A mid-level mounts’ best friend?
To take truly inspirational images of the cosmos you need three astronomical tools; a telescope (optical tube assembly), an imaging device (normally a CCD or DSLR camera), and a mount. All three components should be of good quality in order to achieve the results desired during your journey to the beginning of space and time.
Some amateur astronomers may believe the imaging device and optical tube assembly are more important than the mount. This might make a good mount less important in their eyes, but a safe, steady, well-made mount is just as important in taking great astroimages.
Modern telescope mounts
There are modern mounts in the $3000 range available capable of excellent tracking with minimal periodic error (error induced due to small mechanical imperfections in the device). You can also break the piggy bank and opt for a German equatorial mount (GEM) in the five figure range that’s even more accurate. In the case of modern mounts, made by a reputable manufacturer, you really do get what you pay for.
The Telescope Drive Master
In an effort to make mid-level and GEMs, even better Hungarian firm MDA-TelesCoop has introduced the Telescope Drive Master (TDM). Designed to correct the periodic error of a telescope mount, without the requirement for an auto guider system, the Telescope Drive Master is made to enhance the ability of both mid-level and expensive GEMs.
You can obtain a Telescope Drive Master through Explore Scientific in North America and in other areas of the world.
My Telescope Drive Master v2 arrives
I got the Telescope Drive Master v2 I tested through Explore Scientific. It arrived securely and safely packaged, and with the right mechanical adapter for my CGE Pro GEM. You need to indicate which model of mount you’ll be using with the TDM when ordering because each requires a specific adapter.
You can check which models the Telescope Drive Master v2 can be used with here.
They included instructions and helpful photographs on setting up the Telescope Drive Master, which I found easy to understand. They also helped explain how the TDM works with my CGE Pro GEM and computer to make beautiful images. Getting the setup right only took me about an hour and a few minutes to get everything ready to view the cosmos.
The Telescope Drive Master significantly reduced the periodic and even non-periodic tracking errors of my CGE Pro GEM to within 0.5″. This is a result in agreement with previous reviews and independent tests.
It also integrated well with the autoguider system, offering me precise tracking of celestial objects.
These results would likely not be possible with a lesser quality mount than my CGE Pro GEM. Still, it should improve the ability of even mid-level mounts.
Overall this device did improve the ability of my mount to improve the quality of images taken of the cosmos. It’s worth the price I paid to obtain.
If I was a serious astroimager desiring to enhance my ability to take stunning, unforgettable images of the cosmos, I would purchase the Telescope Drive Master.
It can definitely make your journey to the beginning of space and time more memorable.
Telescope Drive Master
Learn more about TelesCoop here.
Learn more about Celestron’s complete lineup of astronomy products here.
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