Explore Scientific Twilight 2 altazimuth mount


Availability: In stock

Standard shipping: $19.95
Enjoy the simplicity of an Alt-Azimuth mount during the night of observing.  The Explore Scientific Twilight 2 mount allows you to share the joy with another by allowing you to mount a second scope in tandem.
Our Product #: TWI2
Explore Scientific Product #: MAZ02-01

Product Description

The Explore Scientific Twilight II altazimuth mount is all about more . . . more payload capacity, more stability, and more telescopes! You can mount two telescopes on the Twilight II mount simultaneously, and it handles them both with ease.

The Twilight II altazimuth mount head has two Vixen-style dovetail slots, one on either side of the head. You can set up any short focal length refractor having a Vixen-style dovetail bar on one side of the Twilight II for low power wide angle views, with a long focal length Vixen-style dovetail refractor set up simultaneously on the other side for high power close-ups. Simply move your head from one scope to the other to change the power. There's no more fumbling in the dark to change eyepieces and refocus every time you want to change magnifications. 

The Explore Scientific Twilight II Mount is also great at star parties and for public outreach. You can handle two observers with one mount simultaneously, without the need to run back and forth between mounts. At various conferences and outreach events, Explore Scientific has set up their 35 pound 152mm refractor on one side of a Twilight II and their 22 pound 127mm on the other, with no problems at all.

Of course, you don't have to use two scopes simultaneously. With its generous 60 pound payload capacity, the Twilight II can handle even a large single optical tube with ease.

Large chrome knobs on the heavy-duty Explore Scientific Twilight II mount head make it easy to adjust the clutch locks in altitude and azimuth, even with gloves on. The tripod has 2" chrome-plated adjustable height steel legs. A threaded bolt through the center of the tripod's spreader bar and into the mount head itself locks the tripod legs rigidly open to minimize vibrations. For easy access to your eyepieces, the spreader bar has cutouts to hold up to three 2" eyepieces.

The Twilight II mount by itself puts the eyepiece of reflectors and catadioptrics, such as the Explore Scientific Comet Hunter Maksutov-Newtonian, at a comfortable viewing height. With longer focal length scopes, such as the Explore Scientific 152mm and 127mm refractors, you can add additional height to your Twilight II Mount by using the included 8" pier extension. The pier extension raises the altazimuth mount head 8" obove the tripod. This makes for a more comfortable observing position when using longer refractors.

Twilight II Mount Specifications:

  • Length of tripod fully collapsed with mount head for transport: 38.5" long 
  • Length of tripod fully collapsed with mount head and standard equipment pier extension  for transport: 46" 
  • Height of tripod open, legs fully extended with the mount head, but without the pier extension: 50" at highest point, 47.5" to the center of the mounting bracket. 
  • Height of tripod open, legs fully extended with mount head and standard pier extension: 58" to highest point, 55.5" to the center of the mounting bracket. 
  • Weight of tripod & mount head: 22.3 lb. 
  • Weight of tripod, mount head, and standard equipment pier extension: 24.6 lb.

Tech Details


Review by:
The mount is solid and can support the weight of two, e.g., 5" refractors or the equivalent.

If used with a single telescope, or two 'scopes of different weights, counterweights are needed - repeat needed - for balance. ES doesn't provide either counterweights or counterweight bars; so, you need to go with a third party.
The mount head uses plastic bushing inserts as friction bearings for azimuth motion. These inserts have a substantially different coefficient of thermal expansion than does the mount head metal. The result is that the bushings will misalign in the mount head and then bind, freezing the mount and making it impossible to disassemble. (If this happens to you, place the assembled mount in the freezer over night, and then use a rubber mallet to break the head free from the base.)
Several CloudyNights observers have found that removing the bushings and using thrust bearings for the azimuth- a fix that costs no more than $5 - $10 dollars - dramatically improves the mounts performance and eliminates the problem of binding.
The mount also uses low-quality hex nuts - soft metal, easily stripped and easily cross-threaded - in its assembly. These must be loosened and tightened to use the mount with its extender.

The low rating is because, as provided, the mount is prone to binding, uses poorly matched materials (bushings and mount head), and low-quality hex screws. That it uses these is not because doing something better would be more expensive: fixing these problems can be done at home for about 1% the cost of the mount: no more. Making these changes gets one a great mount; however, at the cost of this mount you shouldn't have to make these changes. (Posted on 10/4/2019)
Review by:
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. 5 stars for stability and clamps, but less for alt-az motion - more below.

- massive and stable tripod, a really sturdy mount. It has the least damping time I've used.
- nicely machined dovetail clamps that stay clamped (I was worried about no 2nd lock screw, but these stay tightened)
- offers direct star-hopping use like a Dobsonian mount

- pier extension helps with 4-inch f/10 (Still a long scope for this mount/tripod) and adds height for great observing comfort with shorter optical tubes
- the altitude motion is smooth, after a mod: I noticed that turning the alt axis thru 360° hit a rough spot pointing 60° - 75° above the horizon, with nice smooth motion otherwise. I flipped the dovetail clamps 180° so the rough spot is now where a scope would be looking at the ground... for use on the sky the altitude motion is now buttery smooth as advertised.

- I bought mine at a sale then was too busy to use much for several months. After over a year of use that included a couple of full days solar outreach with small H-a and white light scopes, and many backyard setups, the azimuth motion began to bind in colder weather (below 50's F). This ranges from annoying "stiction" as start-stop motion, all the way to almost immobile azimuth motion (tripod rocks while scope won't budge) and packing up for the night. There are threads on Cloudy Nights forums for the Twilight II about lubes, milk jug washers and disk roller bearings as inexpensive fixes for the azimuth axis. I'm working my way thru these from least intrusive to see if I can defeat the cool weather added "stiction" in azimuth. Meanwhile I use 2 scopes even if one stays capped to add a counterweight, that helps but doesn't eliminate the issue.

Summary - extremely sturdy mount with some refined features, and others that may need work by owner to reach satisfactory operation (Posted on 11/25/2018)
Review by:
I like this mount because it has a nice capacity and has a smooth motion. Also appreciate the large adjustment knobs. The tripod is also super sturdy. I like alt-az mounts but a good upgrade would be to have an equatorial wedge option for this mount....hint hint.. (Posted on 11/22/2018)
Review by:
Not long ago acquired a ES 6” Refractor scope. It proved a bit too heavy for my equatorial mount therefore I turned my attention to the ES Twilight 2. I must admit it handles the “big cannon” smoothly and I can also set a second scope like my AT72ED to enjoy both wide fields and closer views. The best part is portability and ease of use. Remember this mount does not track. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
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