Mounts - Frank Johns

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Astro Equipment

Losmandy G11
The Losmandy G11 is mounted on a homemade steel pier. 
The Gemini system controls the mount. In addition the ASCOM Gemini driver allows control from the PC via Sky Map Pro.
Guiding is mainly undertaken using the freeware programme, PHD.  
This mount performs very well and the GOTO is excellent.
The main counter balance weight is wrapped in rubber becauase of my tendency to crack my head on it in the dark. the brass weight allows for fine balance adjustment.
Vixen Polarie
The Vixen Polarie is a replacement for the Astrotrac. It is compact and relatively light and so ideal for taking on trips overseas and where space/weight is limited. 
The fairly heavy duty camera tripod was modified to enable reasonably fine adjustment to the pointing of the Polarie. As I already had a Canon right-angle eyepiece unit, a connector was made to mount this on the polar finderscope, which saves getting a crick in the neck. The red dot finder allows for very quick rough polar alignment and is then transferred to the camera for more accurate target alignment.
The thing which looks like a lens hood is in fact a homemade muff which will carry 1, 2 or 3 hand warmers to combat dew. Made of wetsuit neoprene it performs very well.
As far as performance is concerned with a wide angle lens on the camera, exposures of 10-15 minutes without star trailiing are perfectly possible.
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