An autoguider is a very important accessory when taking astronomy photos involving long exposure times. The autoguider is a tracking control device that ensures that the mount always keeps the telescope pointing as precisely as possible at the astronomical object desired. The autoguider images a bright star on a separate camera in order to achieve this. The autoguider then uses the apparent movement of this star to calculate the appropriate control movements for the mount.
It is possible to use a simple planetary camera, a laptop and free software from the Internet for this type of tracking control. The MGEN autoguider from Lacerta has also proven itself to be excellent. But the great advantage of using the MGEN autoguider is that you don’t even need a laptop or PC; hence the term ‘stand-alone’ autoguider. In particular, this type of stand-alone solution makes astrophotography with SLR cameras much easier, as you do not need a laptop when using this type of camera.
The MGEN autoguider also comes supplied with a matching camera and already has all the necessary software – simpler autoguiding is just not possible! Another great advantage is that the MGEN autoguider does not just use a single star for the tracking control, but several. This has the effect of increasing accuracy considerably! The following graphic comes from a test by the manufacturer and illustrates the higher precision you achieve with multi-star guiding:
The new version MGEN-3 autoguider offers many other improvements:
- improved hardware allows the new, self-learning, AI multi-star guiding.
- the large colour display makes operation easier.
- the new quick-start function allows guiding to commence at the push of a button!
- polar alignment using the digital Scheiner method.
- power supply via USB (5V), only 1.2 watts.
This is, however, just a small selection. You can find the entire list of advantages on the Lacerta MGEN Version 3 stand-alone autoguider webpage.