Dr. Brian Ottum Installs New Mount

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.”

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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