Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount Information

Look | Look with Telescope Tubes | Basic Data | First Photo Attempts | Preliminary Conclusions | Links

On this page, I present some information about my Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo telescope mount (ordered on July 12, 2016 , arrived on July 18 after adjustment at the dealer's). I use the Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P and Explorer 150PDS Newton telescope tubes, the Skymax-102 OTA, and the Skymax-127 OTA on this azimuthal mount - see the photos further below (initially, I also used a Sky-Watcher Heritage P130 tube on this mount).

The Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo telescope mount seems to be identical to the Orion StarSeeker IV GoTo AZ Mount (I asked a dealer for this). The latter is, however, 100 EUR more expensive and is advertised as able to carry a maximum load of up to 6 kg.

See here my experiences that I made so far with "overloading the mount with a 6" Newton tube."

The basic data were taken from the Teleskop-Spezialisten Website, where I purchased the mount.

As "major" accessories, I purchased an external power supply (Sky-Watcher 12V / 7Ah Power Tank) in order not to have to buy batteries all the time, and a SkyWire device made by Southern Stars (version with Lightning connector for newer iPads and iPhones). The latter allows you to command the GoTo mount instead of using the hand box with the iPad astronomy app SkySafari Pro. For this purpose, it has to be connected to the RS232 interface of the hand box. I also acquired a crosshair eyepiece (12.5 mm focal length, illuminated) for better alignment and a LED red + white flashlight with adjustable brightness to be able to read star catalogs, etc. All in all, it soon turned out that the mount was not the only investment necessary to enter the world of GoTo...

In February 2018, I finally purchased a Celestron StarSense AutoAlign for Sky-Watcher module, in order to no longer be dependent on the 2-star alignment, but to have the mount aligned automatically. The automatic alignment eliminates the need to "creep" under the viewfinder for high standing alignment stars, places less demands on the positioning of the mount (it does not have to be completely level) and should ultimately be more precise than a "manual" alignment.

See also: Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount - First Experiences | Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount - General Experiences and Thoughts | Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount - Adaptation to Heavier Loads | Celestron StarSense AutoAlign for Sky-Watcher Information

 

Look

Unpacking

Outer package

Ditto

Package dimensions :
Outer package: 26 cm x 47 cm x 88 cm

Gross weight: 11 kg (9.8 kg, own measurement), net weight: 7 kg

Ditto

Ditto, opened

Ditto

Ditto

Inner boxes "out of the box"

Ditto

Tools, hand box holder, compass....

View of the opened box with mount and further parts

View of the opened tripod box

Tripod (accessory tray not assembled)

Tripod head

Mount box empty...

Content of the mount box

Content of the mount box, unpacked

Ditto, with further accessories

Mount from bottom
(see the holes for the tripod)

Dovetail mount for telescope tubes (Vixen type)

Mount seen more from below and the side

Switch and connections at the mount, detail

Mount from other side with battery compartment

Battery compartment opened

Battery holder (8 x AA)

Mount Assembled

Mount from one side

Ditto, overall view

Mount turned around

Ditto, overall view

Ditto with external power supply (Sky-Watcher Power Tank 12 V / 7 Ah)

Ditto, mount turned around

 

Look with Telescope Tubes

Mount with Heritage 100P Telescope Tube (and with SkyWire GoTo Control for iPad)

Heritage 100P tube on mount (overall view)

Ditto (detail)

Front view

Heritage 100P tube on mount, turned around (overall view)

Ditto (detail)

Top view

Heritage 100P tube on mount (with tripod); SkyWire GoTo control lying on the ground, iPad lying on the table (both hard to see...)

Ditto; SkyWire GoTo control lying on the ground, iPad lying on the table (both hard to see...)

 

Mount with Skymax-102 OTA

Skymax-102 tube on mount (overall view)

Ditto (Detail)

Front view

Skymax-102 tube on mount, turned around (overall view)

Ditto (detail)

As noted elsewhere, the position of the red dot finder is not very useful - I have to find a better solution for this

Rear view

 

Ditto (detail)

 

Mount with Heritage P130 Telescope Tube

The Heritage P130 tube weighs less than 4 kg and can therefore be used on the Star Discovery mount. Here are some photos:

P130 "compact" seen from the side

P130 in "working mode" seen from the side

Ditto, seen from the other side

P130 "compact", seen from the other side

P130 in "working mode", overview

Ditto, seen from the other side

Note: The Heritage P130 is no longer in my possession because I gave it away to a friend.

Mount with Explorer 150PDS Newton Tube

The Explorer 150PDS Newton tube weighs about 5.5 kg "alone" and can therefore be used on the Star Discovery mount only with caution (see here my experiences with this combination that I made so far). Below are some photos:

 

Basic Data for Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Telescope Mount

Package Content

Data

 

First Photo Attempts

Since photos can only be taken in cooperation with telescope tubes, I will show pictures on the pages of the respective telescopes, provided there should be any. In the case of deep sky objects that I will primarily seek with this mount, it is not to be expected that my photo attempts will succeed - did I think until November 2017. But then I bought an Atik Infinity camera, and now it will be possible to take photos of deep sky objects, albeit not high-quality ones. I will present those photos primarily on the Atik Infinity pages (and the telescope pages), but here are a few early attempts that I took with this camera mounted to different telescopes.

Explorer 150PDS

         

M 15 (Pegasus), post-processed and sharpened

 

M 56 (Lyra), post-processed and sharpened

 

M 57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra), post-processed

   

M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula), post-processed

 

M 71 (Sagitta), post-processed and sharpened

 

M 42/43 (Orion), post-processed and sharpened

Skymax-127 with 2 x Focal Reducer and Extension Tube

    

M 45 (Taurus), center, from recording,post-processed

 

M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from recording, more "aggressively" post-processed

 

M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from further recording, processed

 

M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from yet another recording, processed

 

Preliminary Conclusions

First attempts at using the GoTo mount with my different telescope tubes were encouraging on the one hand, but on the other hand, they were sometimes very frustrating. Sometimes, I quickly managed to align the mount well (using two stars), but sometimes not at all. In part, these differences can be attributed to the difference in magnification that can be achieved with the tubes - the Heritage 100P is the most benign in this respect because of its low focal length (and thus, magnification). In part, it may also have been a matter of how far apart the observed objects were in the sky. Let's see whether I can become better in this matter...

Nevertheless, I have already been able to find and observe a number of deep-sky objects with the GoTo mount, which were, of course, primarily "classics" (M13, M92, M31, ...) that are easy to observe. I have begun to describe my "deep-sky experiences of a beginner" on separate pages, perhaps they may be useful for other beginners. This is, of course a "never ending project"...

In spring 2017, I purchased a Sky-Watcher Explorer 150PDS 6" Newtonian tube. Now, the question was whether the GoTo mount, which is listed as being able to carry loads of up to 5 kg, can still carry that load. My dealer confirmed this and has developed an approach to adapting the mount to heavier loads (see page Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount - Adaptation to Heavier Loads). My own attempt in this direction was, however, "fruitless", because I was not able to further tighten the corresponding nuts. Nonetheless, I have used the 6" tube for a number of times on the GoTo mount, albeit without coming to any conclusions up to now as to the viability of this solution. Here I describe my experiences that I made so far with "overloading of the GoTo mount with a 6" Newtonian tube."

In February 2018, I purchased a Celestron StarSense AutoAlign for Sky-Watcher module, in order to no longer be dependent on the 2-star alignment, but to have the mount aligned automatically. The automatic alignment eliminates the need to "creep" under the viewfinder for high standing alignment stars, places less demands on the positioning of the mount (it does not have to be completely level) and should ultimately be more precise than a "manual" alignment. Since I used this combination only once up to now, I cannot report any significant experiences here (it worked).

All in all, the mount has opened the way to the world of deep-sky objects for me, also because I finally acquired the appropriate literature. Without this and a certain preparation for the observation objects, it just does not seem to work, as my experience shows. Thus, in 2016 I was able to observe more such objects than in my whole life before. In addition, these experiences helped me to find larger deep-sky objects without technology, but with literature, using the compact and thus, easily transportable Heritage 100P on my vacations!

Power Supply

I used batteries only at the very beginning and soon purchased a portable power supply using a sealed lead acid battery, namely the Sky-Watcher 12V / 7Ah Power Tank; this is the smaller version of Sky-Watcher's two mobile power supplies. In this respect, I cannot share any experiences with how long a set of batteries will last. In any case, I usually spend 1-2 hours observing with the telescope on the GoTo mount and not whole nights. Nevertheless, I think that the purchase of an external power supply will pay off in the long run.

The situation changes again in favor of an portable power supply, if one uses a camera like the Atik Infinity, which also needs to be supplied with 12 V. Supplying power from an external power adapter is impractical unless you are on the balcony or terrasse where a power outlet is usually nearby. Nevertheless, you have more cables lying on the floor, over which you may stumble in the dark... The power tank has two 12 V connections, making it ideal for this situation. I do not know how much current the camera draws (it's specified as 12V / 1A, but will probably require less than 1 A). In addition, I was warned by the dealer, from whom I bought the camera, that the power tank can run hot on cold nights, because it is overloaded (the battery has less capacity in the cold). This did not happen up to now...

 

Links

 

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09.08.2018