Xerxes Scientific

Precision Instruments for Astronomy

Xerxes Scientific designs and produces precision astronomical instrumentation for scientific research.

Our primary area of focus is custom telescope mounts and control systems for astronomical research and satellite tracking. We specialize in custom direct drive telescope mounts and instrument systems, including mount control software. We use standardized drive modules ranging in continuous torque capacity from 5 newton-meters to 60 newton-meters.

Products available

Direct Drive Telescope Mounts, Systems, and Components

Below are some examples of components used in the assembly of a custom telescope mount system. We design and fabricate the drive modules, tilt plates, camera adapters, and other specialized instruments for astronomical research.

quad mount

camera adapter m27

Dual sided direct drive mount

Camera adapter for RASA 36 to ZWO ASI6200

M27 unguided image stack (BVR + Ha), 16" f/10 SCT

screenshot of Astrometrica plate solve of M27 and sample star profile. Note that the plate solve residuals are 40 and 30 milli arc seconds.

The dual-sided direct drive telescope mount can carry up 200 lbs of payload, 100 lbs on each side of the telescope mount. It is unique in that it is also equipped with a pneumatically actuated tilt hinge on one side of the RA axis. For astronomical surveys, a large tandem dovetail plate is provided which contains a turntable-type crossed roller bearing. This allows one of the two telescopes to also be offset in declination relative to its mate, also using pneumatic actuation. This will allow each telescope in the array to either point to a different quadrant of the sky or for all four telescopes to point to the same location. The quad RASA11 telescope array in the banner image was used by JPL to discover two new NEO asteroids.

Conventional mount options are shown below, and are suitable for up to 50kg of imaging payload. All mounts are built off of a common core product architecture and are based on standardized industrial control electronics.

Camera adapters for the RASA11 and RASA36 are offered for the QHY600 and ZWO ASI6200 camera family and related cameras using either a threaded nosepiece or a dovetail. These camera adapters feature three micrometer heads with locking screws, and the micrometer heads can be used to easily adjust tilt and spacing of the camera detector relative to the optimal impage plane location on the RASA.

Note: drive and electronics to be installed by qualified persons in complaince with all local electrical codes.

Our GEM-style equatorial mount made from one D21 and one D11 drive unit, counterweight plate, plus mounting hardware:


Blind satellite tracking of cubesats with tandem-mounted RASA11 telescopes on D11/D21 direct drive mount

Stiffness demonstration of D11/D21 direct drive mount

Demo of ASCOM control with PRISM and with TheSkyX and PHD guiding, Meade 16" SCT

Demo showing the use of CME2's graphical tuning aids to perform mount tuning

Original developmental video of the D11 drive

D11/D21 brochure (pdf)

Copyright (c) 2019 Xerxes Scientific, LLC

For more information write to bruce@xerxesscientific.com.

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