Baader Planetarium - Guiding tube clamps with ball bearing bearing surfaces
Massive, solid, turned aluminium rings, width 28 mm, support surface with photo-threaded connection ¼ "and additionally 2 through-holes 5 mm diameter.
3 adjusting screws (M10) with 10mm Ø, ball bearing bearing surface made of V2A steel, covered with a hard rubber sheath (i.e. the screw pressure surface does not rotate during the adjustment of the telescope!). The guiding telescope is absolutely solid, non-slip and will not be scratched! A further four milled planar surfaces with a photo-threaded hole are installed on the outer diameter in order to be able to attach additional accessories to the rings on the outside or to connect several rings together
Research grade telescopes housed permanently in an observatory should really be installed on a permanent pier with an anti-vibration design. Years of experience in researching, designing and installing piers has led to this superb range of Rigel piers manufactured from heavy steel.
Rigel Pier for all mounts Anti-vibration pier designed for the popular telescope mounts
The pier is manufactured by Pulsar Observatories who have many years experience designing and installing anti vibration steel piers. This knowledge has been used for their new design of observatory pier, and is available for most commercial telescope mounts. The pier can be bolted directly to a suitable concrete floor or founding block. Manufactured from heavy steel the Rigel Pier has a black powder coat finish. Specification: 1125mm high. Required purchase is the correct adaptor plate for your mount.
A pier fitting kit with all fasteners is available seperatly.
A Pallet delivery charge of £50 is applicable.
The Altair SkyShed Pier is a revolutionary design - the only pier which can be adjusted in rotation and levelling after installation. These unique features make it the best selling professional pier in the UK and North America, and probably of all-time.
The easy installation process as well as free UK courier mainland delivery make the Altair SkyShed pier a compelling choice for any observatory or free-standing telescope project.
The Altair SkyShed Pier is made from rock solid 6mm thick powder coated steel, and is 32 inches in height excluding the pier cap, which adds another 4-6 inches depending on the position of the tilt adjusting bolts. Total height including the pier top is therefore 36-38".
The original SkyShed pier is the only pier on the market which can be adjusted in tilt and 360 degree rotation after installation and tightening down the base bolts. This means you can install the pier, put your decking in place (please click on the large image to the left to see pictures) and then adjust the pier afterwards to suit your mount. This design is the easiest to install and use on the market, period. No other product comes close in ease-of installation. The unique design is the brainchild of Wayne Parker of SkyShed, the worlds most prolific observatory manufacturer, and is often purchased with the SkyShed POD or roll-off observatories. The product is manufactured in the UK by Altair Astro with SkyShed's permission, with a combination of structural and ergonomic features distinguishing this product from other telescope piers, for customers who expect the best.
Infintely adjustable and rigid: The large 320mm steel baseplate is welded to an 8" diameter steel centre-column. Four "fins" are welded to both the baseplate, and the centre-column, reducing flex and vibration to undetectable levels. This pier will easily carry mount/telescope combinations around 120kg in weight. The pier top-plate can be easily levelled with four (yes four!) 16mm (2/3") diameter solid steel threaded rods positioned at each corner. Once you have threaded your cables through the provided centre holes, simply level and tighten the pier cap down. Perfect levelling is essential for GOTO accuracy, and to eliminate field rotation during long exposure images with an Equatorial Mount. The pier-top can be rotated 350 degrees, making the process of pointing your mount due North to get perfect polar alignment quick and easy. Once pointing North, the pier cap is locked down with four 12mm bolts.
Attaching your mount: The Altair SkyShed pier cap has a variety of holes to accept most Meade Wedges, as well as the Skywatcher EQ8 mount directly. For mounts requiring a countersunk hole, the Altair Multi Mount Pier Adapter (which supports most popular Chinese mounts), can be fastened in place with the provided bolts. Celestron AVX, Paramount MX and special extra smooth EQ8 Pier Adapters are also available. You aren't constrained to one type of mount, because the top plate is large and flat, so you can attach pretty much anything to the Altair SkyShed Pier. For more adapter info, see the respective product pages.
Perfect levelling is essential for astro photography of any kind even planetary imaging: Without perfect levelling (and we mean perfect) Equatorial Mounts, even if polar aligned, will you to track objects perfectly, but will still suffer from field rotation. Field rotation is where the object remains centred in the field of view, but rotates over time. This not only reduces the quality of your long exposure imaging and GOTO accuracy, it can even cause problems with planetary imaging and, say lunar mosaics. The only way to ensure your mount is perfectly level is with the four 16mm thick steel threaded adjustment rods, which allow small incremental adjustments with a spanner once your scope is mounted. When the pier-cap is tightened down, the leveling rods keep the pier top perfectly level, even when tested with our 16" RC on an EQ8 mount adding up to well over 100kg total weight. This is not surprising considering smaller diameter rods are used to level machines weighing well over a ton, and because the EQ mount is usually well balanced causing negligible torque. Don't fall for cheaper competing designs which don't allow rotation or rely on "shims" for perfect levelling. It is not possible to perfectly level anything with shims because they have a set thickness. Also just imagine how much time you would need to spend assembling your complete scope and mount plus polar aligning it, then taking the whole thing apart adding a washer under the pier (thereby lessening contact with the concrete base) and reassembling it. If you ask us tjhis process makes no sense whatsoever...! The reason these designs are cheaper is because shortcuts have been used to reduce fabrication and coating costs. When you get that dream rolloff observatory or dome built by a third party, or make your own, this is the only solution to get 100% right designed by astronomers. We have replaced many piers from 3rd parties which have suffered various problems from corrosion, to a frustrating inability to level them.
Precision materials and zinc coating for longevity: No other pier comes close in material and anti-corrosion coating quality. The pier components are laser cut from steel plate, then the base plate and anti-flex fins are welded to the 8" diameter steel column on a jig for perfect alignment. This results in a pier which is as light as possible for ease of installation, while remaining extremely rigid. The piers are then sand blasted to prepare the surface, then flame-sprayed with zinc. At the time of writing, no other pier product has this expensive coating process, which is better than galvanizing, and is often used for industrial and military marine applications where a professional finish is required. Once the flame spraying process is complete, the piers are placed in an industrial oven and powder coated with Matte Black RAL9000. This creates an extremely tough coating which not only creates a perfect finish to the product, but also protects it against knocks and wear and tear. Even if you manage to chip the powder coating, the zinc undercoat prevents corrosion. This two layer coating technology is far superior to painting processes, and provides the ultimate in durability lasting many years.
Zinc Flame Spraying and powder coating are done by Mastercote in Norwich.
elivery: The price includes UK Mainland delivery by professional insured courier. (Far North Scotland, Ireland, EU or overseas customers please email us for a shipping quote, it's usually around £30 or less).
Telescope Pier FAQ:
Why get an Altair SkyShed pier? It's ultra-stable, and you don't have to keep re-aligning your telescope mount every time you use it. It can be conveniently moved if you move observing locations, and it's a must-have if you have an observatory, creating loads of space around the telescope - no more bumping into tripod legs in the dark, and causing wasted sub-frames during a good imaging run. Of course you don't need an observatory to have a pier - many customers erect their pier on decking or a surface in the garden and leave their mounts on it with a cover. The four steel pier fins have holes at the tops enabling you to hook a cover on with bungee cords.
Why the Altair SkyShed Pier design? It's the easiest pier to install, period, and the special adjustable pier-head saves you set-up time. Pier levelling and rotation can be adjusted AFTER installation on the base! This is the most innovative pier on the market, and the first to sport this feature. It's for customers who appreciate a good quality finish, and a nicely made product due to laser cut steel, and a beautiful matte "automative grade" powder coated finish. Our piers are grit blasted before coating too. No spraypaint over unblasted steel, no single coat of DIY-quality "rust resistant" paint which will chip off and corrode, and no amatuer welding. This product is professionally built to last.
What's the benefit of post-installation adjustment? The pier head can be locked in any position, at any time. That means there's no need for perfect North alignment of the base bolts, and even if you get the base levelling slightly wrong, you can still ensure your mount is perfectly upright and aligned North/South. That means you don't have to be a DIY expert to install it and there is no need for "shims" under the base to level it! You can also lower and raise the pier head by about 6" by adjusting the 4x 16mm bolts around the perimeter.
What comes in the box? The pier assembly and all bolts and nuts for the pier-head are included. Your choice of either straight or L-bolts and nuts are included for fixing the pier down to a new or existing surface.
How to I fasten the pier to a new poured-concrete surface? If you're going to pour your own concrete, we suggest using a wooden template for the base and L-bolts and nuts. Simply cut a piece of wood to the same dimensions as the concrete you're pouring, and place the pier on top of the wooden template. Mark the 4x holes through the base, and drill holes for the L-Bolts. Then push the L-bolts through and fasten them to the wooden template. When you've poured the concrete, place the template on top, and allow the L-bolts to sink into the wet concrete. Remove any excess concrete and allow it to set. When you remove the template you will have the 4x bolts protruding, to which the pier can be fixed down using the nuts provided. (Click on the image gallery for step by step photos).
How to I fasten the pier to an existing hard concrete or masonry surface? If you want to install the pier on an existing flat surface, choose the straight-bolt option when ordering instead of the L-bolts. Once you have drilled 4x holes in the hard surface which correspond to the pier base holes, you can fill the holes with "builders epoxy" and allow the straight studding to set before attaching the pier with the buts provided. Alternatively you can use your own expanding bolts and so-on, depending on the type of surface and your preference.
How do I attach my telescope to the pier head? The pier is pre-drilled with 6x holes which fit our CNC machined aluminium Pier adapters for the iOptron iEQ45, Celestron CG5, Skywatcher EQ5, HEQ5, EQ6 German equatorial mounts (see the related products below). Installing a mount and adapter takes a few minutes - all the stainless steel bolts and nuts are provided to attach it. You can also easily drill the 13" diameter top plate with a normal drill with metal drill bit to accommodate your Meade or Celestron Wedge or a Losmandy Pier adapter - in fact any mount can be easily adapted to fit. Finally, you can bolt certain mounts directly to the top plate without an adapter or the need to drill holes - such as some Meade LX200 fork mounts and Astro Physics mounts with a 6 hole pattern. Here's our EQ8 Pier adapter ready to accept the mount head:
•A original and innovative design!
•Free UK delivery (except for northern Scotland, which attracts a £30 additional fee).
•Can be adjusted in levelling and rotation AFTER installation.
•8 inches in diameter adjustable in height from 36-38 inches (optimum size range for small or large SCT's, or long refractors on an EQ mount).
•6mm Powder Coated steel throughout for extreme rigidity, yet relatively light weight.
•Powder coated laser-cut steel for a crisp finish. (Another first).
•Large, flat 13" Dia baseplate, for easy access to the base bolts, with four perimeter fins.
•4x massive 16mm bolts support the top pier plate.
•Pre-drilled for classic Meade and Celestron Fork mounts.
•Adapters available for most mounts, CGEM, EQ6, HEQ5, even EQ5.
(Search for "pier adapter EQ6" for example).
•Suitable for up to 14" Cassegrains and heavy duty mounts. (Call for larger custom sizes).
•Hole in base and cap for neater hidden power cables.
•Perfect for any observatory, including the Skyshed POD.
•Can be filled with sand (in bags) to dampen vibration even further.
•We provide "L-bolts" if you're pouring concrete, or "straight" bolts, enabling you to drill holes in an existing surface - such as a concrete pad. Just let us know which you prefer.
•Can be shortened easily if needed - just cut the top off the tube with a bandsaw or plasma cutter. Your local metal shop or even garage can do it in minutes. Alternatively, place a special order with us.
•L-Bolts or straight bolts included.
•Usually in stock in standard length.
•A crisp, tough high quality powdercoated finish, with neat welds, which will last many, many years.
•The SkyShed/Altair pier is the worlds best selling pier design. Over 6 years in production, much imitated, never equalled.
The Altair TMS Ultra Light Guide Scope Rings are available in 120mm or 150mm sizes. They have a lightweight design unique to Altair Astro, which results in a far lighter guide scope ring, while still maintaining strength and rigidity.
The Altair TMS uses durable all stainless steel M8 threads - that means they will not corrode, unlike cheaper makes which use low grade blackened steel threads and screws, which eventually go brown with rust. The Altair Telescope Mounting System (TM) is more durable than any other product on the market we've seen.
This new Clear Silver colour goes well with any telescope, is arguably easier on the eye than black, and goes very nicely with our blue hardware range. Sure, telescopes are meant to be used in the dark - but there's no harm in your setup looking attractive too! A full Altair Telescope Mounting System is a thing to behold!
Check out this customer review of the earlier non-lightweight Altair TMS Guide Scope Rings (opens new window).
Direct bar or plate mounting: The Altair Guide Scope Rings are unique (at least at the time we write this) because they can be mounted on the top or bottom of Altair Losmandy-format or Vixen-format bars via two M6 bolts on each ring, to stop them twisting like other makes with single bolts. All Altair TMS Losmandy plates or Vixen bars have this two-hole pattern, and you can adjust the separation of the rings by choosing different holes along the length of the plate. GSR rings have flattened edges for good contact with the bar or plate they're fastened to and are far more rigid than any other guidescope rings we have seen to date.
Direct clamp mounting: GSR rings can also be mounted on Altair TMS Small Vixen Clamps or Losmandy Saddle Plates to slide back and forth to achieve the best balance. This is perfect for Altair Astro RCs and Meade and Celestron SCT telescopes with an inverted rail on top. (see picture below)
The GSR benefits from easy-grip hard anodised knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip (we tested several iterations). They are very easy to un-tighten and adjust, even with gloves on.
Each thread has a plastic end cap to give a more forgiving contact with your optical tube without causing movement. This is better than soft rubber end caps, which change compression with temperature and cause movement, often splitting after a year or so of use.
Altair TMS is made in the UK at our local machine shop on HAAS CNC milling machines, which means we have complete control over quality. Each part is hand polished before anodising to remove burs and give a smooth finish. The quality level and material means a slightly higher price than budget rings. Recommended for those who want the best.
The Astrolift 150 is a motorised lifting pier manufactured and assembled by HiTec Astro.
The pier has a maximum load bearing capacity of 150kg.
Minimum and maximum useable heights are 70cm and 110cm. The unloaded pier weighs 22kg.
The Lifting Pier 150 ships with a Universal Pier top that accepts the following mounts directly
In addition It will also accept the Altair Multi Mount Pier Adaptor and EQ8 Pier Adaptors.
The Lifting Pier ships with a mains to 12v power supply.
the bottom plate has 4 radius corners to help with plar alignment after the pier has been afixed to the observatory floor.
The USP is a heavy duty saddle plate which is designed to replace the factory clamps on equatorial mounts with a more rigid and precise alternative for imaging or visual use with heavier telescopes. It's not only easier to use, it's also safer and stronger than the factory clamps you get with your mount. The Altair USP is compatible with both the Vixen/Synta-format telescope mounting bars, or the Losmandy-format wider mounting plates. This all-in-one design means you don't have to change clamps for different telescopes, making your mount more compatible.
The USP fits most medium sized equatorial mounts on the market including the iOptron iEQ45, Losmandy G11 and the Skywatcher EQ6, Orion USA Atlas or Skywatcher HEQ5. The Universal Saddle Plate or "USP" is also compatible with the rest of the Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System accessory range.
This is the black anodized version of the Altair USP, and it goes very well with any colour of mounting hardware, including silver and blue.
Altair Heavy Duty USP Features:
Compatible with Losmandy-wide-format dovetail plates, and Vixen-narrow-format doevtail bars. Very precisely machined.
Safe and easy "tip in" saddle lets you place your telescope quickly and easily from the side, while tightening up the clamps with your other hand. This avoids that awkward struggle in the dark, while you try to hold onto a damp slippery telescope, while carefully lining up a saddle plate which will only slide in from the very end. This design feature is now much-copied and is based on feedback and requests from several customers who have nearly dropped their telescopes!
Chamfered and rounded edges make it even easier to get a heavy telescope placed securely, before tightening the clamps with your other hand.
Heavy duty hard anodised star knobs, custom-machined for a positive grip with or without gloves.
The clamp has machined guides for a positive lock.
No sharp edges or poor machining.
The heavy duty spring loaded Stainless Steel M8 threads do not corrode.
Looks great in hard anodised "Altair Blue" to match the rest of the TMS range.
Readily available, and made locally in the UK at our machine shop on HAAS 4 axis CNC milling machines. That means we have complete control over quality.
The new Altair Astro CNC machined aluminium pier adapter is used to secure the following Equatorial mounts to your Altair SkyShed Pier:
Altair Sabre mount
Skywatcher EQ6 (AKA Orion Atlas)
Celestron CG-5 & CG-4
Generic Chinese EQ5 mounts such as "Astro-5 EQ" mount
Meade LXD75 (due to mount model variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
Several Vixen mounts (due to mount variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
Other mounts: The pier adapter also fits several other mounts including those made by Meade and Vixen Japan, however we request you email us dimensions so we can confirm because there are some variations in these mounts depending on the year of manufacture.
The pier adapter has four recessed holes around the outer perimeter for fastening it to the pier plate in various positions.
The pier adapter is designed to add 32mm height to the mount in order to clear the pier top plate.
4x corrosion resistant stainless steel bolts and nuts are included with your pier adapter for quick and easy installation. The pier adapter is clear silver anodised.
Using the Azimuth (rotation) stop for each type of mount:
You'll notice a "stop bolt" protruding from your equatorial mount field tripod. This is to provide something for the azimuth rotation adjustment screws to push against for fine adjustment, and polar alignment. (Some older CGE and EQ-5 mounts also have a cast metal "nub" which protrudes from the tripod head).
There is an additional threaded hole for the EQ6 azimuth stop bolt which protrudes from the field tripod. If you do not intend on using your mount and tripod in the field very often, you can just unscrew the azimuth stop bolt on your tripod, and screw that into the pre-threaded hole on the adapter.
You can also use your own M8 bolt instead of the bolt from your tripod. This will not affect your mount performance.
Product feature summary:
Transfer your EQ mount from static pier to field tripod in minutes.
CNC machined from solid aluminium, anodised to ensure corrosion protection.
4x corrosion resistant stainless steel nuts & bolts are included.
Fits the Altair/SkyShed 8” Steel Adjustable Pier without any drilling.
The existing hole pattern on Altair Piers is the same as the Meade LX200.
The Altair pier adapter be used on any flat surface with the correct holes, such as a home made pier of your own.
Pleasing to the eye in anodised aluminium, complementing the crisp lines of the laser-cut 8” Altair-SkyShed Pier and the Altair TMS product range.
The Altair Vixen-format dovetail bars are narrow and light - the perfect option for small telescopes, for example a refractor of up to about 102mm or 4" aperture.
To mount two small telescopes with Vixen-format dovetail bar side-by-side, we recommend the Altair TMS "Small Vixen Dovetail Clamp" which is designed to bolt directly onto either end of our Vixen (or Losmandy) bars and plates with two bolts, giving maximum rigidity and strength. (If you order clamps with your bars, we'll include all the stainless steel bolts you need).
Optical tube separation: When using the 180mm Vixen-format dovetail bar to mount two optical tubes "side-by-side", they will have a centre to centre separation of 160mm. When using the 250mm Vixen-format dovetail bar you'll get 230mm centre to centre separation.
A countersunk M6 hole at each end, plus a countersunk centre M6 slot, allows maximum compatibility for attachment to most telescope tube rings on the market today.
Precision CNC machined locally, and hard black anodized for extra resistance to tarnishing or scratching. Altair TMS is a precision machined modular Telescope Mounting System. Our aim is to provide a simple, safe and rigid mounting system for most types of telescope on the market, to give our customers the best possible results for astro imaging and visual observing. All components can be re-used which makes the overall cost of ownership very cost effective in the loing run. Made from the highest grade British aerospace 6068 T6 tempered and artificially aged aluminium, which has the highest strength in the 6000 series alloy range and is extremely corrosion resistant. All threads are stainless steel, and dovetail clamps are spring loaded with teflon washers.
his Altair Astro CNC machined aluminium pier adapter is used to secure your Skywatcher EQ8 Equatorial mounts to your Starbase CNC field tripod, or your own pier top plate.
It's flat and smooth, with a large 200mm / 8" surface diameter, allowing easy rotation and more accurate polar alignment, and is clear-silver anodised.
Q: Why use this pier adapter instead of just bolting your mount to a pier directly? Most piers do not have a completely flat surface and the flatter and harder it is, the better for accurate polar alignment. Any bumps, distortions, or "soft spots" on the pier adapter surface will reduce the "repeatability" and smoothness during polar alignment.
Q: I have seen plastic, Delrin and Teflon lined pier adapters on the market, why is this all-metal surface better? An all-metal surface is better because plastics deform slightly under pressure (often non-linearly), and behave differently according to environmental factors, such as temperature and moisture content. If the surface of the pier adapter is made from a relatively hard metal surface, which is of similar hardness to the mount base (also aluminium alloy), so in this case aluminium is the ideal material. The material must be smooth and hard for smooth rotation so we mill the surface flat on a CNC machine. This is the reason why engineers use flat milled steel slabs on their workbenches upon which to measure and align metal objects.
Q: What is the hole pattern for attaching to my pier top? The "Altair Astro" standard pier top hole pattern is 6x 8mm ID holes, arranged with 130mm PCD
Q: Can I use this pier adapter with other piers? Yes of course. There is plenty of space to drill and tap your own holes on the large 8" flat surface as required.
6x cap-head stainless steel bolts are included to fit the threaded holes in your Starbase field tripod.
The entry level Starwave dual telescope mounting features a 3" centre dovetail bar, and two corresponding clamps, which attach directly to each end with the supplied hardware.
Optical tube separation when mounted side by side is approx 265mm centre to centre.
Compatible with Losmandy-format telescope mounting systems.
**Price Includes Carriage**
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