An Evolved Poncet Platform
Looking for a great way to track stars for your camera or Dobsonian mounted telescope? Here is a great solution. It will allow accurate tracking for 1 1/2 hours of observing. That's enough for the deepest sky astrophotography, and plenty for visual use. At the end of that time, simply reset and you may track for another 1 1/2 hours! For example, to photograph Hale-Bopp with a 300mm camera lens, you would want about a 10 minute exposure. Here are the results of just such a photo.
This clever mount opens up all kinds of possibilities for sharing too. If you have a Dobson type telescope, no doubt you love it's simple design and it's ease of use. The problem occurs when you want to observe at higher powers, say on the planets or the moon. You move the scope, wait for vibrations to stop, and then soon need to move it again, wait, then observe, etc. If you leave the eyepiece a moment to have a friend look, oops, the Earth's rotation has moved the object out of view. This mounting is an elegant solution to this very old problem.
I received instructions for this mount from a wonderful man in France, Jean-Mark Becker. All photos were made by Mr. Becker. What follows are construction details of a platform made by him. Here is a photo of the platform with one of his smaller scopes on top of the platform. Notice that the platform is nearly level, yet the scope tracks the stars!
Click here to see the construction details.
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