Explore Scientific Twilight I Mount
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
A nice mount once you fix all the problems
#astronomy #mounts #explorescientific
I recently purchased a Celestron C6 SCT telescope and was looking for a lightweight mount with slow-motion controls that would handle the scope well. I also wanted a mount that was reasonably cheap given budget considerations. Unfortunately, telescope mounts usually follow a situation where you can choose two of the following three features: cheap, stable, lightweight. A readily available mount that seems to come closest to meeting these features is the Explore Scientific Twilight I mount, so I decided to try it out. This mount normally retails for $199 but is sometimes available on sale for as low as $160-170. The low price is there with this mount, and it is rated for 15 pounds of capacity while weighing in at around 17-18 pounds including the tripod. Since the C6 weighs about 8-9 pounds with finder, diagonal, and eyepiece, and I usually carry a few additional eyepieces in the tray, the total weight for the tripod, mount, scope, and eyepieces comes in around 28 pounds. That is still lightweight enough for me to be able to carry the mount, tripod, and telescope out the door using just one arm. In the past, I had an even lighter weight setup using a Gitzo tripod and UA mount that weighed just over half as much but cost many times as much money. It was also far more portable, and could even fit in carry-on luggage. This mount can't do that, but luckily provides enough stability for my needs at a much lower price and is light enough to be easily portable. However, the mount as shipped did have problems.
The mount was dropped shipped directly from Explore Scientific and was fully assembled out of the box with only the spread bar and slow-motion control knobs needing to be attached. However, I did have to remove the dovetail clamp and rotate it 45 degrees so the slow-motion control arm wouldn't hit against the base of the mount when angled higher in the sky. The bigger problem though was that there was excessive slop in the mount base that needed to be addressed. I took apart the mount base and found a lock nut inside that was loose. Once tightened down, the slop disappeared, and the mount has operated smoothly since.
The bottom line with this mount is that it is a cheap mount that may have some issues out of the box, but it is built sturdily, and the problems in my mount were all able to be corrected with about 20 minutes of work. With a Celestron C6 SCT, the mount works great with minimal vibration and fast damping times. Overall I am happy with the mount, and it has worked out well for me. I'm able to carry the mount with the telescope attached outside with one arm, and readily move it around the yard which was the main reason for selecting a mount of this type. I needed something that would get me out observing very quickly for when I only had 10-15 minutes to look at a few objects. This mount does that, and I recommend it as long as you are willing and able to fix any problems upon arrival. This might not be a good selection if you are gifting the mount to someone who may not be able to maintain and adjust it, but otherwise, it is an excellent budget mount. You can buy far nicer mounts, but for $200 or less, it works really well once the various quirks are corrected.
Buy the Explore Scientific Twilight 1 Mount:
Highpoint Scientific: https://bit.ly/2xkgz0c
Note, I receive a small commission from Amazon sales to help fund this site.