Here is a picture of my new telescope, a William Optics Megrez 72 which I have mounted on my Astrotrac. The telescope is mounted on the ball head, which is on the Astrotrac, which is on the geared head, which is on the tripod.
In this picture I have an extension tube, barlow lens and camera (via adapter) attached to the scope. This is its most precarious configuration! I have enough parts for three configurations
- 344mm f4.8 with William Optics flattener III (0.8 reducer).
- 430mm f6 prime focus with extension tube.
- 860mm f12 with 2x barlow and extension tube.
The geared head (underneath) seems happy dealing with the load so far. The ball head can hold it all too, and at high elevations, but making fine adjustments is difficult. Framing the shots is hard, although I've found that using my angle finder is useful for bright targets. The whole setup, supported in the middle, is susceptible to movement so you have to be careful not to jog it during exposure. The megrez support has cork pads and the quick release plate has rubber pads, so between them it is quite springy. Still can't get used to all my equipment being held in place by tiny thumbscrews!
The second picture shows crops from a two minute exposure around Capella through the reducer/flattener. You can see centre and corner areas. My question is, is that normal for the corner stars using the flattener? I want to try the same test with prime focus but no chance yet.
I have used the scope visually and looking at Jupiter was lovely. My highest power is with a 15mm eyepiece and 2x barlow (= x57) and I could see four moons and (I think) two bands on the planet.
So, if anyone else is thinking along the same lines... it is possible and a very flexible setup. I can be outside and viewing in no time, aligned and imaging in not much longer. The hardest part is framing the shot. I can't fully endorse it for photography yet because I haven't had much experience, but I'm hopeful. I can see that I might have to improve the stability of the mount.