The Meade 16” permanent equatorial pier is custom-made for the latitude of your observing site. It is available for separate sale if you add an observatory at a later date after having purchased the altazimuth tripod version of a Meade 16” catadioptric telescope, as well as being supplied as standard equipment with the equatorial pier versions of these scopes. The pier is fabricated from welded iron pipe, 10” in diameter and 0.5” thick, painted a dark charcoal gray. It weighs approximately 240 lbs. The exact weight will depend on the latitude at which it will be used. The observing latitude should be specified when the pier is ordered. The latitude of your fabricated pier will be within 1/2° of the latitude requested, but fabrication and welding tolerances may prevent the pier latitude from being exact. Some shimming of the pier during installation may be required to achieve an exact polar alignment.
The base is a 24” diameter by 0.5” thick circular iron plate, with three 8.5” high triangular fins welded to the base and to the 10” vertical pier to add structural support. Three slots are cut into the base plate at 120° intervals, centered on a 20” diameter circle, to fit onto mounting bolts set into your observatory floor. Each slot is 3/4” wide and subtends a 5° arc to allow the pier to be rotated slightly from side to side for polar alignment purposes. The pier typically measures 39.5” from ground level to the point at which the pier tilts to the north to match the observing latitude. The additional height of the pier above that point will depend on the observing latitude, but typically adds about 12” to 13” to the overall pier height.
The scope mounting plate at the top of the pier is a 16” diameter by 0.5” thick circular iron plate with a 14.5” wide x 0.8” deep rectangular lip projecting from the north (low) side of the plate to add support to the control panel protruding from the scope’s drive base. Three 33/64” holes are cut into the mounting plate at 120° intervals, centered on a 13.5” diameter circle, to allow the scope drive base to be bolted to the mounting plate. The top hole is slotted to help you install the drive base by holding the base (with one bolt partly threaded in) onto the mount for you while you thread in the two bottom bolts without having to hold the base in place yourself.
The triangular fin under the flat portion of the scope mounting plate (under the control panel) should point due north when the pier is set up, with the slot on the opposite side of the pier facing due south. The photo shows the pier with a scope mounted on it. You can see how the triangular fin is centered under the scope drive base, pointing north towards the north celestial pole along with the scope’s fork arms.
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