AXD Equatorial Mount
Superior Performance and Innovative Design; New Vixen AXD Equatorial Mount and STAR BOOK TEN.
Combining the best functions of the ATLUX series of mounts and of the STAR BOOK controller, Vixen has created an easy to use and technically exceptional mount for all level of astronomers.
The structure of German equatorial mounts has been thoroughly examined in order to create the sturdy but lightweight AXD equatorial mount. The A7075 super-alloy, which is the strongest material among this group of aluminum alloys, is used for the R.A and DEC axes. The tension of the A7075 super-alloy is stronger than titanium a lightweight material of high strength. Its specific gravity is 38% less than titanium. Both axes are as thick as 50mm in diameter. The use of the A7075 super-alloy for the axes makes the AXD equatorial mount lightweight while retaining its sturdiness.
Sizes of the worm wheels have been increased in the AXD design. The AXD equatorial mount has 270 teeth in RA and 216 teeth in DEC. It achieves a high lovel of tracking accuracy and tracking stability.
The rotational parts of the AXD equatorial mount have 21 pieces of bearings in total. This provides extremely smooth motion for tracking and slewing to the target objects.
Vixen selected accurate pulse motors for better response and which enable the AXD equatorial mount to fully realize its performance potential. A drawback associated with the ticktack motion of large step pulse motors has been eliminated by a newly developed micro-step motion control system generating high speed 400 pulses per second. As a result, the AXD equatorial mount delivers surprisingly smooth tracking free of oscillation. The pulse motors of the AXD equatorial mount maintain sufficient torque. This is most evident when you observe at high magnification and for high resolution CCD imaging.
Vixen's micro-step motion control system accurately works the pulse motors from low speed to high speed. This eliminates the need for reduction gears in the motor gear train and drastically decreases backlash of the gears.
The periodic motion of each AXD equatorial mount has been measured precisely and stored in the nonvolatile memory inside the mount at Vixen's factory before shipment. This is called VPEC. The VPEC works automatically as you use the mount. It provides tracking as accurate as +/- 4 arc seconds. You will be able to raise the tracking accuracy further by adding your own recorded PEC as the occasion demands.
The flattened side-forms with minimal protrusions are inherited from former generations of ATLUX. The white and silver colored external appearance of the AXD equatorial mount looks elegant and functional. It stands as the flagship of Vixen's full line of well-designed mounts and telescopes.
Polished silver anodized setting circles in R.A. and Declination have both beauty and utility. They not only match the white AXD body nicely but also allow you to point your telescope to a target well within the provided verniers. The R.A reads 1 minute (hour angle) and the Declination reads 10 arc minutes (or about 0.167 degrees).
A 50mm thick retractable counterweight bar made of stainless steel is stored into the declination body. It is helpful for a quick set up.
A 6×20mm polar axis scope with illuminated reticle is provided with the AXD equatorial mount. With the help of a built-in Polaris position scale, it achieves an easy and accurate polar alignment within 3 arc minutes in the northern hemisphere. For polar alignment in the southern hemisphere, a pattern of four stars in Octantis is used as a scale.
All the electronic parts inside the AXD equatorial mount are located on one electric circuit board to simplify electrical wiring. The mount is equipped with a highly reliable electric circuit board.
The massive R.A. and DEC motor units are placed in the lower part of the declination body so that the center of balance of the AXD equatorial mount shifts to below the crossing point of the R.A. and DEC axes. This makes the lower portion of the declination body act as a counterweight. Additionally, the low-profile mount head allows the AXD equatorial mount to balance to with less weight.
The mount head of the AXD equatorial mount is an anodized aluminum plate that is resistant to scratches. Threaded holes on the mounting head for an optical tube cradle accept Vixen's mounting plates and are designed for other manufacturer's plates.
A sturdy tripod or a pedestal with a high grade of stability is essential to fully utilize the AXD equatorial mount. The exclusive AXD-TR203 tripod for the mount with 55mm thick legs, is constructed so that the legs are strong enough against the tension. This achieves perfect stability when using the AXD equatorial mount.
STAR BOOK TEN Controller
The LCD of STAR BOOK TEN is an easy to see 5-inch TFT color liquid-crystal display. Its high-resolution WVGA screen (800×480, 65535 colors) shows you vivid images of stars.
As astronomical observation is done outside at night, the observer' eyes are adjusted to a dark field environment. A bight white light from the screen will reduce night vision and it will be more difficult for the observer to temporarily see in the darkness. The night vision feature illuminates the whole screen in red, if applied, and will limit the brightness to the observer's eyes.
All command and direction keys can be backlit in red to let you identify the keys in the dark. The backlit keys can be adjusted or turned off.
STAR BOOK TEN has a CPU with 324MHz clock speed which is about 5 times as fast as the CPU of STAR BOOK. This makes star chart screens more vivid and quick to load.
The STAR BOOK TEN allows you to call up menus of celestial objects to target in SCOPE MODE as well as in CHART MODE. In addition, you can choose your target by scrolling the star chart screen in CHART MODE. Frequently used menus are allocated to each of ten keys. This allows you to call up a certain menu directly by hitting a corresponding number key.
STAR BOOK TEN contains more than 270,000 celestial objects, including 258,977 stars from the SAO star catalogue, 109 Messier objects, 7,840 NGC objects and 5,386 IC objects, the sun, moon and planets of our solar system. You can call up objects by its common name if available.
Periodic error corrections you have done to improve tracking accuracy of the mount are saved and retained if you turn off the power. The P-PEC data can be called up next time you use the mount for visual observation and astrophotography.
Entering orbital elements of a satellite allows you to slew to an artificial satellite and track it automatically with STAR BOOK TEN. You can enter the orbital elements of up to 10 satellites directly on the STAR BOOK TEN or via a PC through LAN connection.
Entering orbital elements of a comet allows you to slew to a comet and track it automatically with STAR BOOK TEN. You can enter the orbital elements of up to 10 comets directly on the STAR BOOK TEN or via a PC through LAN connection.
STAR BOOK TEN can store user defined objects. You can save additional celestial objects and interesting celestial objects that you are planning to photograph. You can enter position data of up to 10 objects directly on the STAR BOOK TEN or via a PC through LAN connection.
It is possible to change the tracking rate according to the type of object you observe. The motion of the sun, moon, planet or comet can be followed independently of the sidereal rate.
An accurate alignment can be achieved with the STAR BOOK TEN by simply choosing two stars at random of over 10 degrees apart from each other. If your additional star for alignment is not suitable to reinforce the accuracy of alignment, the STAR BOOK TEN will distinguish its position data from the appropriate ones with a mark. Thus, the marked position data is not included. If your additional star for alignment is located within 10 degrees, the STAR BOOK TEN will alert you with a dialog box. If you continue the alignment for addition, already existing position data within 10 degrees will be erased. You can enter the position data of up to 20 stars on the STAR BOOK TEN.
STAR BOOK TEN has a large capacity of backup memory where your alignment information can be stored. This allows you to turn off the power of the mount temporarily to save batteries. The mount resumes tracking and "Go To" slewing perfectly when you turn on the power again.
You can customize information of celestial objects displayed on the screen of the STAR BOOK TEN according to your needs of operation. The display of the celestial objects can be limited to the following:-
|Constellation||ON or OFF of constellation line, constellation name and/or its abbreviated name|
|Star by magnitude at the widest star chart||Brighter than 4th mag., brighter than 5th mag.,
brighter than 6th mag., brighter than 7th mag.,
brighter than 8th mag.
|Star by name at the widest star chart||OFF, brighter than 1st mag., brighter than 2nd mag., brighter than 3rd mag., brighter than 4th mag., brighter than 5th mag. or always ON|
|Stars by Bayer designation at the widest star chart||OFF, brighter than 1st mag., brighter than 2nd mag., brighter than 3rd mag., brighter than 4th mag., brighter than 5th mag. or always ON|
|Sun, Moon and Planets||ON or OFF|
|Comet||ON or OFF|
|Satellite||ON or OFF|
|RA DEC Grids||ON or OFF|
|Center Circle||ON or OFF|
|Catalogue Objects||ON or OFF of Messier, NGC and/or IC objects by magnitude|
The direction keys provide a direction of the movement of the AXD equatorial mount for the following modes:-
|ALTAZ||Terrestrial coordinates||It allows you to slews the telescope to a horizontally (left and right) and a vertically (up and down) direction by intuition.|
|RADEC||Celestial coordinates||It allows you to slew the telescope parallel to the direction of the right ascension and declination.|
|X-Y||Mechanical coordinates||It allows you to slew the telescope along with the two mechanical axes of the mount. If the mount is precisely polar aligned, the telescope will turn in the direction of RA. One key corresponds to one direction only.|
Your record of periodic error corrections is retained for the next use after the mount is powered off.
This allows for smooth tracking of the mount without backlash motion.
This function allows you to perform autoguiding in combination with optional accessories for imaging.
The speed of automatic Go To slewing can be varied from the maximum 800 times of the sidereal rate to decrease its electricity consumption and the sound of the motor.
This is a power saving option that allows you to minimize the electricity consumptions of the motors according to a less weight loaded.
This option allows you to set up the mount for either easy visual observation or serious astrophotography.
|Equatorial without Polar Setting||Establishing star alignment in several points spread across the sky will make the Go To slewing and tracking more accurate. No need for a polar alignment.|
|Equatorial with Polar Setting||The accuracy of the tracking depends on how precisely the mount has been aligned to the celestial pole. The mount does not work in the direction of DEC for corrections unless the corresponding keys are pressed. Suitable for long exposure astrophotography.|
This option allows you to compensate or diminish the affect of the atmospheric refraction to the celestial objects near the horizon.
The mount has a safety function which allows the optical tube to turn in the opposite direction when the observing object comes to its culmination. However, if you are imaging and plan to do an exposure over the culmination, use this option to change the timing of the reverse motion of the optical tube.
STAR BOOK TEN includes an expansion slot. The expansion slot allows you to retrofit an expansion module which functions as autoguider at present. An expansion module for auto-guiding is optional.
AXD Equatorial Mount + AX103S Optical Tube
+ AXD-TR102 Tripod + AXD Half Pillar
AXD Equatorial Mount + AX103S Optical Tube + AXD-P85
+ AXD Half Pillar
AXD Equatorial Mount + VMC260L Optical Tube for AXD
+ TR-102 Tripod
AXD Equatorial Mount + VMC260L Optical Tube for AXD
+ AXD-P85 + AXD Half Pillar
optional parts which can be used with AXD Equatorial Mount Series
AXD Half Pillar
AXD Large Accessory Plate
VMC260L Optical Tube Unit
(for AXD equatorial mount)
There are other optional parts that help you enjoy astronomical observation further. See the Optional Parts for Astronomical Telescopes for more detail.