The type of mount you choose is central to your enjoyment of astronomy, and altazimuth mounts continue to prove a reliable and versatile choice. While there is some overlap between an alt-az mount and an equatorial mount, they are each suited to different things. Our selection of altazimuth mounts will give you a rock-solid foundation for tracking the motion of stars and other celestial objects.
Our inventory includes professional-grade camera mounts, heavy-duty tripods, electronic “level-and-go” mounting systems, low- and high-latitude base mounts, and more. From smooth, manually operated systems to digitized models, you’ll find options for every ability level and budget. Models that fall in the <$1,000 range are perfect for beginners and those looking for the eyepiece and/or basic astrophotography needs, while more expensive models allow those with high-end telescopes to get the most out of their gear.
The advantages of alt-az mounts include ease of use and quick setup time, mainly because your telescope doesn’t need to be aligned with Polaris to begin. Additionally, there’s no need to balance your alt-azimuth mount since counterweights generally aren’t necessary — though make sure to balance your telescope in the saddle to make things go smoothly. To begin, simply level your tripod and perform a basic alignment with the stars.
One of the drawbacks of alt-az mounts is their inability to enable long-exposure astrophotography. Field rotation will begin to appear after 20 or 30 seconds (an effect that equatorial mounts inherently solve for), though for many purposes, this allows plenty of time to get a great shot. That simply means buying the right camera. Additionally, you can use cutting-edge astronomy software to stack your photos and produce much more detail and color in your final image. If you’re using an alt-az mount, you can stack several hundred 5- to 15-second exposures on top of each other, allowing you to view the surface of the moon or the planets.
There’s a good reason why alt-az mounts are so popular. They’re high-quality, great for a wide range of different astronomy needs, and they prevent much frustration for beginner or casual astrophotographers. Buy the correct alt-az mount, and you’ll enjoy years of exploration. If in the future you want to perform more deep-space astrophotography, you’ll want to upgrade to an equatorial mount.
If you have questions about our alt-az mounts, simply contact our friendly and knowledgeable Sales Team.