BBC Sky at Night Magazine
the MGEN-3 through its paces with a 10-minute exposure, noticing round stars were kept consistently round. This was great for something we had plugged in with almost no adjustments and polar alignned completely manually. Guiding graphs were clear, and we noted that the arrow buttons on the control box flashed to signify the directional adjustments the MGEN-3 was making, which was a nice touch. Each time we used the kit, it took about five minutes for the graphs to settle into a consistently smooth guiding pattern.
Adaptable for experts
The MGEN-3’s ‘dithering’ function is also simple to use. It’s adjustable, but we opted for the default setting of 10 pixels and obtained significantly reduced noise in our final DSLR image. We shot the North America Nebula with ‘dithering’ enabled and the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula with it disabled, and noted significant difference. Browsing through the various menu options, we saw that declination can be switched off, which allows for use with a number of portable tracking mounts – another good feature for beginners. In terms of add-ons, we particularly liked the dark frame routine, which applies dark frames to remove hot pixels from the guide camera image and reduces the risk of interrupted guiding.
Essentially, the MGEN-3 comes with everything needed to guide quickly, accurately and reliably, without a laptop and mains power – we didn’t feel we were missing anything from our regular guiding
The compact, sensitive guide camera is designed to fit any guidescope. Its sensor, the monochrome AR0130CS, provides
3.75μm pixels across an area of 4.8mm x 3.6mm. Its aluminium casing allows passive cooling to reduce noise, while the MGEN-3’s zoom function enables more precise focusing of the guide camera via the guidescope.
routine. While the interface is basic, there are several calibration settings provided to adapt for more advanced imagers, meaning this kit also has plenty to offer more experienced astrophotographers. Lacerta is looking to add additional features via firmware updates and these will be free for a year after purchasing. Under investigation is plate solving, which we would be keen to see. The Lacerta MGEN-3 autoguider is engineered to be as easy as possible to use, and if future functions adopt the same straightforward approach, it will continue to hold its own among heavyweight guiding equipment.