The CCD camera

From february 2017 I’ve added a very important component to my equipment. A specialised cooled CCD camera from ATIK cameras having a generous and senitive matrix (3354 x 2529 ) which I hope will help a lot in hunting more weaker targets. This will replace the Canon 1100D used until now. Anyway the Canon will remain in the available equpment as a secondary camera. img_1680

Main telescope

The main telescope of the observatory is a 0.2m Celestron CPC 800 on AltAz fork computerised mount. In paralel on this instrument there is a 70/700 Skywatcher achromat telescope used for pointing. Also for fast alignment a laser and a reddot are mounted on the main scope.

On the main telescope a Canon 1100 DSLR is mounted in most cases. The pointing telescope use an old Celestron Nexstar camera.

Of course all this setup is connected to the observatory computer and can be remotely controlled and used. I use Nexstar Remote and Cartes du Ciel software for controling the telescope. For the cameras I use the default Canon software and AmCap software for the pointing camera.

Through this setup I can image fields having about 36×24 arcminutes with a resolution of 0.512 arcsecond per pixel. The curent limit magnitude of the setup is up to 16 mag but I hope it could be improved a little in the future.

The computer

An quite old HP Workstation laptop is for the moment the permanent computer of the facility. It is a dual core computer running a Windows XP. The telescope controller, the Canon camera and the NexImage camera are conected to this computer via USB. Also the meteor station camera is conected to same computer via an EZCap USB video grabber.

screen4

The telescope is controlled from a Cartes du Ciel software linked trough ASCOM framework to the NexRemote software and to the telescope. The Canon camera is connected using EOS original software and the NexImage camera using the AMCap software. All the stuff can be remotely accessed trough TeamViewer using a wireless connection to the home router. UPDATE: HDD upgraded to SSD and the machine became unbelivebly fast. Aslo Windows updated from XP to 7.

screen3

Meteor Station

The Meteor Station is build using a Watec Ultimate camera and a apropriate Pentax objective, all mounted in a surveillance camera housing. The setup is connected to the observatory computer which runs some software which monitors the images from camera and detect meteors which pass the field. The station is running the whole night if the sky is clear.

Field instruments

There are also some portable instruments which are used mainly in observation expedition and also public presentations. The biggest instrument is a truss-tube 250/1250 mm dobsonian. Also a versatile and highly portable 90/1250 mm Skywatcher TravelMax is available for such activities.

 

Old telescope

A Celestron Nextstar 6 SE was for about 3 years my main instrument. It was initialy used in combination with a Celestron NexImage camera and afterwards with an Imaging Source camera to produce planetary astrophotography and also double star measurements.

Even if this telescope is for a long time history ( I replaced it with the CPC800 ) i wanted to mention it here because it served me about 3 years between 2009 until 2012, and it gave me great results and a lot of satisfaction. You can see the results of this instrument in the results section.