Re: Mach 1

jimhp29401us <thefamily111@...>

I definately know what I am doing when I use an AP mount. I
presently own an AP 6OO GOTO, a 9OO GOTO a 12OO GOTO and a 12OO QMD.
I am selling the AP 6OO Goto so I can buy a Mach1. I often carry my
AP 155 F/7 out and do a very rough polar alignment from my backyard
where you can NOT see Polaris. By synchronizing on the first few
objects I am able to find whatever I am looking for. As for webcam
imaging being incredibly simple and that once you've done Mars,
Jupiter and Saturn you are pretty much done, all I can do is laugh.
These planets change, often nightly. If you try to get images like
Alan, and I do, it is not "easy". There is an art and a science to
it. I can imagine Deep Sky imaging is great fun. I did it for a while
with an SBIG ST-6 years ago. I prefer the Sun, Moon and planets.

All the Best,

JIm Phillips

Yes, it takes time to set up and polar align so that one can do half
hour to hour long exposures without field rotation with a big chip
CCD. There is no getting around it. Multiple short exposures simply
not give the best results.

Webcam imaging is incredibly simple in comparison. I have done both
but prefer the big CCD and deepsky. Once you have done Mars, Jupiter
and Saturn, you are pretty much done. That is unless you are Alan
Friedman who pops up fairly regularly to post those incredible lunar
shots. VERY nice stuff indeed.

One should NEVER use SYNC with an AP mount unless you are really
familiar with how it works. RCAL instead. One of those "nearby"
might smack your scope into the pier one day otherwise. Besides, if
you are using the keypad then you have already hauled out the power
supply can 110 cord or battery, mount cords, keypad, etc. Might as
well screw in the PAS and spend a minute or two getting a close
alignment. If I work at it with my PAS v3 for a bit, maybe 5 minutes
or so, I can get really close - as in good enough for imaging with
to 20 minute shots. For some reason my PAS v4 isn't quite as nicely
aligned. One of these days I might get around to tuning it in.

I like looking all over the sky and when I send keypad commands to
goto someplace 120 degrees away I like it to go there and I like it
be in the FOV. It really doesn't take that long to do a rough polar
alignment with the PAS, but it does take a while to get everything
ready to go with power, control and cables. If I am strictly hands
and manually slewing the scope (push-to) then polar alignment
not other than if I want to use a star atlas to combination star hop
and follow those invisible lines in the sky that cross each page.

It all depends on how you want to use your mount. I personally like
have it polar aligned and powered up no matter what my plans are for
the evening.

--- In ap-gto@..., "jimhp29401us" <thefamily111@> wrote:

Wow you guys who do Deep Sky imaging must need Very accurate
alignment. You don't need to be that accurately alighned to use
GOTO. You just center then Syn on objects (Go to bright objects
initially) and soon the mount compensates and takes you to
you are looking for in that area of the sky. For webcam imaging
the moon, sun and planets you do not need precise polar alignment
either, just slow motion controls in both axis that allow you to
the object on your laptop screen while imaging. It can roam all
the screen as long as it stays on and you have no problem
in registax.

Jim Phillips


It takes me 5 minutes to cart my pier up out of the basement,
out to
the sheltered spot I usually try to observe from and set it up.
Next 5
minutes is spent bringing out the Mach1 mount and attaching it,
back in and getting the counterweights, and shaft is another 5
minutes, bringing out the scope another 5, going back in for the
finder, diagonal and eyepiece case or a few eyepieces to use
another 5
minutes, going back in and getting whatever I forgot to get on
the other trips another 5 minutes, all in all, about a 25 to 30
minutes before I am ready to go. If I want to have power and
polar align using the PAS so that I can goto all over the sky
it is
another 10 minutes to get the keypad, cables, power supply,
cord, PAS and roughly polar align so that objects pretty much
end up somewhere in a low power eyepiece view.

If I had a DM6 on the same pier and using the same scope it
about 10 minutes less since there are no counterweights and
there is
no need to polar align. A quick alignment on a couple of bright
and away you go. Of course one could get away with a lighter
which means that there could be one less trip to make since
head could be managed in one trip quite easily. It is all
that reduction of 10 or 15 minutes worth spending another $2500
DM6 and rigid lightweight tripod for a very marginal "grab and
set-up on top of the purchase of the Mach1 and pier? I usually
the meaning of a "grab and go" as a complete unit, manageable
in one
piece with two hands most of the time but one when necessary to
doors. The DM6 nor the Mach1 nor any of their kinfolk need not
in my mind. This is the purview of a small 60 to 80mm
scope on a lightweight alt-az or GE on a lightweight tripod.
down and if a GE plunk it down with the polar axis pointing
north. Since most of these small GE mounts use C or D cell
packs, flick the switch and you should be tracking. Use the
finder or unit finder or attached laser pointer to locate the
and look into the eyepiece.

In all fairness, I could use a really light scope and keep it
on the
Mach1 with a really light tripod to hold everything and attempt
it all out the door without damaging myself or anything else
but I
just don't think it would be a very useful combination of
parts. The
Mach1GTO is a high quality mount and I think it should be
treated as
such. There are lots of capabilities built in and they are

For CCD imaging the time goes way up. At least 45 minutes to
set up.
Another 30 minutes to polar align, focus, flat frame, etc.
Another 5
to 15 minutes to get on the object, get a guide star, set up the
software to image. If I can actually, in practice, go from
imaging in less than an hour and a half I usually consider it a

IF I had a permanent pier it would take less time. IF I had a
permanently aligned mount on that pier with all the doodads
it would take far less time. Then again taking it another
level, IF
had an observatory it might only take as long as opening the
doors/roof, and powering up before I was ready to do the flats
find a subject to image. It's all relative.

--- In ap-gto@..., chris1011@ wrote:

In a message dated 2/11/2008 5:54:37 PM Central Standard
ivanong@ writes:

The Mach1GTO takes a while to set up and take down. Many
screw and tighten- will take you about 40 min or so.
Really? Only takes me 5 minutes to set up my Mach 1. Plunk it
the pier,
tighten 3 hand knobs, attach scope to the dovetail plate,
look. What am I missing?


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