Un-“veiling” The Avalon Linear Equatorial Mount
Changing to a new mount.
Recently, I’ve switch to a new mount, the Avalon Linear Fast Reverse. Avalon’s mounts are unique in that they are completely belt driven, without the traditional worm-gear of most astronomy mounts. This gives them a few superpowers for astrophotography:
1) Zero Backlash, since the belts touch the gears in multiple places simultaneously.
2) No need for lubrication or maintenance – they are a completely closed system.
3) An extremely smooth periodic error, which can be easily autoguided out.
The main downside is a reflection of (3) on the upside list – you simply must autoguide on this mount if using it for photography.
My trusty NEQ-6 pro has been my main mount for the last decade or so, and, frankly, has performed exemplarily well. I’ve been itching for a few years to get something more of a “forever” mount, however, that can increase the accuracy and performance of my images, and the avalon fits the bill nicely.
As you can see in the bicolour (Ha/O3) shot above (with RGB stars) of the Veil Nebula, the mount produces some tight, round stars of a level that I could only hope and dream of before. Tracking on this mount is amazing, as is the precision and quality of the alt/az adjustments for polar alignment. A MUCH more pleasant and fun process than before. 10 minute subs are now easily within reach with incredible precision.
Most impressively, the mount tracks incredibly well at the zenith – one of the weaknesses of the EQ6, which was somewhat unreliable +/- 20 minutes around meridian flip.
So far…its been excellent….