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I now use various Telescopes and Lenses, Explore Scientific "Levy" Maksutov Newtonian MN152 (152 mm - FL 731 mm), Celestron C8 (203 mm - FL 2030 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. Occasionally I have use of a Takahashi FSQ-106N refractor (106 mm - FL 520 mm). 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 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 ASGT (Advanced Series) mount. I can dual mount any of the main optics mentioned above on the G11. Either scope on the dual mount can be used for imaging or guiding. The shorter focal lengths optical systems are used on the Celestron ASGT. There is a dedicated guide scope for this system. Both systems employ auto guiding - PhD Guiding with Meade DSI II cameras. I have also used a smaller Orion EQ3 mount with the RA axis motorized for some images and particularly images in the Archive.
For Auto Guiding, I use DSI Pro cameras and PHD Guiding software. The advanced series mount is a Goto system that has an Auto Guide port. The G11 also has a similar port. The PC to mount autoguide port is the Shoestring Astronomy PC parallel port to Autoguide port interface. I have also designed and used a PC Serial port to Auto guide port. Please click here for more information on an Auto guide Interface for the Advanced Series mount.
My current imaging Cameras are an SBIG ST8300M Camera (Baader Ha LRGB filters) and Artemis285 Camera using the Sony ICX285AL CCD (Astronomiks Ha 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 Artems285, an ATIK 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.
Current Equipment list:
Click on the images below for more details about my equipment.
Older systems and equipment:Cameras and Accessories
All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2012
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