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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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Day 121 Monday 21st July 2014 T-Point and SkyX Camera Add On.

I acquired the Camera and T-Point Add ons to the Sky X today - a costly business. It took me a while to set up the necessary data to check that the camera, guider, focuser and filter wheel all worked as they do in CCDSoft. At first glance the camera add on seems like CCDSoft with links to the same functions accessed from a different looking menu. What you are paying for is having Sky X and CCDSoft working in the same package - not much different really but the camera add on seems to lack functions existing in CCDSoft. I particularly missed the ability to plate solve an image just acquired and saved - very useful. Of course you can plate solve in the existing SkyX software but it you have to reload it - unless I am missing something. HOWEVER - I suspect that there are some great features in there that I will come across so I reserve judgement. I really must read that 550 page manual some day.. The reason I changed was to get the upgraded T-Point package with a more straightforward way of mapping a large number of points and applying this to the T Point model. I need to improve the pointing and particularly the tracking on the Paramount. 

It was a clear night but the seeing was not as good as last night and I found that the software would not solve 30 second images because I was not capturing enough stars.  It was quite humid which is never good for astronomy. The corrector plate was unfogged and the camera dessicant had been recharged so it must have just been the seeing. 

Something that CCDSoft did not have was a good focusing routine - this has been enhanced in the camera add on - the graphs indicating focus is much better.

I notice @focus2 is still there - a very awkward name - but I didn't try it. In CCDSoft @focus2 used to only worked when it felt like it - I will try it when I can.