My Equipment
Brook and Scott's Celestron Telescope
Our Newfoundland, Brook
and my telescope

Information About My Equipment

My current equipment consists of a lot of old mixed in with a bit of the new. I took some of my earliest digital astrophotos without equipment to guide the telescope, and this limited my individual subexposures to about 30 to 45 seconds. I slowly was able to adapt my old mount to use an autoguider, and this has allowed me to take longer subimages while maintaining better tracking accuracy.

My latest inventory of equipment
(at least the equipment I actually use) is:

Primary Telescope: 1981 Celestron C-8 8" Schmidt Cassegrain with 2000mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio

Focal Reducer: Celestron Focal Reducer/Field Flattener reducing focal ratio of primary scope to f/5.8 and yielding a focal length of 1160mm

Other lenses: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM, 50mm f/1.8 Olympus Zuiko lens

Camera: Canon refurbished Canon XSi (450D), modified by Gary Honis to replace UV/IR cut filter with Baader UV/IR filter

Focusing: For Telescope - Standard Celestron focuser connected to Robofocus 3 electronic focuser. For 200mm lens - Robofocus 3 connected to lens using Mandel setup

Mount: 1984 Custom built Schaefer German Equatorial Mount with 7 1/2" Byers drive gear, one Hurst DC stepper motor on each axis (replaced original AC synchronous motors).

Drive Corrector: Losmandy 492 Digital Drive Controller. (replaces a previously used home made drive corrector with AC on both axis, and mechanical relays. I had modified the Hand controller to wire in a ST-4 compatible autoguider port)

Drive corrector interface to computer: Shoestring Astronomy GPUSB

Guiding: ONAG On-Axis Guider

Autoguider: Starlight Xpress Lodestar Autoguider

Image Capture/Control Computer: Lenovo T60 running Windows XP Pro SP3

Dew Control: Dew Zapper for C-8 and Guidescope

Software Used:

Image Capture/Camera Control: Images Plus 5.5 by Mike Unsold

Focusing: Robofocus Focus Control program

Autoguiding: PHD (Press Here Dummy) Guiding

Planetarium: Google Earth

Photographic Session Planning: WhatsUp

Image Stacking and Calibration and initial Post Processing: Images Plus 5.5

Post Processing: Photoshop CS5, HLVG, Carboni's Actions-Astronomy Tools, Registar, Focus Magic, Gradient Xterminator