Home | Galaxies | Nebula | Clusters | Solar System | Comets | Equipment | Observatory | Wildlife photography |


Equipment page


Equipment

New location ! North Worcester , UK. Barely in Worcester itself but within staggering distance of the Mug House Pub which, if you know it is the best pub in Worcester. Overlooking fields, there is sufficiently low local light pollution that the milky way is clearly visible when the moon is not out.

My observatory is now functional and in use.


Optics

Mount

Cameras and filters

Accessories

Software and books

Ex-Kit












Optics

Intes Micro MN-56

Excellent telescope and is my portable scope. I use a Rigel illuminator on the Intes finderscope, which has the standard 8mm screw thread for illuminators.

Using this and my hx516 gives approximately 2.01 arc seconds per pixel in 1x1 mode with a FOV of around 22.03' by 16.49' which, depending on what you read is as pretty close to the optimum resolution as you can get.

I do not use the intes micro on its native mount - all my telescopes can be fitted to the modified mount plate which connects onto my EQ6 mount.

Here are some images of my eq6 with both my mn56 and ED80 mounted on one plate.

One view of mn56 and ED80
Another view


Intes Micro MN-86

This is the most amazing telescope I have ever had the honour of owning - it outclasses the 10"f10 meade in all respects with the exception of having limited backfocus - and I mean limited. My cheapy kelner 35mm eyepiece cannot even reach the focal point. I had to fit my 2" barrel mounted CCD device ( my starlight Xpress cameras ) inside the crayford focusser to reach the focal point - extremely annoying. The purchase of a DX1 low profile focusser was neccessary and even then there is not enough room for a filter wheel.


See here for how little backfocus there is when the camera is at the focal point.

It is solidly built ( very solid ! - 20kg of solid ) - all the screwthreads are metal with plastic endings, ( the meade had awful cheap plastic screws which don't hold tight & wear very easily.). It is well baffled , has a very small central obstruction, has a mirror fan and most importantly provides razor sharp images, easily outperforming my 10"SCT for planetary and deepsky observations.


On the first night I set it up we observed jupiter , m13 and m57. With a 4.8mm nagler I could achieve total focus on all 3 objects , which I could very rarely do with the meade, even with excellant seeing conditions. I could visually see patterns within the bands of jupiter . M13 was truly stunning, and the only way to describe M57 was to compare it with the b&w image I have in my gallery. I couldn't quite see the central star but the ring was clearly in focus, I could see differences in the structure of the ring and it appeared in sharp clear contrast in b&w ( a wonderful example of how eyes are more sensitive in b&w ( night vision with rods ) than colour).

I use an eq6 with this OTA as the GP-DX could not handle anything more than 10kg.

Skywatcher ED80

Excellant 80mm refractor, used with both Intes Micro machines, either as a guider or the main imaging scope.


Mount

EQ6 mount connected with ASCOM drivers and EQMOD dll files. I previously used this relay box which is most excellant but no longer required.
As you can see here the EQ6 has a full load with the MN86 , guidescope and all the extra cabling. The EQ6 has no problem at all slewing this full load of ~25kg all over the sky and does so at the same slewing speed ( 8 x normal speed ) as the lighter load.. With 3 star alignment this scope will accurately GOTO any object and is actually very impressive. Periodic error is not too much of an issue as I am guiding.

I have two positions available - my observatory mount and my standard mount position.The pier/eq6 adaptor was precision lathed by Chris Livingstone . The pier and the mount were provided by Chris and if you need to have an equivalent setup made for your mount , please contact Chris who would be delighted to help you out.

Alas - have sold my much loved gp-dx as it cannot take the weight of an intes-micro mn86.
I have upgraded from primarily using my gp-dx to the eq6 as the gp-dx can only carry 10kg, and the mn86 weighs in at 20kg.

I have had a weight extension lathed for me, again by Chris Livingstone, and this is extremely handy when the mount is fully loaded.



Cameras and Filters

Starlight Express SXV-H9 and guidehead

Flea 3 8.8Mb webcam
I also have an astrovid adaptor with m42 thread on one side and a FD bayonet fit on the other, permitting imaging through Canon lenses. I had to get this lathed down by 2mm to get the lens<-> chip distance to 42mm , so that the focal point could be reached.
35mm kellner eyepiece
4.8mm Nagler eyepiece
10 mm Clavé Plossl
20 mm Clavé Plossl
32mm wide field Plossl
2x Barlow
4x Barlow
Sodium Filter 608 nm
Meade O3 filter 496-501 nm
Astronomik Ha narrowband filter 659nm 13nm bandpass
Astronomik S2 narrowband filter 13nm bandpass
Baader filter

Accessories


£5 Filter holder

My new Intes Micro has only a small amount of backfocus and I cannot fit my True Technology flip mirror/filter holder in, so I 'designed' this .
Take 1 £5 tube extension & cut some slots in it , and, err, well, that's it really. The filters slot in perfectly and it takes up about an inch of backfocus, which I can just about fit in.




E6Direct

This permits me to attach my mount directly to a PC without the need for a skyscan handset at all.


I control the mount via this method,


and also control autoguiding entirely through this freeware software.


£8 Home made Light Box .

Thanks to Russell Croman for copying his light box idea. This cost £8 to make and took 20 minutes with a gluegun , stanley blade, tracing paper and foam board.
True Technology IR & RGB filters.

Books and Software

Michael Covington's book "Astrophotography for the Amateur" is also close at hand. Full of useful hints and tips, including essential exposure times for deep sky objects using conventional film.
1958 Nortons Atlas, old but essential!
My log book for recording all my observation details, comments and drawings- *ESSENTIAL*

HNSKY
ASCOM ( Astronomy Common Objct Model
eqmod
Paint Shop Pro 7
Pixinsight
AstroArt 5
Registax 6
HNSKY
skyglobe ( fast quick reference )
and the Gimp ( on my linux side )


Ex-Kit

12" f4 orion optics classical newtonian - too bulky and horrifically collumated - the secondary mirror was an inch out of place.

120mm helios refractor - upgraded to an intes micro mn56- the mn56 is still portable, but now with extra-ordinary quality.

10"f10 Meade OTA - outperformed by Intes-Micro MN86.

Starlight Express modified HX516 CCD camera with USB connection and a modified chip - the ICX084AL has been replaced with the ICX424AL SuperHAD CCD.

Vixen GP-DX mount . Trusty, reliable, very low PE mount - reluctantly sold to purchase heavy duty EQ6 with skyscan.