I have been using my faithful Celestron CGE mount for nearly 11 years since I got back into astronomy in 2008. I originally bought the CGE in a package with my trusty C9.25" SCT and both have performed wonderfully for me over the years. When I got aperture fever and bought a C14 Edge I also bought a Software Bisque MX mount to handle the bigger load. The MX has its home in my backyard observatory and that is where it will stay as it is too big for me to take to dark sites. However, I did take my C14 with me into the field mounted on the CGE. Despite the fact that the C14 is too heavy for the CGE I was still able to practice camera assisted viewing without too much trouble since most exposures were very short. The combination made for an amazing short exposure EAA rig bringing out great detail and color in short order, especially using the Hyperstar at f/1.9.
However, as time went on and I began to get the astrophotography bug it became clear that the C14 was not suited to the CGE. Oh, I could get some decent images from time to time with the pair when I used my Hyperstar and did not push the exposure too long. But I would more often than not get noticeable star trailing. At the same time it became clear to me that the C14 was getting much too heavy for me to carry into the field. I could no longer attach it to the CGE without help. So, as I wrote in a blog here last Nov, I finally sold my C14 and bought a C11 Edge in replacement. At 28lbs, the C11 is not light, but it is much lighter than the 46lb C14. And I still have a large aperture scope in the C11 to pursue my interests in astrophotography.
It was also clear to me that the time had come to move on from the CGE even though it is still a wonderful mount for its class. The C11, especially with added accessories would be pushing the load limit of the CGE. So I decided to follow the MX at home with a MyT for field use. This way I could concentrate on The Sky X as the software to run my mount whether at home or in the field and optimize my understanding of all of its features rather than switching back and forth like I had been with the NextRemote and TSX software to date.
I ordered the MyT in Feb along with its corresponding tripod and received them both in March. Fortunately I purchased both before a substantial price increase of the mount. With the Covid virus shutting down all star parties I set up the mount with the C11 inside my backyard observatory. To simulate field conditions I used the tripod on the wooden floor of the observatory instead of using my pier. Not ideal for vibrations but good enough for testing. While the mount is still not light at 34lbs, it is still quite manageable. And since the tripod sits lower to the ground the lift is not all that high. The tripod itself is very light and compact.
Even though I had been using TSX since 2012 there was much I found that I really did not understand until I started using it with the MyT. My first objective was to get a TPoint model and accurate polar alignment. I found a couple of good YouTube video tutorials to help by Charles Walker www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pbgJ24_01I and another one by Richard Wright www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cy9pKSLwXk&t=5s . I highly recommend either of these to help walk you through the process, especially since the manual has multiple different descriptions which can be very confusing to the beginner. While I had done TPoint models before, I really did not understand how to get the best out of them until I watched these tutorials and tried it myself.
The other thing that was new with the latest version of TSX was support for my ASI camera which was not there in the previous Camera Add-On. This meant that I could do an automated TPoint run which is light years ahead of doing it manually. Another improvement is the addition of the Accurate Polar Alignment feature which is run after the TPoint model and Super model are complete. The best way to describe it is that it is pretty much the same as the Celestron All Star Polar Alignment which slews to a star, allows you to center the star with the hand control, then moves to the location where the star should be if accurately polar aligned requiring you to use the mechanical Alt and Az adjustments to re-center the star and completing the Accurate Polar Aligment. The MyT behaves so much better with the mechanical adjustments than the CGE. There was a lot of cross talk between the two adjustments on the CGE making it difficult to get the star precisely center. But with the MyT there is virtually no cross talk between axes, which is what I expected when I shelled out $6K for this mount. With this done I have been able to get 90 to 120sec unguided images at f/10 without noticeable star trailing.
I still have a lot more to do such as PEC training, learning to use the automated focusing application in TSX and then guiding. But with Covid it seems that I have time to work on each of these one by one in no particular hurry. So far I am happy with my decision to switch to the MyT for field use. My CGE is still available for a second solid mount if needed. Now all I need is for the star parties to return so I can take this new rig out for a test spin.
If you are interested in the MyT, along with the tripod and carry case you can find them here:
MyT - my mount for travel. Not too heavy and plenty of capacity
Tripod for MyT - nice light weight but sturdy tripod
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