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Why is it so hard to point and move my telescope?

Some telescopes seem to move in awkward ways.

If you are new to telescopes or you just received your first telescope you might be surprised to find that it moves around awfully funny. I mean that you can’t easily move it and point it at objects. There is nothing wrong with your telescope! It is just that it is seated on a particular type of mount called an equatorial mount.

An equatorial mount is a very special kind of mount that allows your telescope to follow the course of stars and celestial objects very easily as they move across the sky. But this kind of mount can make it a bit tricky to easily move and point the telescope.

The following illustration will give you an idea of how an equatorial mount works. The Earth revolves around its axis right? So it has a center line that points exactly north, or luckily, right at the north star. So, the telescope with an equatorial mount has the same thing. It has an axis that points right at the north star. This means that when you rotate it in one direction it will counteract the motion of the earth and follow anything you are looking at very easily.

Image By Will Kalif

The picture below shows you a close up. The red arrows show the only two directions that the telescope can rotate. This means you can point it at anything but only by rotating it certain ways. It’s a bit awkward to move around but it does a really nice job in that you can follow celestial objects very easily.

Image By Will Kalif

The image below shows an actual telescope with an equatorial mount. And it has a motor on it called a clock drive. One of the great benefits of this type of mount and set up is that it is very easy to attach a motor to this axis of the telescope and let it run at 1 revolution every 24 hours. This means that it will track any object you see through it. Makes it very nice for viewing and for taking photographs.

Image By Will Kalif

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