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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 - With Telextender FL 784 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.
I use two mounts and imaging set ups at my observatory. The primary mount I use is a iOptron CEM 70; the secondary mount I use is a iOptron GEM 45 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 GEM 45; the EdgHD 9.25 is used only on the iOptron CEM 70. Both mount systems employ auto guiding - PhD2 Guiding with ZWO ASI 120 cameras. I occasionally use the Celestron AVX mount for visual and solar observation as well as a portable mount for remote observing sites. The Losmandy G11 mount is no longer used.
My current imaging Cameras are an ASI294MM Camera (Baader Ha OIII LRGB filters) and ASI2600 Camera (Astronomiks Gen2 Ha OIII LRGB filters). Both of these monochrome cameras use filter wheels.
I have also used a Canon 350D (Baader ACF modified) DSLR, an SBIG ST8300M Camera, an Atik 383L Camera, and an ASI1600MM Camera. The 350D 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. Dark Sky communities - Borrego Springs, Bortle 4 is located about 15 miles away and is also surrounded by the state park - Julian is located about 11 miles away. And, of Course, the Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a designated a Dark Sky park.
Link to photos of the DAA astronomy campus and my observatory
Current Equipment list:
Older systems and equipment:
Atik 383L Camera
SBIG ST8300M CameraCameras and Accessories
All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2023
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