Fork Mountings

Many catadioptric telescopes use a fork mounting, either altazimuth or an equatorial. For smaller telescopes, such as this refractor, the fork may have only one arm, as shown here. The only difference between an altazimuth and an equatorial fork mounting is that the base is tilted at an angle equivalent to your latitude, so that the azimuth (or pan) axis becomes the polar axis.

suitable software program, allowing access to an even wider database of objects. Unlike traditional altazimuth mountings, which are not motorized, GOTO telescopes on altazimuth mounts can automatically track objects as Earth rotates. The accuracy is suitable for visual observation, but for the smoothest tracking, particularly for longexposure photography, an equatorial mount is still preferable. The instructions below explain how to set up a GOTO telescope.

1 A simple setup procedure requires you to enter into the handset the date, time, and your location—although the most sophisticated mounts have a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver that automatically gathers this information from satellites with high accuracy.

2 Then you need to align the telescope by pointing it in turn at two or more widely separated stars. These can be of your own choosing or, in some models, the telescope automatically slews to a bright star that you must center in the field of view. Once calibrated in this way, the computer can find other otyects with ease and accuracy.

simple low-power refractor acts as finder_

slight adjustments made with handset ease and accuracy.

simple low-power refractor acts as finder_

slight adjustments made with handset

3 Use the keypad again to enter the details of what you would like to view. If necessary, the object can be centered in the field of view by using the hand controls.

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