CHOOSING A TELESCOPE MOUNT
The best optics in the world are worthless without a sturdy mount—it is half the telescope.
When a tescope has a poorly made mount, the image in the eye-piece jumps around—finding objects becomes a frustration, while seeing details within objects is nearly impossible. Fortunately, many telescopes sold today come with excellent mounts that move smoothly across the sky, and also remain firmly on target when released.
Small "department-store" telescopes, however, often have shaky mounts and flimsy tripods that flex and bounce with every touch and breath of wind. Do not be fooled by the high-tech dials and cables on some cheap mounts. Here is an easy showroom test: give the telescope tube a sharp rap. All telescopes will shake for a moment, but in a well-mounted telescope vibrations should die out within three to four seconds.