Wednesday, July 13, 2011
My Little Telescope Team
Here is what I am now using to do all of my astronomy. This has been two years in the making, buying a bit of gear here and there, some of it was rescued, and all of it has been used. At the heart of my equipment is my well equipped LXD75 SN6. I have purposely built this system to be an imaging system, however it has the capability to also be used visually. Most recently I have had to replace the right ascension stepper motor drive, most likely a victim of a bad power cycling experience in the dark. I am complimenting this system with an old rescued Meade Telestar, which is also a GoTo model telescope. When I began this endeavour, I started off with the Garret Optical 15x70 binoculars being used on the Orion Paragon tripod package, and while the tripod does work, it is not without its weaknesses alike. I picked up the Short Tube 80 model telescope to use as a guidescope mounted on an accessory bracket that I had custom fabricated to mount on the SN6 cradle. Below the ST-80 sits the power supply center for the evening.
This closeup shot of the SN6 reveals a few new additions that I have added to my unit. I found the ST-80 to be very heavy on the scope as a guidescope, and some of this may have had to do with placement, so I have purchased the Orion mini-guider and mounted it into the stock Meade finderscope's location. I have also modified an Orion electronic focuser to be used on my unit to provide for more simplistic camera focusing which can be a very difficult task at the best of times. The accessory bracket is also visible and will be a great spot to do piggyback astrophotography. The Meade DSI unit installed in the mini guider will make an excellent wide field camera as well to experiment with when it is not serving in its role as an autoguider.
Overall I really love all of what I have assembled. It cost me a fair price but not compared to many systems that I have seen out there on the web. It is all compact and lightweight and portable. I have the ability to do everything from lunar eclipses to deep space imaging. Not pictured in these photos is my accessory case with eyepieces, various brackets, a lunar planetary imaging camera, and my Canon Rebel XS DSLR. I have purchased a software package called BackyardEOS to use with the DSLR and in the little that I have used it I am very impressed with its features.