Below are a few of pictures of my equipment and astronomical objects of interest.
6"f/8 CELESTRON REFRACTOR ON BYERS 812
This is my Celestron 6" f/8 refractor, containing an achromatic objecive. The scope and mount that comes with the Celestron CR150HD is made by Synta of China. The CG-5 mount has been replaced as the legs supplied proved to be inadequate to properly support the system. In its place I am using my 1980's vintage Byers 812 mount. The mount rides on a homemade pier composed of 6" Aluminum conduit, University Optics "Lunar Lander" legs, and AstroPhysics stainless steel tension rods. Also, riding on the tube is a homemade 3N1 bracket made from the same conduit as the pier, a Novak counterweight set, and a finderscope bracket made by Ken's Rings and Things. Finally, I have added Digital Setting Circles using 8192 step encoders geared up to 16384 steps and an Argo Navis to help locate objects.
17.5" ASTROSYSTEMS TELEKIT WITH COULTER MIRROR
This is my original 17.5" Dobsonian. The mirror was purchased from Coulter Optical in 1980 and spent the first 20 years in the heavy, conventional Dob seen below. The tube was 3/8" solid fiberglas, and the altitude bearings were made from a piece of 12" aluminum conduit. 3/4" plywood was used for most of the construction, with several components being double thickness. The groundboard was made of double thickness 1" plywood and the mirror cell sat on a single thickness of the same plywood. There was nothing light about this scope! The only commercial components used on the scope were Novak secondary holder, spider and focuser. The finder (8X50) came from Meade. All other parts were fabricated by me and several members of the PAS. Also seen on top ot the tube box is my Coulter CT-100 - a 4.25" f/3.5 reflector that I used as a wide field finder. I still have this scope and use it regularily.
As I got older, I needed to find a way to lighten the scope. In 1997, I ordered a TeleKit from AstroSystems to house the Coulter mirror. Over a period of several years, I slowly assembled the kit, and it finally made its debut at the Deep South Regional Stargaze in October of 2001.
Since then I have made several modifications to the scope. As seen below, the scope now sports a laptop table and ride along 12 volt power supply. A ServoCAT was the latest addition. This devide adds GoTo and Tracking capabilities to the system. To date I have tracked objects, including comets, at over 400 power - greatly adding to the observing experience.
Below is the ServoCAT equiped TeleKit with laptop table, and battery box on the night I first used the CAT. It performed perfectly, centering every object sought in the 100 power field oof view. Becuase of the location of the ServoCAT's altitude drive motor, I needed to modified the table leg to miss it..
Mars taken through my 6" f/8 refractor on Tuesday, September 2, 2003.
A Phillips ToUCam, Sirius Optics Minus Violet Beta filter, Sirius Optics Planetary Contrast filter, and Televue Big Barlow were used to obtain the AVI sequence. The picture is a stacking of 20 images using Registax.
Saturn taken on Sunday, January 11, 2004
I used my Phillips ToUCam and the Celestron refractor pictured above to take this photograph. I added a TeleVue 2X Big Barlow to the scope to change it to f/16. The ToUCam was set to record 5 frames per second, and I used the image on the laptop to adjust focus, brightness, gain and hue. I recorded several 30 second AVI files (150 images), deleted the audio track using VirtualDub, and then stacked all images using Registax. I did not individually pick the frames to stack. If I had eliminated the fuzzy frames, the finished stacked image would be clearer. However, clearly seen in the photo is Casini's Division all the way aroung the rings until it disappears behind the planet. Encke's minima/division is seen along with the Crepe Ring in front of and on either side of the planet. Also seen is the shadow of the planet projected on the ring. NOTE: the original image was saved as a TIFF. I converted the file to a JPG in order to be able to post it to this webpage. In the conversion some of the finer detail was lost.
In the above photo, I inadvertently failed to utilize the "color" option when registering and stacking the AVI file. Below is the same AVI file re-registered and stacked with the "color" box checked.
Comet Hyakutaki taken piggy backed on my Celestron 8.An Olympus OM-1 and 150mm Lens at f/4 were used along with Fujicolor ASA1600 film to take this 8 minute exposure.
Comet Hale-Bopp taken piggy backed on my Celestron 8An Olympus OM-1 and 75mm Lens at f/4 were used along with Fujicolor ASA800 film to take this 4 minute exposure.
Comet C/2002 T7 LINEAR - February 8, 2004
A large contingent of PAS members ventured to the Girl Scout Camp in Independence, Louisiana on the night of Saturday, February 8, 2004. The skies cooperated and we were able to show those in attendance T7. I first spotted it at 6:30 PM, over 30 minutes before the end of astronomical twilight. As twilight ended, the comet's appearance improved and at 6:43 PM, I made the sketch below.
Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) - April 4, 2004
Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) as photographed by a Koday DC 4800 digital camera. The camera was set at f/2.8 and ASA 400. The shutter was opened for 16 seconds. Despite stong moonlight, the comet can faintly be seen below Wezen.
November 8, 2003 Total Lunar Eclipse
Totality and Post-Totality