Friday, October 4, 2013

Mike's Toolbox

This is to provide to anyone who may be interested the equipment that I currently use for imaging .

I will start with my first scope , the one that got me hooked . This is a  Coronado SM 60 II it was purchased as a single stack and came equipped with the BF 15 blocking filter . I soon replaced the less than adequate (my opinion) helical focuser with a Moonlight DC remote/manual type . Soon after that I ordered the  external etalon to double stack the scope This is the one  I use for full disk  here is the scope in it's current configuration 

I was impressed with what I had seen of the PST modded scopes so I cross bread a PST with a Celestron XLT 102 and come up with my MiniMax 102 . I will post the details soon ..
 This MiniMax scope is now my preferred scope for any close up images , My SM 60 can not compete when it comes to resolution and fine details . Here is the MiniMax mounted in tandem with the SM 60 .

I also like to do white light if there are active sunspots about . For this I use a Williams Optics Megrez 110 with a Lunt Solar Wedge . If I use a 0.5 focal reducer I can fit the full disk to a 1/3" sensor camera . this scope also can get nicely resolved close ups in white light . This is the scope in tandem with my 60

On those days when the sky's are clear and I have time for lots of imaging I will set them all up . This allows me to capture a variety of images with ease and  any of these configurations can be set up quickly .


I started with a NI5 but soon discovered that colour cameras are not well suited for this purpose so I use mono cameras now and my preference is DMK . For full disk I use a DMK 31 because it will almost contain the full disk on the 1/3" sensor when used with my SM 60 or Megrez 110 The shutter speed is 30 fps with the 31 and it does a good job with with non barlowed imaging . For most close up imaging I prefer the DMK 21 this one has a shutter speed of 60 fps  . This is a big benefit when using barlows for close ups because it grabs each frame in half the time and will grab more in focus frames to work with .
 I have also recently purchased a QHY5-II but have not used it too much . I have had decent full disk images with it but have found it suffers from slow shutter speed so my DMK's are still my most used and preferred cameras .


 I find that the 2" models do not cut down the light as much as my 1-1/4 ones will so they are my first choice .For the MiniMax I usually leave my 1.6X in place as a standard . If conditions are better than average I will use my 2x Powermate . I also have a 4x Powermate but have never had conditions good enough to use it , I came close a couple of times with it in my 60 but not quite . These are the 2" barlow's that I have been using .

When conditions are better than average I will use my 1-1/4" barlow's , my options are 2x in Celestron 2.5x Powermate or 3x Televue 

One other option I have recently tried and have had good results with is a 2.4x tele extender . This is a 2.4x barlow type lens that is contained in a camera nose piece .

I intend to take some images using the different combinations to show the difference but I will need a clear day with some time first . I hope this is informative 

1 comment:

John said...

Good background and active parts list Mike.