Attempting serious astronomical imaging requires three major components: the imaging device (a CCD camera or DSLR), the telescope (optical tube assembly), and the mount. All three must be of solid quality; one bad component is all it takes to doom the effort to subpar results.
Usually, those new to the hobby focus on the imaging device and the optical tube assembly; the mount is an afterthought or too pricey to consider at all. An excellent German equatorial mount (GEM), capable of superb tracking with minimized periodic error (inaccurate tracking because of tiny mechanical imperfections) can easily set you back five figures. Yet beginners typically overlook merely good GEMs, which cost only around $1,500.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the excellent and good GEMs, Attila Mádai, CEO of the Hungarian company MDA-TelesCoop, has introduced the Telescope Drive Master
(TDM). This product corrects a mount’s periodic error without the need for an autoguider system, thus transforming a good mount into an excellent one or making an excellent mount even better. Explore Scientific
from Springdale, Arkansas, is the TDM’s distributor in the United States and Canada, and Meade handles orders everywhere else.Astronomy magazine subscribers can download the full review for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.