Orion Anti-Vibration Pads.

Orion's Anti-Vibration pads I thought these would be a waste of money. I was wrong.

Orion and Celestron both market vibration suppression pads like these. They go under each leg of a tripod, and somehow isolate the scope from vibrations in the ground, say from passing cars and such. I had read good things about them on the newsgroups, but I was skeptical.

The first time I used them I noticed a dramatic improvement in the stability of my scope. Before the pads, the scope would bounce for 5 seconds or more after slewing to a new position in the sky, after I bumped the eyepiece with my eyeglasses, or after I touched the focus knob. This made focussing a real pain in the patoot, since I had to wait so long after every adjustment to see if things were better or worse, and then repeat the process ad nauseum. (Aside: that may be the first sentence I’ve ever written with both Latin and the word “patoot” in it.)

After the pads, I was very surprised that the scope settled down considerably. Now the bouncing was over in a second or two, which was far more manageable. And I was surprised that the pads not only dampen vibrations from the ground, but also perturbations directly to the scope. Wow!

In the meantime, I’ve learned the trick of reducing play in the tripod by pulling each leg an extra inch or so farther out from from their common center after I place the tripod on the ground. This has helped stabilize the tripod even more.

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