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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:

Explore Scientific "Levy" Makstov Newtonian MN152 (152 mm - FL 731 mm)

Celestron C8 (203 mm - FL 2030 mm) Schmidt Cassigrain

William Optics Megrez II (80 mm - FL 555 mm) APO Refractor

William Optics Zenithstar 66 (66 mm - FL 388 mm) APO Refractor

Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 DSLR APO Lens


William Optics FFIII 0.85X Reducer / Corrector

Celestron 0.63X reducer / Corrector

Meade 0.33X Reducer / Corrector


Losmandy G11 with Gemini Level 4

Celestron ASGT Mount (with Self made dual mount platform)


SBIG ST8300M Camera (3352 x 2532 pixel 5.25 micron square)

Artemis285 Camera (1392 x 1040 pixel 6.45 micron square)

Canon 350D (ACF Modified) DSLR Camera

SBIG CFW5 Filter Wheel

ATIK USB Filter Wheel

Baader 36 mm LRGB filters

Baader 36 mm 6 nm H-Alpha filter

Astronomik 1.25" LRGB filters Astronmik Filter Drawer

Astronomik H-Alpha 13 nm filter

Baader IR/UV block filter


(2) DSI Pro Cameras (for auto guiding)

Home made 180 mm FL Guide Scope (for the Celestron ASGT Mount)

Explore Scientific "Levy" MN152 SBIG ST8300M Camera



Click on the images below for more details about my equipment.

    G11 with Gemini GEM System            

    Celestron ASGT System                    

    Artemis Camera and Accessories


Older systems and equipment:

    Starmax 127 System

    Cameras and Accessories

    Autoguide Interface for C8 System


All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2012

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