This beginner’s guide to setting up and using an equatorial mount is rather long, so is broken into sections. I suggest a true beginner read them in the order provided.
There are a lot of parts to an equatorial mount, and the unusual directions of motion may be confusing for a beginner. Here we start with a basic tour of the parts and the motions on a typical equatorial mount.
In this section we assemble the equatorial mount from its base parts, showing what each is for and giving a suggested order for putting it all together.
Next, we review the various mechanisms that are used to attach your telescope to your mount, including the two major types of attachment and the use of adaptors to mix systems.
In this section we go through an important step that is often overlooked by newcomers — balancing the mount so the weight is properly distributed in both directions of motion.
This small article points to a separate article on aligning the finder scope, and discusses why now is the best time in the setup sequence to perform this important step.
This is probably the most crucial step in setting up an equatorial mount. We go over several different methods for aligning the mount to the North Celestial Pole so it will properly mimick the motion of the sky.
Now that the mount is properly set up and aligned, this article finishes with a quick summary of how to move it around the sky to find and track objects.