Whether from my yard or our club’s dark-sky site in Taxahaw, SC, here’s where they go. I’ll get better.
Music & More
A night under the stars goes well with some music. Here you will find some of our favorites, including links when possible.
After waiting so long for the equipment, I finally had all the pieces of the puzzle. Miraculously, the first Saturday (July 14, 2018) after finally getting the last piece (another counterweight) it was clear with a fairly new moon. I packed up the family truckster with my stuff (I really should take pictures along the way!) and headed out to the observatory.
I ordered pretty much the entire rig at the same time– the mount, OTA, camera, filter wheel, filters, guide camera, tripod, and an extra 10 lb weight for good measure. I already had a guide scope that I planned to use. About half of the equipment was in stock when I ordered, but I was aware that my mount wasn’t going to arrive at the same time as everything else; it was quoted as about a six-week lead time.
The last chunk of stuff from the initial bullet list (see “Pulled the trigger…”) I want to talk about together.
I needed a way to control all of this stuff
I needed a way to power all of this stuff
And definately needed a way to prevent dew from wreaking havoc on everything
As far as the filter wheel is concerned, the frontrunner was actually one by FLI (I read several reports of folks having trouble with Atik’s EFW2). After talking with Larry at OPT I learned that Atik released a new filter wheel, specifically for the the 16200, the EFW3. That made the choice easy. I was quite glad that he mentioned it, since it wasn’t yet on OPT’s website. It’s really good to have someone help you with this process!
After selecting the telescope other things started clicking into place. I had a telescope with a huge image circle, I needed to use it. When it came to selecting the camera there really weren’t many choices– I started with a pretty short list. Initially I was looking at at the QSIs - in particular, the QSI 683wsg-8, an 8.3 megapixel (3326 x 2507) KAF-8300 sensor with 5.4 micrometer pixels, also sporting a built-in, 8-position filter wheel for 1.25-inch filters. Unfortunately, a death in the family put QSIs in limbo for quite some time. I believe that Atik as helped ramp back up operations, but I haven’t looked into availability.
This post goes over my my thoughts when selecting the telescope for my imaging rig.
Trying to follow the advice of the masses, my requirements for the telescope were:
Small(ish) refractor, preferably apochromatic, either with a flat field, or a flattener available. Bonus points if the system allows threaded (vs compression) connections in the imaging train.