Which telescope mount should I get?
Q. Which telescope mount should I get?
A. If you're a complete novice then an Alt-Azimuth mount (AZ) is the easiest to start with as the telescope goes where you point it. The Alt-Azimuth mounts just swing up, down, left and right. You have to move the scope along every so often to follow the stars, moons and planets. An Alt-azimuth mount is both cheaper and lighter for the same degree of stability, advantages that are offered by an Equatorial mount design.
If you've used an Alt-Azimuth mount and have found its limitations then an Equatorial mount (EQ) is significantly better at getting a precise aim and for tracking with the Earth's rotation. An Equatorial mount is designed so you can easily track the motion of the sky as the earth turns and its motions indicate celestial north south and east west in the eyepiece. This is a great help when you're trying to find your way among the stars with a map.
If you're happy with computers then a basic ''GoTo'' computerised mount is a great starting point. Adding a motor drive to an Equatorial mount will help take the labour out of star tracking.