Catch All The Action With A Pan And Tilt Telescope

A telescope on a Pan & Tilt (Alt-Azimuth mount)

When you hear the word telescope, you tend to think of Galileo-wannabes ruining their eyes by staring up at the sky. Or perhaps you think of the crippled Jimmy Stewart watching his neighbors through the telescopic zoom of his camera in Rear Window. You can use pan and tilt telescopes for watching heavenly bodies, whether they are celestial or earthbound, but you can also use them for bird watching ("twitching"), nature watching, for photographing very distant subjects or for security purposes. Small pan and tilt telescopes mounted on rifles are frequently used in the military. All of these objects use pan and tilt telescope technology, sometimes called "pan-tilt" (astronomers call them alt-azimuth mounts). Knowing these pan and tilt telescopes exist can make you wonder if you're being watched by an unknown evil genius.

You Don't Have To Be An Evil Genius

Pan and tilt telescopes come in many sizes and prices for a variety of purposes. Most have to be set on a tripod or a stabilizing mount (for example a Dobsonian mount) of some sort. Some can be attached to cameras, web cams or other devices, while some are meant to be used by themselves. You usually have to manually adjust for focus, but there are some automated systems out there, although for the average person's budget, the manual will have to do.

A Pan & Tilt (Alt-Azimuth) telescope using a Dobsonian mount

Why is it called pan and tilt? Pan, usually short for panoramic, means "all" in its original Greek. All of what you want in your picture is what you get. To pan a camera or telescope is to move it around, usually so that the whole landscape or set or characters are in the shot. "Pan" helps you get the wide and comprehensive picture. Tilt is...well, it's just like what you think it is - tilting the 'scope up and down.

Goodnight Moon

Pan and tilt telescopes are still popular in their original guises as observers of the night sky. Even with a pan and tilt telescope costing under one hundred dollars, you can easily see Mars, Venus,comets and our closest neighbor, the moon. Some find it very relaxing to watch and chart these old friends. If it were not for amateur astronomers, the science of astronomy would not be so well developed today. You absolutely don't want to look at the sun through a telescope (you'll burn your eyes and be permanently blinded) whether its a pan and tilt telescope or any other kind of telescope, though. Pan and tilt telescopes, or just the pan-tilt mount to help your exiting lenses, are easily found in shops and online.




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