Home > Equipment > Lots of New Toys!

Lots of New Toys!

Back in July of last year I decided it was time to get back into amateur astronomy. I joined the British Astronomical Association and took out a substantial loan to buy equipment that would serve all of my developing interests within the subject. Mid Life Crisis ? Well, perhaps, but it was something I had been planning to do for a long time. I considered that I had done the naked eye/binoculars observing apprenticeship and I wanted to be able to see more and further than before. I also wanted to get into the exciting world of astrophotography now that the equipment is relatively affordable and of high quality.

So what equipment did I buy ? Well I had always loved the crispness and contrast of views through a good quality refractor and they require no cooling down time prior to use so I bought a Vixen ED 115s 4.5″ apochromat 890mm (F7.7) as the main imaging/observing scope and a Skywatcher Equinox ED 80 3.1″ apochromat 500mm (F6.25) as a portable imaging and observing scope which could also act as the guidescope for the Vixen when doing autoguided photography.

Knowing that I would get into solar astronomy and recording again I bought a secondhand Coronado Ha PST 40mm solarscope which will let me see prominences, filaments, sunspots and other surface detail.

The mount is a Skywatcher EQ6 SKyScan Pro german equatorial powered by a portable 12v battery power pack.

The imaging cameras include the Atik 16ic mono and an Atik 16HR-C one-shot colour. I also have the Canon 350d dslr which can be mounted on the telescopes.

Other accessories include:

  • Eyepieces: Meade Series 5000 (20mm, 9mm) plus a wonderful WO SWAN 32mm 2″ eyepiece for wide views. Celestron 2X Ultima Barlow.
  • Filters: Astronomik CLS, Ha, OIII, SII, UHC. Baader Solar Continuum. Atik UV/IR Block. Double Variable Polarizing. Aperture Solar Filters (white light)
  • William Optics Dielectric Diagonal
  • Aputure Canon 350d Remote Release/Timer
  • Kendrick DigiFire 7 Dew Heater
  • Celestron Alt/Az tripod for the solarscope
  • Maxim DL and DSLR imaging software
  • Noel’s Photoshop Astronomy Plugins
  • A spare Celestron 12v power pack for the cameras and dew heater
  • A refurbished Toshiba Tecra M3 Laptop
  • Numerous books on the subject!


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