Best Tripod for Telescope: How to Choose the Right One

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Best Tripod for Telescope: How to Choose the Right One
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A telescope tripod isn’t just any tripod, though; it needs to be specifically designed to handle the weight and movement of most telescopes. You want the best tripod for your telescope that will allow you to view the sky in complete comfort and stability, so how do you know what kind of telescope tripod to choose? Here are some things to consider when looking at different models and brands of telescope tripods available today.

The perfect tripod height

Many telescope enthusiasts have a question on their minds. What height should I get my tripod? Well, there are a few things you will need to consider before you make this decision. The most important thing is your location and what area of the sky you want to view. If you live near a city or in an urban area, it would be best if your tripod was around six feet tall so you can see more of the sky without obstruction from buildings and trees. That being said, there are two main types of telescope tripods that work well for viewing stars and galaxies: those with flexible legs and those with rigid legs. Flexible leg tripods are great because they allow you to change the height depending on your needs.

Setting Up Tripod for Polar Alignment

Polar alignment is a process that aligns a telescope mount’s axis of rotation so that it points at the celestial pole. By doing this, you can use your telescope to find any object in the sky. This must be done every time you want to start observing an object in order to get accurate results and avoid any possible drift. The first step is usually finding Polaris, also known as The North Star which sits very close to the north celestial pole (NCP). 

If you are using an equatorial mount, then all you need to do is point your telescope at Polaris and use its altitude along with a sidereal time calculation (to account for Earth’s rotation) in order figure out how far off center your NCP is from Polaris.

Considerations when looking at tripods

The first consideration when looking at a tripod is size. The tripod needs to be able to reach the ground or table that you will be setting your telescope on. You also need to consider where you will be setting up your telescope and how tall the tripod has to be in order to reach it. 

The second thing you need to think about is stability. You want something that can stand on its own without rocking back and forth, which would make it impossible for you to get clear pictures of anything. Another important consideration is weight and how much it weighs before it reaches its full height, because if you’re going camping with this as your main source of shelter, then it needs to be light enough so that someone else can carry it up a mountain or through a forest.

Main photo: Jonathan Mabey/unsplash.com

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