While the new Celestron Advanced VX go-to mount is superb for visual astronomy with smaller telescopes (30 lbs and under), it was designed specifically to provide exceptionally cost-effective performance for imaging. It’s an ideal platform for beginning and intermediate DSLR and CCD imagers, as it has the imaging-friendly features of Celestron’s larger telescope mounts, but at a fraction of the cost of those larger mounts. For example, it has permanent periodic error correction (PPEC), an autoguider input, and the ability to Image across the meridian without doing a meridian flip, so you can seamlessly image the best part of the night sky.
Experienced imagers will love taking this portable Celestron VX mount to a dark sky site (the head weighs only 17 lbs, the tripod only 18, plus an 11 lb counterweight), as it provides all the performance of the larger Celestron observatory mounts in a portable package. If you’re new to imaging, the Celestron Advanced VX mount will help you get started with the hobby and keep up with your needs for years to come.
The mount includes dual-axis slewing/tracking low-cog DC servo motors with positioning encoders on each axis for go-to computer control. The new motors provide improved tracking performance and more power to handle an unbalanced load than previous Advanced Series drives. Built-in adjustable backlash compensation and permanent user-programmed periodic error correction (PPEC) permits precise corrections during astrophotography and when observing visually at high powers. There are nine slewing speeds, with a fast maximum slewing rate of 4° per second. Tracking rates include sidereal, solar, and lunar.
The scope is supplied with a car battery cord to operate from the cigarette lighter plug of your car or from a rechargeable 12V battery pack. The mount requires a 12VDC 3.5A power source, so the Celestron 17 amp hour capacity Power Tank #4517V is recommended for extended use in the field. The Power Tank can be recharged hundreds of times and will operate the scope all night long without danger of running out of power. Celestron AC adapter #2338PRO is also available to operate the scope from household AC in your back yard.
A sliding 11 pound counterweight is are locked in place a single hand-tighten thumbscrew. Additional optional counterweights are available, making it easy to rebalance the scope if you add heavy photographic accessories. The mount is easily capable of handling the scope and any reasonable combination of photographic accessories you might want to use. Snap-on covers keep the motor drives free from dust and debris. A set of optional vibration suppression pads #4525 under the tripod feet will improve the telescope damping time for steadier high power observing.
To make a casual polar alignment for visual use quick and easy, there’s a latitude scale and fine adjustment controls in both altitude and azimuth. The scope can be used over a wide 7° to 77° latitude range in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The scope includes Celestron’s unique All-Star computerized polar alignment that lets you do an accurate polar alignment even when Polaris is hidden by trees or buildings.
NexStar+ computer hand control: The supplied NexStar+ computerized hand control has an internal clock and a built-in database of more than 40,000 stars and deep space/solar system objects it can find for you. These include the complete RNGC, Messier, Caldwell, IC, and Abell catalogs; selected SAO stars, such as variables and multiple star systems; the planets, the Moon, and more. There is enhanced information on over 200 of the most note-worthy objects.
You can also store and edit the right ascension and declination of 100 additional user-defined objects of your own choosing, such as the comet and asteroid coordinates published monthly in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines. The computer control can find any of those objects with at your command, and accurately track them for visual or photographic application.
All of the database and telescope operation information is displayed on a double line, 16-character, liquid crystal display on the hand control. The NexStar+ hand control offers multiple language programming (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish). There are 19 fiber optic back-lit LED buttons to make it easy for you to control the computer without affecting your dark adapted vision. There are two AUX ports, an autoguider port, and an RS-232 communication port on the hand control that allows you to operate the telescope via a personal computer. The computer hand control software can be upgraded over the Internet from Celestron's website, assuring that you always have the most current software version at your command.
Several different alignment methods are built into the NexStar+ computer, allowing you to choose a level of computer accuracy in automatically finding objects with which you are comfortable. You can choose two-star align, quick align, one-star align, last alignment, or solar system align. Each of these computer-guided alignment methods is easily accomplished in only a few short minutes. You can be observing in less than 15 minutes after you first take your scope outdoors, including telescope assembly time.
In addition, the NexStar+ computer hand control is GPS-compatible (using an optional inexpensive SkySync GPS module) for full GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite accuracy. Adding GPS to the computer is something no competitive scope can do. With the Advanced VX Series go-to mount and the SkySync, orienting the scope in time and space on earth and aligning the scope on the sky becomes almost as easy as simply turning the scope on.
Adjustable height tripod: The tripod has 2” diameter steel legs with a center leg brace for rigidity, with excellent damping characteristics. The center leg brace is drilled to form a convenient accessory tray that holds 1.25" and 2" eyepiece to keep them up out of the dew-soaked grass. The tripod can be adjusted over a 44” to 64” height range.e.
Vixen-style dovetail: The Advanced VX mount has a Vixen-style dovetail slot that will accept any optical tube using a Vixen-style dovetail plate. A single large hand-tighten knob holds your optical tube in place, while a second lock knob prevents the tube from sliding off the mount should the hand-tighten knob loosen.
Two-year warranty: The Celestron Advanced VZ go-to mount has a two-year warranty, double that of most competitive go-to mounts.