Category Archives: Equatorial Platform

Radiation Physics in medicine and astronomy

The definition and meaning of Radiation

In physics, Radiation is the emission of energy and waves or atomic and subatomic particles through space or through a material. It can be natural (e.g. radiation from sun) or man-made (e.g. radiation from a cell phone or computer). It was first discovered over a century ago by the scientist Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895, after he made an experiment with a cathode tube and saw the screen in front of it glowing after covering the tube – hence the name of “X-rays” was given to the rays provoking the phenomenon, as the invisible rays were unknown to the scientist.

Radiation comes in different forms, for instance, gamma rays and X rays are photons which transfer energy in a way that creates ionization. Other types of photons are ultraviolet radiation, infrared or microwaves, but they do not correspond to the ionizing radiation type.

The use of Radiation Physics

Educational institutions all over the world use Radiation Physics in their experiments, research projects and laboratory work with the aim to discover more possibilities of use of Radiation. It is used in many fields and study areas, such as industry, education and research and especially medicine. The study of radiation and the researches on it has helped engineers and doctors combine their knowledge to build innovative tools and machines to discover diseases faster and easier. If the Radiation Physics is your study subject at your university – all this information can be a good essay help for you.

Considering the first example provided, the X rays, it is now well-known that this is one of the biggest innovations now used worldwide in every hospital and clinic to image the human body. Besides the ability to detect and prevent diseases, doctors also use the X-ray machine to treat the affected areas from lupus and nervous diseases and eliminate the cancerous tissues. Such situations are the results of use of nuclear medicine. Dentists also use radiation to spot dental problems in a fast and painless way.

Another form of imaging using based on Radiation Physics is the Magnetic Resonance – a low-energy type of radiation which uses radio frequency which is known for being a safer type of imaging the human body, as there are no risks that it can damage the internal tissues. It is mostly used for imaging vessels for the detection of cardiovascular diseases.

The discovery of Radiation in 1895 is for sure one of the most important events which lead the physicians to new opportunities and doctors to new ways of helping people. With the technology and innovations of the present day, we are now using smaller and smarter machines that can produce high-quality images in almost no time in a painless way. These improvements in the advanced use of radiation physics helped millions of people with health problems – as the specialists use nuclear medicine to diagnose conditions in internal organs of the human body, such as the pancreas, thyroid, brain, etc.

There are also many scientists who proved that radiation (especially the man-made) is very dangerous to your health, and while in hospitals it is used to treat a brain tumour for example, it can also lead the patient to brain tumour if the patient is exposed to too much radiation in his life (from gadgets for instance). But Dr Rebecca Smith‐BindmanIs’ opinion on this is that is is almost impossible to calculate how much radiation one can “handle” to stay healthy and keep the risk low.

What is an Equatorial Platform?

The slideshow attempts to explain simply how the idea of an Equatorial tracking Platform is derived from a classical driven Equatorial mount.

Essentially a tracking platform converts your Dobsonian mounted telescope into a motor driven polar aligned Equatorially mounted telescope system.

Many hundreds of these Equatorial Platforms have been built for Dobsonian mounted telescopes, and the theory works superbly in practice.

The Dobsonian mounted telescope, sits on a small platform which then rotates the whole telescope and its mount, and thus the telescope tracks celestial objects as they drift across the sky.

To work well equatorial platforms have to be very carefully designed and built to match the latitude of the observer, and then made with quality materials to quite close tolerances. They also need to be accurately driven, either by a precisely geared speed variable DC motor, or by a more complex electronically controlled stepper motor capable of providing accurately a sufficiently slow rotation speed.

The Watch House Equatorial Platform, of course, meets all of these Design Criteria.

Now, by driving the Platform relative to the groundboard, at a speed that matches the rate of the Earth’s rotation, the telescope tracks celestial objects keeping them in the eyepiece field of view for 10’s of minutes even at high or very high magnification powers eg 300x – 500x .

The overall North/South tilt of the platform when set up anywhere from 470 North to 570 North is only a maximum of 5 degrees from level.

The overall movement of the platform table , ie the East/West tilting motion as the platform tracks during one hour involves only a maximum of +/- 8 degrees from the mid-way horizontal & level position at each end of the tracking arc.

Watch House Platform tracking Arc

The above “stopped motion” animation shows the overall movement described by the Watch House platform over one hours tracking.


Because objects remain stationary in the eyepiece, you can observe much finer detail and fainter objects become a pleasure to observe.

Upgrade your Dobsonian mounted telescope with a Watch House Equatorial Platform and you will immediately enjoy the following:

No more nudging the damn scope to keep painstakingly located objects in the eyepiece, as your telescope + platform setup now tracks the stars!

Greatly reduced eye fatigue for the observer.

Much higher powers become comfortable for lunar, planetary and DSO observing, 300x to 400x becomes a routine pleasure and up to a theoretical 600x becomes possible, with the object remaining steady in the eyepiece.

Much finer detail is appreciated, as your brain processes an essentially stationary image.

Sketching becomes a pleasure, as objects now remain stable in the eyepiece as you move back and forth between eyepiece and sketch pad, even at high magnifications.

You can now use your scope for photography, with some limitations ( of course ! ) , including with the new generation of very reasonably priced integrating CCD cameras, see our photography pages for more information .

Go anywhere portability, as the Watch House Equatorial Platform weighs only 18lbs and is easily carried in 2 pieces, taking less than 5 minutes to set up and align in the field.

Additionally the Platform requires no external power supply, so no mains lead tethering you to the house, and no heavy & expensive 12v Powerpack to lug about either, just its own small 9v battery .