Mount – HEQ5 Pro
The HEQ5 Pro is a German Equatorial Mount made by SkyWatcher. It’s rated to take up to about 18Kg, but its best kept to about 12Kg for imaging purposes. I’ve imaged with up to 15Kg on it, and it’s been okay, but the guiding is definitely more fussy, and there’s a lot more frustration involved. The mount itself has a Synscan handset with it that allows use stand-alone, or you can interface it with a PC via an EQDIR cable (my preferred method!). I generally now control it via SkySafari on the iPad. Polar alignment is via a polar scope built into the mount, and I use an application on the iPhone called ‘Polaralign’ to show me a reticule representation in order to get Polaris in the right place. The next step is for me to try a piece of software called ‘Alignmaster’ to try and improve my polar alignment. It’s recently been fitted with drive belts to replace the factory-installed gears, and since then, it’s an overall better and smoother mount, with far superior guiding capabilities.
As I have a mobile setup (i.e. I can’t leave it set up anywhere due to not having or currently being able to build, an observatory). Therefore, I pack the mount head into a peli-type case (not shown here), and the rest of my kit, into foam-lines flight cases for storage and portability.
This mount is by far the best investment I have ever made in Astronomy. It’s definitely true what they say – the mount itself is more important than the scope. This is especially true if imaging.
Also shown are a selection of shots of the ‘servicing’ process it underwent in July 2014.