My Equipment

Here is my long, drawn out description of the equipment I’m using and how and why I selected it. I included my original setup from 2005 as well.

My Original Setup (2005) the day I got it. That OTA was 32lbs!

DSCF0467

  • Mount: Meade LXD-75 with Meade Autostar 497 hand controller
  • OTA: Meade 10 inch Schmidt Newtonian
    • This is a 10 inch F/4 Newtonian reflector with a corrector plate on the front to help with coma (stars at the edge looking like seagulls)
  • Meade LPI (Lunar Planetary Imager)
    • 0.32 megapixel CMOS sensor
    • Exposure time: 1/1000s-16s
    • Maximum video frames per second: 3
  • Meade DSI (Deep Sky Imager)
    • 0.25 megapixel 16bit CCD sensor
    • Exposure time: 1/10,000s-60m
  • Software
    • Telescope Control: Meade Autostar Suite
    • Guiding: None – nothing like PHD existed yet
    • Image Capture: Meade Envisage
    • Image “Stacking” and Processing: Meade Envisage & Paint Shop Pro

Current Setup (2018)

setup

  • Mount: Meade LXD-75 with Meade Autostar 497 hand controller
  • OTA: GSO 6-inch F/5 Newtonian
    • These GSO scopes are sold, and usually branded through some of the larger US telescope dealers such as High Point Scientific, AstroTech, OPT, etc. The sellers willingly admit that they are just slapping their sticker on the OTA, as this is a cheap service that GSO offers. It’s really more for advertising than the shop trying to convince people that they’re making their own scopes. I got mine from High Point, and it arrived with no logo from anywhere.
  • Guide Scope: ZWO 60mm guidescope with helical focuser)
  • Guide Camera: ZWO ASI120MC
  • Imaging Camera: Canon T1i DSLR
    • Modified with Baader BCF1 UV/IR cut
    • 15 megapixel 14bit CMOS sensor
  • Filters:
    • Optolong CLS 2-inch
    • Astromania 12nm H-alpha, 2in
  • Coma Corrector: GSO 2-inch Coma Corrector
  • Software
    • Telescope Control: Stellarium through Stellarium Scope using POTH
    • Guiding: PHD2
    • Plate Solving and Object Targeting: Astrotortilla
    • Image Capture: BackyardEOS
    • Image stacking: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CS5 (For HDR)
    • Image processing: Photoshop CS5 with Astronomy Tools Actions

I used to have the longest possible description for each piece of equipment and why I chose it on this page, but I realized it was steering that was applicable to my specific situation. Different objectives require different equipment. I’m not an expert, but this is what works for me.

I’ll tell you what I plan to purchase as money allows…

  • Mount: iOptron CEM25P
    • Super light, accurate, 27lb capacity will cover me and then some.
  • Scope: William Optics Star71 four element f/4.9 APO
    • Around $1100 for excellent quality and no need for an additional flattener.
  • Camera: ZWO ASI1600MM (mono), but this changes weekly.
    • I want to go mono, and the ASI1600 is currently the best option in function vs price. It comes in around $2000 with 36mm Ha, OIII, SII and LRGB filters and an electronic wheel. The only thing making me skittish (aside from not having $2k) is the the low full well depth.

This whole setup would run a little over $4,000 US, so the current setup will be with me for quite some time!

Clear Skies, Bleary Eyes – KA