Author Topic: Relocating 12.5" Reflector from AstroWorks Fork Mount to an Orion HDX110 Equator  (Read 26 times)


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My dad, Charles Hammond, who died back in 2004, was a well known avid amateur astronomer in Connecticut and I inherited his 7 remote high elevation observatories with substantial astronomical equipment, library of classic astronomy books, and an extensive meteorite collection. My wife and I live at the family cabin on this observatory property in the warmer months. I am not yet an amateur astronomer but am learning quickly to allow me to utilize some of his equipment. I am selling off equipment that I am not planning to use.

I am keeping his 12'x24' main observatory that houses a 6" extremely high quality F10 refractor which is mounted to a 16" diameter concrete pier attached permanently to bedrock. This telescope and mount was hand made and was perfectly polar aligned up until recently and tracked stars flawlessly. In the past year, for reasons unknown, the bedrock has shifted so that the pier is 2 degrees out of plumb. Realigning this scope is virtually impossible due to the massive weight of the steel fabricated mounting assembly to which the mount itself attaches. So, I am considering purchasing an Orion HDX110 heavy duty GOTO mount and replacing the existing bulky mount with this Orion, to be bolted to the old out of plumb pier (hope the movement has stopped!). I will fabricate a custom adjustable aluminum mounting plate assembly to bolt onto this pier

Another observatory, which can no longer be used, houses an AstroWorks fork mount and supplied drive mechanism attached to a massive concrete pier. This mount holds a 12.5" F4 reflector of the highest quality. The surrounding forest has grown up to the point that the amount of viewable sky is very limited. This scope has not been used, or even looked at for 12 years, until last week. It needs some cleaning up and the mirror has some degradation around the edges. I plan on getting the mirror finish renewed.

I'd like to relocate the 12.5" scope to the potential, to-be-purchased, Orion HDX110 mount. Please see the attached pictures of 1) the 6" refractor on the 16" out-of-plumb concrete pier, 2) the AstroWorks mount with 12.5" scope to be hopefully relocated to the same 16" pier.

So, I have some questions for this group and advice, recommendations, suggestions would be greatly appreciated........

1) Is relocating the 12.5" scope, now on a fork mount, to a new equatorial Orion (non-fork) mount even feasible?

2) How would I best attach the 12.5" scope which has some custom scope rings to the Orion mount which uses dovetails? Could I use these rings and attach a dovetail plate? Please see the existing scope rings on the 12.5' scope.

3) Is it possible to be able to quickly swap out, as desired, the 6" refractor for the 12.5" reflector on the same mount? Would I lose polar alignment from the swap assuming both scopes utilize dovetail fixtures.

4) Does anyone have a recommendation on who I should use to get the 12.5" mirror refinished?

5) I do not plan to use the AstroWorks fork mount, drives, controls, any longer. This high quality AstroWorks mount cost my dad a fortune back in the late 1970's. It is machined to the precise latitude of the observatory of 41 degrees, 59 minutes but could be relocated and shimmed to get the polar alignment correct. What is the best way to find a buyer for this mount? It would require someone to pick it up on site as it is very massive and unshippable.

6) Any other considerations I may have left out.

Thanks in advance for your inputs. As you can see, I don't know much about all of this!

Bob Hammond
[email protected]

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