For a long time now I have wanted to have two things, an observatory and a fully working GO TO system for my telescope.
Both seemed out of my price range but with a bit of determination I now have both.First off the observatory has been done if your following my blog its on the post before this one but secondly I have always wanted to have a reliable system that would enable me to find my targets quickly and give me more features to use with my mount. I finally found the solution.
Let me introduce you to Astro EQ a clever little box of tricks that controls the DEC and RA motors on my telescope mount.
Astro EQ was developed and designed by Tom Carpenter a young man in the UK who can be found on the AstronomyShed forums. He wanted to build an alternative for the standard product add ons for the Skywatcher EQ5 mounts and started a project to build a controller for the mounts gears that would interface with the EQASCOM and EQMOD software that is used by many astronomers offering a wealth of versatile controls for your telescope mount.
The result is AstroEQ.
I purchased one from him a few weeks ago when I had my 5th skywatcher dual axis handset burn out on me! enough was enough and I needed an alternative that would be reliable, allow me to track my targets, and continue to do my imaging.
The AstroEQ attaches to the mounts RA and Dec motors via two ST4 to ST4 cables and hooks up to your laptop where it then interfaces with EQMODs control interface and the star chart Cartes du Ciel. You then have a fully working GO TO SYSTEM and can use all of EQMods features, totally brilliant!
Here is a picture of how it all fits together..
I have only managed a couple of nights out with it to get to grips with all the software parameters and leaning how EQMOD works takes some time but so far the results have been great. I was able to find and slew to my targets with ease and found the Wall in the North American Nebula on my second attempt. I took a few subs on a very bright moon lit night to test things out and managed a not too bad image of it.
If like me you are on a tight budget and would like to get your hands on the Astro EQ then please get in contact with Tom Carpenter and order one from him directly.
You can contact him through this link...
I would like to express my gratitude to Tom for this great little control box and encourage you to support his project for all of us who enjoy DIY projects that make astronomy better.