My Astronomy


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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Equipment Upgrade to Celestron 14

After looking for some time I finally managed to acquire a larger aperture telescope (from eBay) to support my supernova searching. It is a 30ish year old orange Celestron C14  Optical Tube Assembly. It is in excellent condition optically and like all C14s, extremely solid.

The orange tubed C14 OTA


The first thing I did was to acquire a pair of Ironwood Observatories "flop stoppers" from Oceanside Photo and Telescope in Southern California. These prevent mirror flop that had also been a problem with the Meade 12" which I had solved in a similar but not identical way.  They can be quickly released to permit primary mirror focusing if required but I clamp them to prevent mirror movement and focus using the external focuser to prevent image shift.

From the T-Point model I established it indicated that the polar alignment was not correct. Instead of following the usual adjustments to the axes indicated by T-Point in terms of "tic" movement required on the ME I decided to use the tried and tested "Drift" method of alignment using CCD images with superimposed cross hairs. I spent a few hours of trial and error adjustment of each axis to minimise drift of the selected stars until a star was split by the cross hairs without drifting for at least 15 minutes on my 9.3 minute square image. The method is well described in this Sky and Telescope article.