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Why All The Weight?

The German Equatorial Mount is a platform whose invention is attributed to Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), a famous name in optics illustrated to the left. The German equatorial mount permits a telescope or other payloads to track celestial objects. Incidentally, in Germany the German mount is called a "deutsche montierung".

How Much to Buy? The German mount usually relies on weight(s) on one end of the Declination axis to counterbalance the weight of a telescope or other payload that is installed at the other end of this rotating axis. These weights are called "counterweight" or "counter weight" and slide or thread onto a shaft that extends from the mount Declination axis. The weights are perforated to slip onto Vixen Mount Counterweight Shafts, this shaft diameter is 0.781 inch / 19.84 mm and so the perforations in the Vixen weights are about 0.795 inch / 20.29 mm in diameter. Some German mounts including the Vixen SPHINX SX do not need counterweights to accommodate their planned moderate payloads.

Incidentally, there is rarely a need to add weights to the telescope's Right Ascension axis since most longer telescopes are slid back and forth either in their Mouting Rings, or on their Dovetail Plate sliding hardware to balance this axis.

Company Seven advises our customers to budget for an amount of counterweight that will equal about 2/3 of the anticipated total payload. That is to say if one plans to buy a telescope which weighs 12 lbs / 5.5 kg, and the telescope Mounting Plate, Mirror Diagonal, Eyepiece and Finderscope combine to add another 5 lbs / 2.3 kg then one should buy a total of 11 lbs / 5.1 kg of counterweight. if sometime in the future you anticipate becoming involved in adding more payloads (Photo-Guide Telescope, Camera, etc.) then you might wish to have a spare counterweight on hand.

Right: Vixen GPDX German equatorial mount head shown as provided with one 8.14 lb / 3.7 kg Counterweight included (65,529 bytes)
Click on the image to see enlarged view (131,256 bytes).

Counterweights and Their Specifications


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