When a manufacturer as prestigious as Vixen Optics offers to let Astronomy be the first to test the only example of its new mount in the United States, we knew the procedure wouldn’t follow that of a standard review. So, instead of sending the unit to a reviewer, I flew to California’s John Wayne Airport to do the review myself.
From there, I drove 2 hours to the Observer’s Inn in Julian. This astronomy bed-and-breakfast facility lies 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Palomar Mountain Observatory. As it turns out, the Observer’s Inn is one of the closest dark-sky sites to Vixen’s North American distributor, located in San Clemente. As soon as I arrived, I began setup for a 2-night test of Vixen Optics’ new AXD Mount.
What excited me just as much as the mount, however, was the chance to put its computerized controller, Star Book Ten, through its paces. This isn’t Vixen’s 10th version of the company’s controller. Rather, the Japanese word ten means “heavens.” According to the company, that’s what the controller will show you.