What Is A Clock Drive, And What Is A Go To Mount

What is a clock drive, and what is a Go-To mount?

This article will equip you with a better knowledge of the clock drive and Go-To mounts. Both these integrations are essential elements of computerized astronomy.

The goal is to make the endeavour easier for you beginning from the considerably basic. Follow along for a comprehensive guide on astronomical devices.

The Go-To Mount

Several names can call a mount that positions itself to point at desired celestial objects. The most common among them is called the Go-To mount.

Deviating from the ordinary sense of Go-To meaning something easy to access. The Go-To name in context has a bit of historical significance in astronomy.

Go-To mounts and DSCs, also known as Digital Setting Circles, are closely interlinked. For better clarity, it is essential to mention the difference between the two.

Intelligence is a unique feature of a Go-To mount. Take, for instance, an EQ mount; once you choose a target, it will slew to the target every time.

The addition of a computer device makes Astronomy sophisticated with a Go-To mount. With a detailed input, this mount can find and track a celestial object in no time.

You need to supply, including the date and time, location, initial position of the scope, etc. once the database goes in, the mount can point at the selected objects flawlessly.

This is an excellent device if you are a beginner. If you are not as familiar with the sky, the mount will do the job for you.

Differing from that agenda, Go-To mount is rather on a larger greyscale. Due to the accessibility of Go-To mounts, there is little room left for learning.

The mount does all the work for you. The convenience makes a Go-To mount a less favourable among some astronomers.

But there is another significant advantage that makes a Go-To mount desirable. This device allows you to observe the least bright objects.

With other mounts, it is nearly impossible to view celestial bodies in low light conditions. In that respect, a Go-To mount is beyond a doubt an irreplaceable commodity.

It would be best if you directed your Go-To mount to the way of the poles. However, GPS integration has made tracking more or less automatic.

Without a reliable clock drive integration, the system might not output optimal performance. The clock drive should have a robust design for a successful endeavour.

The field of rotation is a self-manifesting concept. As you slowly rotate the scope, the field of rotation is simultaneously being formed.

The Go-To mount and the Digital Setting Circles

Both Go-to mount and DSCs have encoders present in them. Encoders are a type of device that will transmit a mount’s movement on the attached computer device.

After fine-tuning the software programs, your computer can detect where the scope is pointing. This is only possible with the help of an encoder.

The DSCs, however, are merely encoder and computer units. The mount’s motion is mostly dependent on the observer.

What is a clock drive?

To understand the clock drive, we must be aware of the concept of the field of rotation. Here is a brief overview of the field of rotation and field of view for you.

A slow field of rotation is a prevalent disparity in scopes when adjustments are not proper. Your field of view will not affect the field of rotation.

A high-powered scope will have the same field of rotation as a small low powered scope. This is possible when the smaller telescope has an abundant field of view.

The field of rotation is an astronomer’s biggest nightmare. This is primarily because of its inconstant nature.

While the field of rotation is average on the zenith, it is absent in the east or west. To compensate for this inconsistency, a clock drive is employed.

A clock drive is a gear-motor system. It is the best supplement for an EQ mount. Proper mount alignment is crucial for astronomy.

The clock drive keeps the celestial bodies centred within your field of view. Its motor can be supplied by either an AC or AC source.

The gears used in a clock drive are of the spur type or the worm type. Since the clock drive is compensating for the field of rotation discrepancy, it is aptly called a field rotator.

If you have a CCD chip with a larger pixel, a clock drive comes in handy. This device also becomes a prerequisite when your goal is focused on astrophotography.

Recommended Reading:


  1. Celestron
  2. Sky at Night Magazine
  3. harvard.edu
  4. Cloudy Nights
  5. Dave Trott