Available now for pre-order with a $5000 non-refundable deposit.
This Software Bisque Paramount ME II robotic German equatorial mount has . . .
• 240 lb (109 kg) instrument payload capacity
• Maximum 7 arc second peak-to-peak periodic error, before using periodic error correction
• Belt-driven worms for virtually zero backlash
• Maximum 4°/second slewing
• GEM design allows the right ascension axis to track past the meridian for up to 3 hours (45°)
• All motors and cables are mounted internally for protection
• Includes the most comprehensive software package available with any mount
• 30 arc second or better all-sky pointing, using supplied TPoint software
Heavy duty mount: Every Paramount ME II is custom machined from 1/2” thick 6061 aluminum at Software Bisque's own production facility. The mount head, less counterweights, weighs 84 pounds, but will support an instrument payload of 240 lbs (480 lbs with counterweights), compared with the 150 lb capacity of the original Paramount ME. The 11.4" diameter right ascension and 9.5” diameter declination gears (on 3” r.a. and dec shafts) combine with precision 1” brass worms to provide a maximum periodic error of a mere seven arc seconds peak-to-peak – even before periodic error correction is used. When periodic error correction is applied, the resulting peak-to-peak error can be reduced to approximately one arc second or less.
Simple switches engage and disengage the right ascension and declination worms for tracking and balancing. The right ascension and declination axes are supported by 8” 48-contact point ball bearings. Large diameter through-the-mount cable conduits let you add cables without removing the optical tube assembly, or altering the polar alignment, with no mount disassembly required.
A Paramount Versa-Plate for attaching optical tube assemblies is standard equipment, as is a 1.875” diameter (47.6 cm) counterweight shaft and two 30 lb (13.6 kg) counterweights. The altitude and azimuth polar alignment knobs are calibrated, so that making adjustments using the supplied TPoint Polar Alignment Report software is simple and very accurate.
Two brushless DC servomotors with a full 30 in-oz of torque are used to drive the scope. (The previous and highly acclaimed 150 lb payload Paramount ME used only 11 in-oz torque motors.) If your mount is used for survey astronomy all night, every clear night, no other type of motor is sufficient. Other commercial mounts use "brushed motors" that don't have nearly the life expectancy of brushless DC servomotors and are not designed to be operated for long periods at the (relatively slow) sidereal rate. A 200 watt AC power supply is standard equipment (compared with the 80 watt supply of the original Paramount ME).
The DC servomotors provide fast slew speeds and consistent torque at all slew rates. The maximum slew and tracking rate is four degrees per second in both right ascension axis and declination. A temperature-compensated internal oscillator with better than 10 parts per million accuracy ensures accurate tracking rates over a wide temperature range.
Advanced electronics: The Paramount ME II includes Software Bisque's fourth generation dual axis telescope control system. Its integrated USB 2.0 computer to mount communication interface can be controlled via the supplied TheSkyX Professional Edition software, using either Mac OS X or Windows (7/Vista/XP, 32- and 64-bit), right out of the box. There is an integrated two port USB 2.0 hub at the camera-end of the mount, right where USB ports are needed most.
The position of the motors is monitored 3333 times each second to ensure optimal tracking accuracy and smooth, consistent slewing at all rates and all times. Tracking and "in progress slews" are immediately stopped in the event the mount's payload encounters a fixed object, such as the side of the pier. Slewing and tracking rates can be configured with 56-bit precision. That means that the right ascension and declination motors can be rotated at 0 to 4000 revolutions per minute and virtually anywhere in between. This provides very precise tracking and slewing, with the ability to track comets, asteroids, and even fast- or slow-moving objects such as low earth orbit satellites or any object that moves above or below the sidereal rate.
The supplied hand control features an integrated mini-joystick control and configurable rate, a five-position switch that allows single-handed mount control, an integrated bright red LED flashlight, a sturdy "hang anywhere" cable loop, and a 15-foot coiled hand control to mount cable.
Programmable periodic error correction with "seeing agnostic" periodic error curve fitting is built into TheSkyX Professional Edition software supplied with the Paramount ME II. AutoHome™ homing capability (to better than one arc second resolution with built-in sensor circuitry on each axis) ensures that the mount always knows its orientation (after an initialization process called "homing"), even after power failure. There is a configurable park position for operation in a remote location dome. There is a soft "reboot" capability. This means that the control system can be restarted through software and does not have to be manually turned off, then on.
Supplied software: The Paramount ME II comes with the world's best and most powerful astronomy suite of astronomy software. The Paramount ME II includes Software Bisque's TheSkyX Professional Edition (with periodic error correction curve fitting); the TPoint Add On to TheSkyX Professional Edition (with ProTrack and Super Model features); the Camera Add On to TheSkyX Professional Edition; and a Multi-OS and Six License Add On to give you the option to operate the Paramount ME II on both Mac and Windows operating systems, using up to six different computers. Newer firmware versions can be downloaded directly from the Software Bisque web page and updated using TheSkyX Professional Edition.
Capable of remotely-located robotic operation via the internet, or hands-on control in your observatory, the 240 lb payload capacity Software Bisque Paramount ME II will provide the advanced large-instrument astrophotographer, school or university, or dedicated visual observer with truly professional-grade performance.