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With a motor-driven mount, it is essential to know all astronomy terms. The difference between the terms tracking and guiding can be very confusing for people who observe the night sky through a telescope for the first time.

  • Tracking is a term used to describe the movement of a telescope to keep the celestial object in our field of view.
  • Guiding is a method used to improve tracking accuracy. 

When is guiding needed?

Guiding is essential in the world of astrophotography. For long exposure images, a mount with tracking and auto-guiding is recommended. If you are using high magnification and long exposures, an auto-guiding system with a secondary telescope (guiding scope) and a guiding camera is often required.

A guiding scope is also needed when capturing deep-sky celestial objects. With the guiding system, the user can take clear images of deep-sky objects, since the periodic error can be neutralized, and necessary corrections can also be made. 

Guiding (Source:

It is important to know that successful auto-guiding is only possible with an equatorial mount. If you want to use auto-guiding on an altazimuth mount, the guiding star on your image will be round and sharp while all other stars around will be trailed (field rotation effect).

If you want to make an image with no trailed stars using an altazimuth mount, you need to install a wedge. With the wedge, an altazimuth fork mount can be transformed into an equatorial mount. This type of mount allows tracking objects without the field rotation effect. 

Altazimuth mount with a wedge



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