Using a wedge

An equatorial mount is simply an altazimuth mount tilted toward the celestial pole. The typical fork-mounted amateur telescope becomes equatorial when mounted on a wedge of the proper inclination, pointed north (or south in the Southern Hemisphere).

Well-made wedges are sturdy, easy to adjust, and heavy. To save weight and to take advantage of the vibration-damping properties of wood, I built the wooden wedge shown in Figure 9.4. Its obvious drawback is that there are no adjustments; the only way to adjust it is by moving the tripod legs or altering their length, and it only works at latitudes close to 34° north.

Would-be wedge builders should note that the mounting bolts of a Meade or Celestron telescope are not in an equilateral triangle. Measure their positions carefully before you drill the holes.

Figure 9.4. The author's homemade wooden wedge, held together with large screws whose heads were countersunk and filled with putty before painting. Polar alignment is done by moving the tripod legs.

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