My Astronomy




My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Day 108 Tuesday 8th July 2014 Declination Axis Balancing Step A.

Declination Axis Balancing Step A

These are the steps I used to balance the telescope starting with the Declination axis. There are various explanations of how to balance a german equatorial mount available  - some of them better than others. The difficulty of balancing a telescope varies with the distribution of weight in various parts of the system in the first place so some methods may work in one instance but not in another.  For example if there is an initial balanced distribution of loading in terms of added equipment -  balancing will not be too difficult.  I discovered that rotating my CCD camera by 90 degrees to get North/South at the top puts the system out of balance so some care is needed.

This is my method for balancing the Paramount ME / C14 combination on the declination axis. . 

1.The telescope is placed on the East Side of the Mount,  pointing  south at the Meridian M, with the counterweight bar  parallel to the ground on the west side. (This could be carried out with the OTA on the west but I always use east). The RA Axis is locked.


2.The declination axis is released to allow the telescope to  move freely – taking care to hold on to the telescope in case of severe  imbalance. It may drop down at the front of the OTA or at the back.

 3. It may be necessary to slide the telescope up  or down the dovetail (See note in red box above) and possibly to add weights so that the telescope  balances in this position. My telescope is back heavy because of the heavy mirror and the camera, focal reducer and focuser. I push the tube forward and also need to have a heavy lens acting as a counterweight attached centrally at the front to get to this stage of balance. I did not have an actual counterweight so used  the lens instead!  This will get the plane of the centre of gravity of the OTA in line with the declination axis. 

4. This does not mean that the declination axis is balanced in all positions.

5. The centre of gravity (when properly balanced)  should be at point D on the declination axis(i.e. directly intersected by the broken line throught the counterweight axis) – BUT it could be  - for example - at point X or point Y -  or any point on the vertical line at right angles to the declination axis  - when it appears to be balanced in the above horizontal position.

6. The eventual aim is to ensure that the centre of gravity is at point D not elsewhere on this line. 

To be continued....