Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"New" PST mount

I've been using the PST on a Manfrotto camera tripod.  It works well, except it's hard to "drive" to particular parts of the solar disk for imaging.  I was digging in the garage today and I found my old (over 30 years) manually-driven equatorial mount for a 60 mm refractor.  I cleaned off the cobwebs and set it up.  The tube ring is too wide for the PST (but the locking is on an adjustable screw, so there is some latitude on tube size).  I tried wrapping the PST tube in cloth, but it was too slippery and the scope slipped down in the ring.  Then I found an unused packet of insoles for running shoes. One side is of a soft material, the other a nonslip rubber.  I wrapped the PST with it (rubber side to the scope), put it in the mounting ring and adjusted the locking screw until it was tight.  The result is in the pic above.  The mount is a little more wobbly than the Manfrotto, but it is easier to move the scope to desired areas on the sun's disk; tracking in one plane using the slow motion control is also easier than fiddling with 2 planes on the Manfrotto. You may also have to adjust the orientation of the PST, as parts of the mount block the solar ranger in some orientations.  It's not a bad solution, overall.  I'm sure you can find these old scopes and mounts in garage sales for less than $25, so this might be a solution for anyone on a budget who wants to track equatorially.  You can also see the modified Lifecam in a shorty barlow in this pic.