Paramount Taurus 400

Introducing the new Taurus 400 Series 6 equatorial fork mount.

The Paramount Taurus 400 includes the advanced MKS 6000 telescope control system which lets you connect via USB C, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.  Its instrument panel includes high-power XT60 connectors and a pass-through Ethernet port.

Taurus equatorial fork mounts allow uninterrupted horizon-to-horizon imaging and accommodate Schmidt-Cassegrain or open-truss telescopes up to 17 inches (0.4 m).

Hardware Specifications

  • 150 lb. (68 kg) instrument capacity
  • All sky pointing accuracies at or below 30 arcseconds RMS (see Software Specifications below for details)
  • No meridian flips or dangling counterweights
  • Tracks objects up to six (6) hours beyond meridian
  • Maximum seven (7) arcseconds peak-to-peak periodic error before correction
  • After a one-time training, periodic error is 1 arcsecond, peak-to-peak or less
  • Optional 26-bit Renishaw encoders eliminate periodic error and the need for homing and operates in temps as low as –40° C
  • On-axis absolute encoders can be installed in the field
  • As there’s some confusion about what encoders can and cannot do, there’s an FAQ below that elaborates on that and whether they’re right for you
  • All electronics and through-the-mount cables are housed inside the mount with ample room for additional cables
  • Advanced MKS 6000 telescope control system lets you connect via USB C, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi
  • Three high-power XT60 ports on instrument panel
  • Belt-driven gears with spring loaded worm gears produce virtually zero backlash
  • Durable and fade-resistant red powder coating and black anodized finish; components are aluminum
  • Integrated azimuth and elevation polar-alignment adjustments
  • Counterweight system corrects imbalances from asymmetries in the optical tube and imperfect centering between fork tines
  • Optional Scope Rail System lets you easily change your imaging equipment by moving instruments fore and aft along optical axis
  • Clutch-free design helps maintain its TPoint™ assisted pointing accuracy
  • AutoHome™ homing capability ensures the mount always knows its orientation (after performing an initializing process called “homing” that typically takes less a minute or less)
  • Slews at 3.5 degrees per second in both axes; if you need faster slew speeds, check out our Taurus 500/600/700 direct-drive models
  • Exceptionally comfortable access to eyepieces
  • Power supply and PC-to-mount cabling included

Software Specifications  

  • Paramount’s unsurpassed pointing and tracking wouldn’t be possible without its TPoint™ and ProTrack™ software.
  • By employing TPoint’s calibration and telescope modeling tools, you’ll enjoy all sky pointing accuracies at or below 30 arcseconds RMS. Nothing outperforms that — and that’s without on-axis absolute encoders.
  • Operating in conjunction with TPoint™, ProTrack™ continuously updates the mount’s position across both axes to correct system-wide tracking errors including tube flexures, atmospheric refraction, polar misalignment, harmonic errors from mis-centered encoders, and more.
  • On-axis absolute encoders alone cannot correct such errors which exist with all telescopes. A properly applied telescope model is necessary to achieve superior tracking.
  • Without those encoders, 5-to-10-minute unguided exposures are common with many enjoying up to 20 minutes.
  • For more information about what encoders can and cannot do, please see the FAQ below.
  • All the included software is integrated into a single, easy-to-use, application consisting of TheSky™ Professional, TPoint™, Cameras+, Domes, Multi-OS+, and Weather modules. Enjoy the simplicity of controlling your cameras and astrophotography devices with one application.
  • It runs on Windows™, macOS™, and Linux.
  • Regardless of the operating system you run it on, it appears and operates identically. You can even switch between operating systems and its license allows up to six computers. Why paint yourself or your institution into a corner?
  • Absent ProTrack™ which is unique to Paramounts, the included software is sold separately as TheSky™ Universal bundle and represents a $1,095 value.

Note: Shown Paramount Taurus 400 Pier and telescopes are sold separately.  We can help you determine the optimal height of the pier for your setup.




On-axis Absolute Encoders vs. Motor-based Encoders.

Paramount's equipped with on-axis absolute encoders know where they are at all times.  Paramount's with incremental encoders (or motor-based encoders) know only how far they have moved since they were initialized using a nightly process called homing.

The crucial additional difference is that the on-axis absolute encoders are fitted directly to the mount axes themselves, bypassing the worm drives.  Paramount's with incremental encoders are fitted to the worms instead, which means that with incremental encoders alone, periodic errors in the worm drive show up in the tracking.  These mounts must be calibrated and corrected using a process called periodic error correction (PEC), which measures and records the repeatable gear train errors and removes them.  (TheSky features advanced, multi-harmonic PE detection and PEC calibration that minimizes periodic error in mounts with incremental encoders.)

For mounts with incremental encoders, homing re-zeros the encoders when precise sensors on each of the axes are reached. From then on, the incremental encoders are in effect delivering absolute readings.

However, the crucial additional difference remains, namely that the incremental encoder system is behind the worm drive, and periodic error correction is still required to get the best out of the RA tracking.

High-resolution on-axis absolute encoder technology is significantly more expensive than incremental encoders.

The short answer is, “it depends.”

Gear-driven Paramounts equipped with on-axis absolute encoders do not have periodic error, require no mechanical initialization (or homing), and the number of TPoint pointing samples needed for precision calibration is reduced.

These advantages expedite nightly setup, negate one-time periodic error training, and shorten the calibration process require to achieve spectacular pointing and tracking performance. However, the Paramount worm gear's uncorrected periodic error is low (below 7 arc seconds peak to peak), and, after a one-time PE training, periodic error correction (PEC) generally make it negligible. The Paramount without on-axis absolute encoders requires a nightly Find Home process that usually takes a minute or less to complete.

So, at least with Paramounts, periodic error is effectively in the noise, and homing straightforward.

What about pointing and tracking?

Without on-axis absolute encoders, Paramounts routinely produce 5-to-10-minute unguided exposures; many have reported 20 minutes. Also without on-axis absolute encoders, Paramount’s produce all-sky pointing accuracies at or below 30 arcseconds RMS (usually less than 15 arcseconds on fixed mirror telescopes).

Paramount’s exceptional software makes the above performance possible. TheSky Professional edition, in conjunction with TPoint™ and ProTrack™ the mount’s position is continually updated in both axes to correct system-wide pointing and tracking errors caused by tube flexure, atmospheric refraction, polar misalignment, harmonic errors from mis-centered encoders and/or worm gears, and more.

On-axis absolute encoders alone cannot correct these errors which exist with all telescopes. A properly applied telescope model is necessary to achieve superior pointing and tracking.

So are on-axis absolute encoders right for you?  Perhaps if you want to enjoy the conveniences mentioned above. And for many, that’s enough.  With that said, the optional on-axis 26-bit Renishaw absolute encoders with 0.02 arc second precision are the finest available and they operate in temperatures between +80°C and –40°C.

A new Paramount Series 6 feature is a redesigned through-the-mount power solution that uses XT60 power connectors. These connectors are commonly used for recharging batteries in e-bikes, RC cars and drones. They also excel at supplying power to astronomical equipment.  Rated at 500V up to 30A (15KW maximum), they accept 12 AWG wires, and can provide sufficient power to all the direct-current astronomical devices on the telescope.

Yes. The latest information about MKS 6000 Upgrade Kits is available at

No. The Paramount Series 6 models have been redesigned to accept the Renishaw absolute rotatory encoders. The Paramount ME II, which presently uses tape encoders, is the only mount that can be upgraded with absolute on-axis encoders.

Yes.  Paramount Series 6 mounts are available with optional on-axis absolute ring encoders.  The encoders can be installed at the time of purchase, or purchased separately and installed later in the field.

No. TheSky software, required to control the Paramount, issues autoguiding corrections directly to the control system using Software Bisque's exclusive Direct Guide™ autoguiding technology.  This eliminates the need for camera relays, autoguider ports and failure-prone autoguider cables.

Third-party automation software can access Direct Guide through TheSky’s scripting interface.

Yes, all Paramount mounts come with Software Bisque’s Universal bundle that includes:

  • TheSky Professional edition
  • Cameras+ module
  • Domes module
  • TPoint™ module
  • Weather module
  • Multi-OS+ module to install TheSky on macOS™, Ubuntu™ Linux (ARM64), Ubuntu™ Linux (x86_64), and Windows™ operating systems.

No, Paramount Series 6 models, only, can accept the on-axis absolute ring encoders.  On-axis ring encoders cannot be installed on the Paramount MYT classic, Paramount MX classic, Paramount MX+ or Paramount ME II mounts.

Note that on-axis absolute tape encoders can be installed on the Paramount ME II, and the MKS 6000 is compatible with both ring and tape encoders.

At this time, Software Bisque does not presently offer a Paramount trade-in program.

See the Paramount Lubrication Video for details how to lubricate gear-driven Paramount mounts.  (Log in required.)

PSU extension cables can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers.  See this Amazon product for specifications.


Is there a single-most important feature?

The coolest feature of our new Series 6 mounts is that they’re Paramounts.

While the new Series 6 refinements are nice, they pale in comparison to the highly desirable results that Paramounts are already known to deliver even without absolute encoders: all-sky pointing accuracy of 30 arcseconds RMS or better and unguided exposures as long as 20 minutes.1

That extraordinary performance would be impossible without Paramount’s integrated software. TPoint™ and ProTrack™ dynamically update the mount’s position across both axes to correct system-wide errors caused by tube flexure, atmospheric refraction, polar misalignment, mis-centered encoders and/or worm gears, and more.

While the optional on-axis absolute encoders eliminate periodic error, TPoint™ telescope modeling with ProTrack™ is required to correct all the errors mentioned above. (See for details.)

Paramounts routinely deliver unsurpassed pointing and tracking accuracy — with or without on-axis absolute encoders.

Paramounts are also known for their reliability and straightforward operation. They just go, night after night, as it should be!

Order yours today and enjoy owning a Paramount Taurus 400 Series 6, arguably one of the world’s finest robotic equatorial-fork mounts.

Note: This Sky & Telescope magazine article involving the Taurus 400 might interest.

15- to 10-minute unguided exposures are more common. To see an example photograph composed of multiple 20-minute unguided exposures, please click here.  This was shot using an original Paramount MX with no on-axis absolute encoders. While the Paramount MX is gear-driven German equatorial mount, the gear-driven Taurus 400 equatorial mount delivers the same superior performance.

Additional information

Weight 150 lbs
Dimensions 36 × 36 × 16 in

Motor-based encoders, On-axis absolute encoders

Paramount Taurus Specifications

Paramount Taurus Documentation

See also:


Paramount Taurus Technical Drawings

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