Below: BlackGEM telescope designs as they could have been realized according the UTM concept. The BlackGEM telescopes will be built on GEM's instead. Credit: TechnoCentrum Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL / BlackGEM Consortium of collaborating institutes.
What would I consider nice to have on one single mount?
- all sky reach, no blind spots near polar regions and no zenith hole either
- equatorial operation to enable astrophotography
- no field rotation, no rotating imaged diffraction spikes on the sensor
- no meridian flips, no drops from horse shoes or split ring while circumpolar tracking
- stiff, fast damping
- centre of gravity in the middle of each axis, above the centre of the pier
- preferably without using a wedge or tilted constructions
- intrinsically balanced construction, without the need of large counter masses
- useable anywhere in the world
- simple to put together
- and preferably easily adaptable to track all other celestial bodies like comets, NEOs, satellites..
All these properties can be found in this proposed mount. The concept of this universal telescope mount is based on two major parts. Physically it consists of an intrinsically balanced alt-alt-az mount that enables for full sky reach and with the dimensions that enable equatorial tracking. The second part is the motion control part. A universal telescope mount must be equipped with motors, encoders, electronics and software that provide the possibility to perform the equatorial tracking and - if you wish - tracking of objects that don't follow the ecliptic.