“ Manufacturer: Celestron / Type: Equipment - Pads to soften vibrations in telescopes „
Celestron are well known for making quality astronomical items and usually I would never question the integrity of their products. But when I first heard about these pads I thought they sounded like the biggest waste of money, essentially three small pieces of rubber for £50. That was before I saw a set in action at my local astronomy club, I am now converted on the matter and have since bought a set for myself.
Essentially they are shock absorbers for your telescope, you place one underneath each tripod leg and they reduce vibrations.
As you might expect from 3 small rubber cups they are extremely light and don't take up much room physically so can be easily transported wherever you take your telescope.
While the cups do prove useful for observing they really come into their own when imaging through a telescope. That's the whole reason I bought mine. When imaging, even walking around next to your scope produces large visible vibrations. There are also more adjustments to focusing during imaging than over regular observing which causes a massive amount of vibration through the scope. With the cups in place you don't risk the object you're imaging flying out of your field of view everytime you attempt to adjust focus.
Celestron does claim that their pads reduce vibrations by 100% which isn't true, it doesn't eliminate them altogether. It's probably more like a 50% reduction. As these are the only pads I have used I can't say whether this is good going or not but what I can say is that they do make a significant enough difference to warrant their existence.
As well as proving invaluable in astro imaging and regular observing the cups also have a secondary use which has proved to be a real timesaver. When you set up certain types of telescope you have to perform a ritual known as polar alignment, in short this makes objects much easier to track through the skies. You must point your telescope northwards and adjust the tripod legs and mount so they are perfectly level. Usually this must be redone everytime the telescope is taken down and set up again.
With the suppression pads you simply leave them where you were observing as a marker for where to redeploy you're telescope. As long as you leave everything the way it was after polar alignment was completed, all you'll have to do is set up again on the pads and only the minutest of corrections will be required to achieve perfect polar alignment. Especially useful if like me you observe from a very uneven back garden.
Celestrons suppression pads are a must have, although perhaps slightly overpriced. Never the less the VSPs are a great addition to any astronomers arsenal and I certainly didn't mind paying a little over the odds for a piece of equipment that cuts down those annoying vibrations.