exceptionally well-made and stable Astro-Tech Voyager altazimuth
mount can be the heart of your very portable telescope/mount system.
It is perfect for grab-and-go terrestrial observing and casual
visual astronomy. The lightweight all-metal Astro-Tech Voyager can
hold substantial optical tubes weighing up to 20 pounds (9kg), but
there are no heavy counterweights to attach to balance a heavy tube
and no alignment on the celestial pole needed to start observing.
Simply slide your optical tube into the Vixen-style dovetail on the
Voyager mount’s altitude axis and start viewing.
review in the July 2008 Sky & Telescope said the Astro-Tech Voyager
altazimuth mount had “excellent fit and finish" that made it “a
handsome piece of equipment." The review said it was “unusually
stable for its size and weight" and was packed with “lots of
first-class engineering" that made it “a really sweet grab-and-go
setup that’s ideal for viewing day or night"
mount has two slow-motion control knobs (one altitude and one
azimuth), plus an 8.25" flexible control cable that can be
substituted for the short azimuth control knob for more convenient
tracking when the mount is used with physically longer scopes.
Sky & Telescope review said the Voyager’s “smooth slow motion
controls" were one of the mount’s many virtues. Their value was
“immediately obvious . . . Couple them with the Voyager’s stability,
and it was a pleasure viewing at magnifications approaching 200x –
something I can’t say for most alt-azimuth mounts that you have to
push by hand."
Astro-Tech Voyager mount has a dual automatic friction clutch system
that lets you quickly point a scope towards a target manually, then
track it in any direction with the smooth 120-tooth worm gear 360°
slow-motion controls. There’s no need to undo mechanical clutches or
locks in order to aim your scope as you have to do when conventional
slow motion controls run out of travel before you reach your target.
If you want to aim your scope at another part of the sky, simply
push it. The friction clutches disengage and the scope moves freely
360° in any direction. Once you’re on or near the target, the
clutches engage again automatically and the slow motion control
knobs let you center the object precisely and track it accurately as
it moves across the sky or landscape. Friction adjustment knobs are
provided to let you adjust the freedom of the manual slewing motion
of the scope to accommodate different payload weights.
Sky & Telescope review said the Voyager’s adjustable slip clutches
were yet another of the mount’s “immediately obvious" virtues. The
reviewer said, “I found it easy to set the tension such that I could
push the scope to any part of the sky and then use the slow-motion
controls without additional fiddling."
angle of the mount’s altitude arm that holds your scope can be
changed from vertical to 45° on either side of vertical. This allows
you to put the azimuth control knob on either the right or left hand
side of the mount to suit your personal observing preferences. Using
the arm in an angled position also reduces the amount of declination
drift for many observers when tracking celestial objects. Following
objects across the sky becomes primarily a matter of turning the
azimuth slow motion control, with only an occasional tweak of the
altitude knob needed to keep an object centered in declination.
Astro-Tech Voyager mount has a standard Vixen dovetail mounting
slot. It will accept any telescope mounting shoe or dovetail plate
designed to fit into the dovetail slot of a Vixen Sphinx or Great
Polaris, Celestron CG5 or Advanced Series, or Meade LXD55 or LXD75
mount. If your optical tube has mounting rings only, you will need
to supply your own dovetail plate to mount your optical tube on the
Voyager. The Vixen #SDP2661 is suggested.
Voyager’s adjustable height two-section aluminum tripod legs have
pointed tips for a solid stance on dirt or grass. Damping time is
very short, for steady images, even while tracking. The Sky &
Telescope review said the Voyager’s stability was yet another of its
“immediately obvious" virtues. The reviewer said that “Viewing at
100x, I found the vibrations from a good rap on the scope dissipated
in about a second. This is excellent performance. Furthermore, a set
of vibration-suppression pads under the tripod legs cut the damping
time almost in half, which is outstanding."
fittings on the legs are metal. There are no flimsy plastic hinges
to break or crack in use. The length of the legs can be adjusted to
set the height of the centerline of the dovetail slot in the
mounting plate to between approximately 33.5" and 47.75" high. This
lets you choose the most comfortable seated observing position. The
knobs that lock the tripod legs at the desired height are
thoughtfully placed on the inside of the legs, so they can’t snag
clothing or scrape shins in the dark. A bubble level is built into
the tripod head.
three-legged folding spreader bar assembly holds the aluminum legs
firmly open, but lets them be closed quickly and simultaneously for
transport when you’re finished observing by simply lifting up on the
hinged center of the spreader bar assembly. The spreader bar will
accept any of a number of optional accessory trays. A set of tools
(4mm and 6mm hex head wrenches for the altitude arm and control
knobs and a triangular flat metal key for the friction adjustment
knobs) are supplied with the Voyager.
complete Astro-Tech Voyager mount and tripod assembly weighs only
13.75 lbs, yet has a true 20 pound payload capacity, more than most
other altazimuth mounts, even those considerably more expensive.
Compare features, payload, and price. Why pay more for less
performance? We think the Astro-Tech Voyager is a clear cut above
the others. And Sky & Telescope agrees that the Voyager is “a really
sweet grab-and-go setup that’s ideal for viewing day or night."