OUR OBSERVING AND IMAGING EQUIPMENT

Telescopes

We have three telescopes, a 16 inch truss-tube Newtonian, a 14 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain and a 4 inch Takahashi refractor.  We also have two German equatorial mounts, a Takahashi NJP and a Takahashi EM-200.  Both mounts are fitted with Takahashi's Temma "Go-To" system.  We also have two CCD cameras, an ST10-XME and an ST-8XE, both made by Santa Barbara Instruments (SBIG), and a Canon EOS 10D - 6.5 mega pixel SLR digital camera.
lizzie_at_eyepiece.jpg (161486 bytes) This is our 16 inch f/4.5 Newtonian (focal length 1830mm), supplied by Spacewalk Telescopes of Austin, Texas.  The manufacturer, Miguel Betancourt is an extremely talented and high quality telescope builder and we are excited to have bought his first production model (Serial # 001), which he had been using as his personal scope.  He named the scope "Canopus" and we are delighted to carry this name forward into its new life.  The telescope was purchased in 2003.
pw_on_pier.jpg (292945 bytes) This is our 12.5 inch Dall-Kirkham design imaging astrograph, installed on the pier in April 2013.  The scope replaces our trusty Celestron C14 SCT which had been used for many years.  It is mounted on our Takahashi NJP mount and the QSI 683 and SBIG STi guider cameras are attached.
cksp_fsq_on_njp.jpg (199080 bytes) This is our f/5 Takahashi Fluorite Refractor - type FSQ-106 (focal length 530mm).  This telescope was specifically purchased for wide field imaging with our CCD cameras, and many of the images on this site have been taken using this telescope.  Characteristics of this type of telescope are extremely sharp images and better color when used visually.  The telescope was purchased in 2001.

Fluorite Binocular

liz_observing.jpg (78490 bytes) Purchased in January 2007, this magnificent 4 inch Miyauchi binocular has Fluorite optics and is their BJ-100iBF "Galaxy" model.  Complete with interchangeable eyepieces giving x20 and x37 magnifications this binocular gives pin-sharp and wonderful views of the sky.

CCD Cameras

qsi_1.jpg (285912 bytes) We have two CCD imaging cameras.  This is the newest - a Quantum Scientific Instruments (QSI) 632, purchased in June 2013.  It is an ABG camera and has an integral off axis guide window in from of the filters.  The SBIG STi guide camera is attached in this photo.  The 8 position filter wheel has Astrodon LRGB filters, plus HA, O3 and S2 narrowband filters.
qsi_2.jpg (245172 bytes) We mostly use this camera on the main Planewave telescope.  It has a pixel array size of 3,326 x 2,504 (8.3 mega-pixels) and the 5.4 micron pixel size produces needle sharp resolution.

st10_xme.jpg (137841 bytes)

This is our SBIG (Santa Barbara Instruments Group) ST10-XME CCD camera which was purchased in January 2007.  The camera has a pixel array size of 2,184 x 1,472 (3,214,848 pixels).  Pixels size is 6.8 microns.  The camera can be binned 2x2 or 3x3.  See the section on imaging and image processing for more detailed information on how this cameras is used.

Digital Camera

eos_50d_front.jpg (232625 bytes) This is our 15 megapixel Canon EOS 50D digital camera.  Purchased in April 2009 to replace the 5 megapixel EOS 10D, it is used to take pictures of the brighter celestial objects, such as the moon and planets.
eos_50d_top.jpg (201226 bytes) Shutter speeds are fully variable and for long exposures we have an AC adapter to replace the battery so the shutter can be kept open for extended periods.
eos_50d_back.jpg (205287 bytes) Images are first displayed on this screen at the back of the camera and are automatically saved to disc.  The camera is fitted with a 4Gb flash card for image storage and we have an electronic timer to permit smooth shutter operation.
Additional Information and Photos
serial_number.jpg (93636 bytes) Proof that we own the original "Spacewalk Telescopes" scope - serial number 001.
lizzie_in_dark_with_tak_2.jpg (112060 bytes)

With the Takahashi we have also purchased a Takahashi EM200 high quality mount to support our imaging program.  In this picture you can see Earthling number one observing Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, M42 and M45 as we captured "first light" on 23rd February, 2001.  The telescope performs flawlessly visually.

One problem we discovered is that this design of telescope is rather "back-heavy" and with the CCD camera fitted to the back, it was impossible to balance the scope in declination.  Our first idea was to make a counterbalance weight to fit to the front of the tube, but this proved unsatisfactory.

closeupfsq_krause_sept2001.jpg (43815 bytes) Balancing the Takahashi with the CCD camera fitted has been a big problem due to the short length of the tube.  We fitted a Losmandy dove plate to the tube and a saddle to the head of the mount.  This allows us to slide the whole assembly up and down, catering for all possible balancing situations.  It's a shame the mighty Takahashi didn't think of this problem when they created their "Imaging Astrograph!"
Eyepieces
We have the following selection of eyepieces which we use interchangeably with all telescopes:-
  • 41mm Teleview Pan-Optic
  • 35mm Teleview Pan-Optic
  • 22mm Teleview Pan-Optic
  • 20mm Teleview Plossel
  • 14mm Teleview Radian

 

  • 10mm Teleview Radian
  •   6mm Teleview Radian
  •   5mm Takahashi LE
  •   3mm Teleview Radian
  •   2.5x Telemate Barlow

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