Dr. Brian Ottum, a well-known astrophotographer and astronomy educator, recently installed a new Plane Wave L-350 Mount in his observatory at Dark Sky New Mexico (Animas NM). Dr. Ottum commented, “This Mount combines the technology of Plane Wave’s Observatory class telescopes into a compact stand-alone mount. In its Alt/Az configuration, it is more compact than its equatorial counterparts. There are no meridian flips to deal with and no large protruding counterweights.” The L-350 features direct drive motors on each axis for smooth, fast, and silent movement of the telescope; slew speeds up to 50 degrees per second; high resolution encoders on each axis for precise positioning; zero backlash and periodic error; enclosed electronics; and through mount cabling. Dr. Ottum added, “One thing I really like about this mount is that do not have to auto guide any longer! It is so much more accurate than the traditional ‘gears and belts’ mounts.”
Dr. Brian Ottum (left) was assisted in the installation of his L-350 Mount by Vincent Laupola, Lead Technician at Dark Sky New Mexico.
Dr. Ottum also installed a Plane Wave Equatorial Wedge to ensure precise polar alignment and tracking accuracy. This wedge was made for his specific latitude, has an alignment range of +/- 3 degrees, and uses oversized fine thread adjustment screws and brass tightening nuts for fine latitude adjustment. The wedge was mounted on a 10” diameter pier fabricated by Mesilla Industrial Machining, a Dark Sky New Mexico Strategic Partner.
Dr. Ottum is a prolific astrophotographer and images almost daily. You can follow him on his Instagram account @astropicsdaily