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TELESCOPES

13

balancing
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BALANCING YOUR TELESCOPE
-ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
-MOTOR DRIVES

All telescopes must remain balanced. Initial balancing is done when the telescope is first setup and corrected if any accessories are added to the optical tube in the way of heavy eyepieces, additional eyepieces, cameras, video recorders, optical tube extensions or adding another telescope to the side of the optical tube. The following problems can occur to an unbalanced telescope.

  • If you have a motor drive the accuracy and life of the motor will be effected while unbalanced.
  • Slow motion controls, will bind and become sloppy over time.
  • When moving the telescope to a new object it will move slightly when you let it go. This is particularly true in smaller cheaper refractors.
  • The vibration through the mount will take longer to stop.
setup
balancing
TELESCOPE LINKS:
Basics
Mounts
Light Gathering Power
Closer Look At Refractors
Closer Look At Reflectors
Dimensions
Eyepieces
Cleaning Optics
Tips
Astrophotography
The first thing to do when balancing a telescope is to have the telescope setup as though your ready for viewing. This means adding the eyepiece, removing the dust covers and fitting the finderscope onto the optical tube. The tube needs to be balanced from end to end. Newtonian reflectors and some refracting telescopes on equatorial mounts can have their optical tubes slid one way or the other after the clamps are slacken off. Refracting telescopes on an alt-azimuth mount can have a small amount of weight
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attached to the light end of the optical tube. Schmidt and Maksutov-Cassegrain optical tubes cannot generally be rebalanced due to the fixed mounting and will not need to be rebalanced unless the weight distribution changes significantly eg. adding a camera for astrophotography
or video recorder for videoing the night sky.
If your telescope is on an alt-azimuth mount you don't have to do any more. However if you own a equatorial mount it must still be a balance between the optical tube and the counter balancing weights. Loosen off the knobs so the telescope moves easily. Moving the optical tube on the equatorial mount so it is horizontal and at the same height as the counter weights, you can see if the counter weights equal the the weight of the optical tube. Adjust the counter weights to balance the optical tube. The telescope should now be balanced from end to end on the optical tube and balanced between the optical tube and the counter weights.

Adding heavy objects to the telescope like cameras or videos make it a challenge to balance correctly. Sliding the tube further along will help the end to end balancing, but more counter weight will be needed to balance the
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new total weight of the optical tube. Links: Mounts or Astrophotography.
balancing telescopes
END OF BALANCING

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