Re: goto mount

From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Sun May 18 2008 - 07:19:53 UTC

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Sky AND TELESCOPE CUBE Review"

    Morning Gerhard
    Thanks for your email. I would think your 
    questions are not off topic as it is related 
    to visual tracking of satellites.
    I agree with your comment about the prices 
    charged locally by the so called agents - go 
    direct is a lot cheaper- eg I recently got a 
    colour CCD camera for a friend from 
    overseas for less than half the price charged 
    The Cube looks interesting- there is a 
    review in a recent issue of the magazine 
    SKY AND TELESCOPE and it appeared 
    to be a good buy. Unfortunately the 
    IOPTRON web site is a bit vague about 
    ASCOM and PC control so just how much 
    control one has over the unit is currently 
    unknown, eg will Brents freeware SAT 
    TRACKER program drive it ?
    It would also appear that only the CUBE GPS
    models support ASCOM and PC connections.
    As to what telescope to use - well that 
    depends on what you want to do. I guess you 
    are not interested in video work which makes 
    things a bit easier. For satellite tracking you 
    want maximum aperture with the largest 
    possible field of view. The CUBE is not a 
    heavy duty mount - it has plastic gears - when 
    I originally mentioned it on SeeSat I was 
    thinking in terms of it carrying a video camera 
    only. The 80mm aperture refractor sold with 
    the mount for $410 looks like a reasonable 
    deal but just how good the refractor is is 
    not obvious since again IOPTRON dont say 
    much about it. Usually reflectors are cheaper 
    than a refractor-aperture for aperture- and a 
    maksutov cass is usually reletavely long focus
    which means small field of view so I 
    personally would look for a reflector in the 
    range 5 to 6 inch aperture at around f/5 or so.
    I think Kevin uses a 4 inch refractor on his GOTO
    mount (Celestron?) so Im sure he could add
    some useful info here.
    The nine speed setting should be adequate 
    for most satellites -- but the burning question 
    here is can the Cube be programmed to track 
    satellites? or at the least be commanded to
    go to a particular RA/Dec (or alt/az) setting.
    So whilst the CUBE looks interesting there 
    are a lot of unanswered questions so its up to 
    someone to take the plunge and try it :-)).  
    For about $400 (plus perhaps customs duty 
    etc) I think it looks a good buy but please 
    nobody shoot me if it turns out to be less than 
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