spend? Check out Meade Telescopes, Microscopes, Meade Instruments, Telescopes by Meade and Celestron Telescopes, Telescope Accessories, Telescopes by Celestron .

These guys are the big names for serious amateurs. There are other, better, and much more expensive names in the "field", but it will cost a bunch more. I've always wanted a 10/12/14/16" Schmidt-Cassagran from Celestron or Meade, but they are very pricey.

If you want to track the sky there are many scopes that have built-in electrical tracking systems that allow you to bolt your camera directly to the mount or eyepiece. Many allow you to use CCD or 35 MM.

Kind of an expensive hobby, like Airstreams?!

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Old 01-04-2010, 07:44 PM   #3
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Danged expensive! I had a Meade 10" SCT for a while, nice scope. It was pre-autostar so it had tracking, but you had to line everything up and find stuff (autostar finds it for you). Sweet scope though.

Sometimes you can get low end scopes that have pretty nice motorized heads on them - chuck the scope and use the tripod and motors. You might check out Orion Telescopes online as well. They carry a lot of Chinese made stuff, so it's a lot cheaper, and the quality is still pretty good.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:51 PM   #4
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I have shopped through Orion for several years and I am completely satisfied with their service and prices.

Orion Telescopes & Binoculars: Buy Online & Save! - Telescope.com

You can also shop on www.astromart.com, an online forum with a classified section. You would have to join the forum but its worth it for the savings you can get on certain types of equipment.


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Old 01-04-2010, 08:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Well, how much do you want to spend? ...
Jim
Very little! I don't need the scope, just every thing below it.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:02 PM   #6
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Well, if all you are interested in is tracking the sky (and not using the actual optics of the 'scope), look at some of the less expensive stuff from Meade. I have a Telstar model DS-114 (think:cheap). A friend gave me this scope after he got bored with it. It has adequate optics and tracking. This particular scope has the Autostar computer that will align the scope to any of about 2000 objects after you feed it a couple of settings.

With your skills, you can easily figure out a way to McGyver a mount for the camera on the tube of the scope. Then you can use the features of the computer to point at anything in the sky.

Now, if you want a REAL telescope, get yourself one of the larger aperature Celestrons with all the computer controlled gizmos. Be prepared to force a very large crowbar in you wallet, but that's a nice scope.

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Old 01-04-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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Well, if all you are interested in is tracking the sky (and not using the actual optics of the 'scope), look at some of the less expensive stuff from Meade. ........................With your skills, you can easily figure out a way to McGyver a mount for the camera on the tube of the scope. .........
Jim
Thats about the size of it. This years project is to construct a series of time lapse photo clips from places I go into a short video. I want to be able to pan shots, hence the need for a telescope mount.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:41 PM   #8
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If you donít need the scope but the only motorized mounting below, than the question is do you need it for panning along the horizon or tracking in sidereal time, as in tracking astronomical objects?
Does the motor need a variable speed control to slew or only to track like a clock, as in a 60Hz synchronous clock motor?
Weight, balancing, speed and torque requirements?
Need to define your requirements or at least state your objectives.

Check with dealers that sell used telescopes. People have been trading in their old clock driven scopes for computer guided GOTO models. Lots of good used motor drive on tripods, with or without the scope, on the market. You can bargain, good luck and let us know.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:07 PM   #9
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If you donít need the scope but the only motorized mounting below, than the question is do you need it for panning along the horizon or tracking in sidereal time, as in tracking astronomical objects?
Does the motor need a variable speed control to slew or only to track like a clock, as in a 60Hz synchronous clock motor?
Weight, balancing, speed and torque requirements?
Need to define your requirements or at least state your objectives.

Check with dealers that sell used telescopes. People have been trading in their old clock driven scopes for computer guided GOTO models. Lots of good used motor drive on tripods, with or without the scope, on the market. You can bargain, good luck and let us know.
Basically, what I am looking to do is mount a DSLR and lens. The idea is to be able to pan across a landscape in a stable, controlled, and ever so slow manner (figure an hour or two to scan the scene. Right now I am thinking small lenses, so weight shouldn't be an issue. I know people have used telescope rigs to do this before.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:37 AM   #10
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That sounds like an awesome project, I can't wait to see the results!
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #11
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If your looking for a low cost method of tracking you may want to try building a barn door tracking mount. I built one several years ago and sold it. Just using a couple of pine boards a hinge and some threaded mounts and all-thread. I used an old electric clock motor to maintain a pretty accurate tracking rate. I bought a cheap camera mount and used my Canon AE1 to take some pretty decent night sky photos. Here is a link to locate additional information on this type of homemade mount.. they can be made really accurate if you wanted to add a stepper motor and drive circuitry.

Astronomy Boy: Barn Door Tracker

Tom
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray View Post
Basically, what I am looking to do is mount a DSLR and lens. The idea is to be able to pan across a landscape in a stable, controlled, and ever so slow manner (figure an hour or two to scan the scene. Right now I am thinking small lenses, so weight shouldn't be an issue. I know people have used telescope rigs to do this before.
A track astronomy-type telescope mount isn't going to do it for you. The tracking rate is (approx) 15 degrees per hour and most (not all) mount via a Vixen style dovetail. The barndoor suggestion is probably the most cost effective method. You should be able to build one for not too much money.
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