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I now use various Telescopes and Lenses, Explore Scientific "Levy" Maksutov Newtonian MN152 (152 mm - FL 731 mm), Celestron EdgeHD 9.25 (235 mm - FL 2350 mm), Takahashi FSQ106 (on loan, 106 mm - FL 530 mm), William Optics Megrez II APOGrade (80 mm - FL 555 mm), William Optics 66 mm APO (66 mm - FL 388 mm), and a SIGMA 150 mm APO DSLR lens. For some of the images and particularly for Archived images, I have used an Orion ST80 Refractor, and a Starmax127 Maksutov Cassigrain. Also some images were made on the William Optics Megrez II 80 mm SD optics before the APO upgrade. Also used on occasion is a 180 mm Focal Length Vivitar Camera Lens.
I use two mounts and imaging set ups at my observatory or when I travel to my various observing sites. The primary mount I use is a Losmandy G11 with Gemini controls; the secondary mount I use is a Celestron AVX mount. I use various home made OTAs for autoguiding; the MN152 uses an OAG (Orion thin OAG) for autoguiding. The shorter focal lengths optical systems are used on the Celestron AVX; the EdgHD 9.25 is used only on the Losmandy G11. Both mount systems employ auto guiding - PhD2 Guiding with ZWO ASI 120 cameras. I have also used a smaller Orion EQ3 mount with the RA axis motorized for some images and particularly images in the Archive.
My current imaging Cameras are an SBIG ST8300M Camera (Baader Ha LRGB filters) and Atik 383L Camera (Astronomiks Gen2 Ha OIII LRGB filters). Both of these monochrome cameras use filter wheels - in the case of the ST8300, an SBIG CFW5 is used and in the case of the Atik 383L, an Atik FW1 5 position filter wheel is used.
I have also used a Canon 350D (Baader ACF modified) DSLR. The ACF modification is a replacement of the stock IR filter with one from Baader that improves the sensitivity in the H-Alpha emission line. Many images and particularly Archive images were made with a Modified ToUcam with the Sony ICX424 CCD, and a modified Vesta Pro. The ToUCam has also been modified to produce RAW mode Images. This modification was developed by the TWIRG group within the QCUIAG group. This RAW mode modification is a significant improvement of this web cam in producing artifact free images.
Desert Astronomy Association (DAA) Observatories
DAA is a small association of astronomers who have established an astronomy campus in the East San Diego County high desert area. DAA location is in a small privately held community property in the middle of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The park is the largest in California at 585,930 acres and listed in the top ten state parks in the United States (InterExchange.org). The skies are reasonably dark (Bortle 3) at the DAA location. A Dark Sky community (Borrego Springs, Bortle 4) is located about 15 miles away and is also surrounded by the state park.
Link to photos of the DAA astronomy campus and my observatory
Current Equipment list:
Older systems and equipment:Cameras and Accessories
All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2019
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