Interested in astrophotography? You want to first try this hobby before investing on expensive computerized EQ mounts? A barn door tracker can be a good starting point after trying fixed tripod astrophotography. A well built barn door tracker at a fraction of the cost of other commercial options can produce photos which can stun you. It will surprise you that a simple device like this can actually track the stars and other celestial objects.
This blog is about barn door trackers and how to build one. An “isosceles” barn door tracker in particular. It features an open source reference design for a “smart” barn door tracker which overcomes the geometric errors with the help of software running on an inexpensive Arduino micro-controller.
The barn door tracker was created by George Haig. It is also called as the scotch mount or Haig mount. The plans for his tracker were first published by the Sky & Telescope magazine in their April 1975 issue. The original design was was improved upon by Dave Trott who introduced a second arm in the design. This improved tracking accuracy over time. His new design was published by the Sky & Telescope magazine in their February 1988 issue. The original designs all involves manual actuation. Modern barn door trackers are motorized and hands free.
Sample gallery of photographs taken with the barn door mount built with the reference design in this blog. The mount was controlled by the smart barn door tracker Arduino shield, an open source controller for barn door mounts.