User Links for
 nheacock







CURRENT MOON
(North America)
Telescopes
Item: 
AT65EDQ
Brand: Astro-Tech
Acquired Date: 3/28/2011
Description: 
 AT65EDQ 65mm f/6.5 ED quadruplet astrograph
- 65mm f/6.5 fully multicoated four-lens/two-group (triplet/singlet) refractor
- two ED lens elements, including an FPL-53 element in the objective
- 110mm of backfocus
- amazing flat field astrophotographic capabilities and a 44mm image circle to boot
- dual-speed 2" rack-and-pinion focuser with 10:1 ratio fine focusing
- rotating camera angle adjuster
Use: I plan on using this to shoot large wide field targets and mosaics.
Item: 
ED103S
Brand: Vixen
Acquired Date: 3/4/2010
Description: 
This 103mm f/7.7 apochromatic refractor is purchased as a new imaging scope. I've been wanting an apo ever since regretting getting rid of the MegRez 90. Now I have a new one and at first light it seems to outperform the MegRez 90. Product page is here: http://www.vixenoptics.com/refractors/ed103s.htm
Use: 
Astrophotography primary imaging scope.
Item: 
ZenithStar 66 SD
Brand: William Optics
Acquired Date: 3/5/2009
Description: 
A small-aperture, extremely-portable ED doublet Apo refractor. F/5.9, 66mm objective, 10:1 dual speed focuser with SCT thread for 2" components.
Use: 
I bought this as a dual purpose guide scope/wide field imaging scope. As of 3/6/09 I still need the accessories to image with the DSLR through it. So far it's proving to be a good guide scope.
Item: 
16" Lightbridge
Brand: Meade
Acquired Date: 9/25/2008
Description: Meade 16" Lightbridge on a Dobsonian mount. The mount is a pretty cheap particle board base that I assembled much the way I put together my kid's cheap dresser from KMart. Clearly a place where Meade cut corners in order to bring us a killer 16" scope for only $1850.
Use: What is it NOT used for is the question. Incredible views of nearly everything I look at. I have grown so fast in my astronomical knowledge and ability to locate objects because of this new telescope.
Item: 
R200SS DG
Brand: Vixen
Acquired Date: 9/22/2008
Description: 8 inch (200mm) f/4 (800mm focal length) reflector. Product page is here http://www.vixenoptics.com/reflectors/r200-ss.htm
Use: Astrophotography specific. I don't plan on observing through this scope at all though I'm sure it gives great views.
Item: 
Personal Solar Telescope (PST)
Brand: Coronado
Acquired Date: 7/14/2006
Description: 40mm aperture, milled aluminum, brass polished Hydrogen Alpha Solar telescope.
Use: Daytime viewing of solar prominences and other features only captured by the H-Alpha band. Hey, who said astronomy is a night time activity?!
Item: 
Savannah Porro 10x50 Binoculars
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 8/25/2004
Description: 
10x magnification and 50mm objective lenses with Porro prism. 5.3 field of view. Minimum focus distance, 26'. Long 16mm eye relief. Waterproof/fogproof. Weighs 32 oz.
Use: 
Because I often observe with other people who do not have any equipment, I have a need for two sets of binoculars. These are a much nicer pair than my Visioneers. They have a very flat field of view that is near perfect focus across the entire field.

Mounts
Item: 
CG-5 ASGT
Brand: Celestron
Acquired Date: 3/15/2011
Description: The Celestron CG-5 ASGT is a low end GoTo system that is probably getting close to the lowest end that actually has decent GoTo and an ST4 guide port.
Use: Wide field lens astrophotography. This mount is a touch overkill for what I'm using it for, but I do want to guide my wide field shots and I want to be able to initially set them up with GoTo and control the mount from a laptop.
Item: 
Sirius EQ-G Equatorial Mount w/GOTO Controller
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 2/15/2008
Description: Sirius EQ-G supports up to a 30-lb. load for all your visual or astrophotographic applications. With the GoTo option, the Sirius EQ-G makes a terrific upgrade into the high-tech realm of effortless, electronic object acquisition selecting from among 13,400+ celestial objects using the intuitive menus on the hand controller. The internal dual-axis stepper motors slew at up to 3.4 per second. Includes an illuminated polar-axis scope, 8.3" dovetail mounting bar, and one 11-lb. counterweight. The tripod is remarkably sturdy, as evidenced by the 1.75"-diameter stainless steel legs and cast-metal spreader plate. Requires 12-volt DC power source or AC-to-DC adapter. Weighs 32 lbs., not including counterweight.
Use: I really only purchased this item for going to the next level in astrophotography. Once again, I have purchased a mid-range, somewhat inexpensive item to add to my collection of mid-range gear.
Item: 
Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial Mount
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 10/10/2007
Description: Small but sturdy equatorial mount that's perfect for traveling or campouts. Features an all-metal EQ-1 equatorial head perched on a tripod with three thread-on legs. Makes a terrific tracking platform for wide-field astrophotography with a 35mm camera.
Use: Ultra wide field camera mount only shots. I can take a series of wide field shots without needing to piggyback the camera on the scope. Sweet!
Item: 
Equatorial Platform
Brand: Round Table Platforms
Acquired Date: 5/17/2006
Description: 25" Equatorial tracking platform for my 12" Hardin Dobsonian.
Use: The only purpose of this item is to make the scope track the stars so as to keep the objects in the eyepiece field of view for longer periods of time.

Eyepieces
Item: 
TeleVue
Brand: 12mm Nagler Type 4
Acquired Date: 3/30/2011
Description: 82 degree field of view, 17mm eye relief, both 1.25" and 2" barrel. A killer 13mm Nagler.
Use: This has officially replaced my 13mm Stratus. I loved my 13mm Stratus. Next to the 21mm Stratus it was my favorite. But this one is even better. I can focus on a star at the edge of the field and the object in the center is in focus. Sweet!
Item: 
22mm Nagler Type 4
Brand: TeleVue
Acquired Date: 3/30/2011
Description: 82 degree field of view, 17mm eye relief, 2" barrel.
Use: This eyepiece has officially replaced my Stratus 21. I loved that Stratus 21, but this is definitely a better eyepiece.
Item: 
Binoviewer
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 1/8/2008
Description: Orion binoviewer. One of the least expensive binoviewers on the market.
Use: I got it to try and use both eyes, but in my Dob I need to use the Barlow in order to achieve focus. So I'm really only using it for bright objects like the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and bright deep sky objects such as M13, M57, etc.
Item: 
35mm 2" Panoptic
Brand: TeleVue
Acquired Date: 6/13/2007
Description: This is a 2", wide FOV, 67 degree field of view eyepiece. It has 7 elements, is fully multi-coated and both the barrel is threaded for my 2" filters. However, I needed to modify the barrel because my Lumicon filters wouldn't screw into it. So I bought a $20.00 Orion Lunar filter with a threaded ring. I removed the filter and screwed the ring into the Meade barrel with a touch of locktite to keep it in. Now all of my filters work and it's awesome.
Use: I wanted a flatter, wider, crisper field of view. Particularly for searching out those hard to find Herschel, NGC and Caldwell objects. It suffers a bit from the coma aberration on the very edges, but it's pretty minimal and definitely a nice upgrade from the 32mm Plossl.
Item: 
12mm Illuminated Reticle
Brand: Meade
Acquired Date: 6/9/2006
Description: This is Meade's modified achromatic MA12mm illuminated reticle eyepiece. It includes a three-element, fully coated optical system with decent eye relief, diopter adjustment and double-crossline reticle.
Use: I purchased this item with one purpose in mind: drift alignment for the Equatorial Platform. It works perfect. My platform tracking is far better after spending some time fine tuning the rough alignment using the drift method.
Item: 
Paracorr
Brand: TeleVue
Acquired Date: 3/3/2006
Description: Paracorr is a universal corrector that tightens and intensifies starimages on all f-ratios from f/3.5 to f/8 without adding any false color or spherical aberration! You no longer have to constantly shift a Dobsonian to keep objects centered for sharp viewing. Using a Tele Vue eyepiece, put M-13 at the edge of the field and enjoy resolving its beauty as it drifts across your view.
Use: So I don't have any Tele Vue eyepieces, but this thing works with all of my Orion Epic ED2 EPs and my Meade 4000 Series Super Wide.

Filters
Item: 
Oxygen III Filter
Brand: Lumicon
Acquired Date: 6/5/2005
Description: 2" Lumicon OIII narrow band-pass filter isolates just the two doubly ionized oxygen lines (496 and 501nm lines) emitted by diffuse, planetary and extremely faint nebulae.
Use: Faint nebulae viewing. This filter enhances many common nebulae both diffuse and planetary. The object can appear several times brighter and in much greater detail.
Item: 
H-Beta Filter
Brand: Lumicon
Acquired Date: 9/9/2004
Description: Very narrow band H-Beta filter. Essentially blocks all non H-Beta emissions.
Use: I purchased this primarily to see the horsehead nebula this winter. We'll see if I can get it. I heard that a 12" scope is barely enough to see the famous dark nebula.
Item: 
Astro Physics 105 Solar Filter
Brand: Kendrick Astro Instruments
Acquired Date: 8/8/2004
Description: Solar filter for the Celestron NexStar 102 GT refractor.
Use: I use this for viewing the sun. So far I have seen sunspots with it, but no solar flares. I'm really not sure if I will be able to see solar flares with this filter or this scope or this particular combination.
Item: 
V-Block Filter
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 8/5/2004
Description: Violet block filter for killing the fringe color aberrations on the Celestron NexStar 102 GT achromatic refractor.
Use: This is required for crisping up the images when looking at very bright objects. Primarily the moon, the sun and the planets.
Item: 
UHC Filter
Brand: Lumicon
Acquired Date: 4/25/2004
Description: 2" Ultra High Contrast filter. Isolates H Beta and Oxygen III.
Use: This filter is for general Nebulae observation. It works well on every nebula I've tried it on. Some nebulae are better observed with only an H Beta or an O III filter. This filter does both so it has less isolation, but works on more nebulae. I bought the 2" version of the filter over the 1.25" because my adapter enables the filter to be used with all of my eyepieces.
Item: 
Lunar Filter
Brand: Orion
Acquired Date: 2/17/2004
Description: Looking at the moon through a telescope is extremely bright and can hurt your eyes. Lunar filters are for cutting out the light produced by the moon.
Use: This is a new moon filter for me. The stock one taht came with the Hardin 12" just wasn't quite dark enough. I like this one much better.

Astrophotography
Item: 
12nm H-alpha EOS Clip-In CCD Filter
Brand: Astronomik
Acquired Date: 11/10/2009
Description: This is a photographic 12nm hydrogen alpha filter that clips into the body of the Canon EOS DSLR camera.  http://www.astronomik.com/en/photographic-filters/h-alpha-12nm-ccd-filter/clip-filter-eos-mit-astronomik-h-alpha-ccd-12nm.html
Use: I mostly wanted this for enhancing my images at home, but it turns out that it makes the images better then what I've been getting from a dark sky - as far as detail goes.
Item: 
Digital Rebel XS/EOS 1000D
Brand: Canon
Acquired Date: 11/4/2009
Description: Digital Single Reflex Lens camera. 10.2 megapixels. Excellent camera for both astrophotography and general daytime photography.
Use: I got this item for a dual purpose: 1) My family needed a new camera and 2) to do wide field astrophotography with a lens. I picked it up knowing that I could use it for both applications.
Item: 
Digital Rebel XS/EOS 1000D modded by Hap Griffin
Brand: Canon
Acquired Date: 10/23/2009
Description: Digital Single Reflex Lens camera. 10.2 MP, modded by Hap Griffin from Imaging Infinity
Use: I got this item for not so much for dual, but specifically for astrophotography which is why I had it modded right out of the gate.
Item: 
Multi Purpose Coma Corrector
Brand: Baadar
Acquired Date: 4/12/2007
Description: The Baader Planetarium Multi-Purpose Coma Corrector (MPCC) enables owners of fast Newtonian telescopes to use their instrument for taking stunning wide-field images, or visually, for delivering wide-field views with stars that remain pinpoint to the edge - with no magnification increase!
Use: The key with this item is that it pulls the focus back 10mm which is exactly what I need to achieve prime focus with my Dob. Even better, this little field flattener doesn't increase the focal length like other coma correctors such as the TeleVue ParaCorr (which I also have).

Books, Maps & Software
Item: 
Nightwatch
Brand: 
Acquired Date: 5/7/2004
Description: Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson. Click here to see the book at Amazon
Use: This book is awesome. From it's binding to it's contents, it's just great. Not only does it have excellent information on astronomy in general, it also has some of the best star charts I've seen.
Item: 
Starry Night Pro Plus Software
Brand: Imaginova
Acquired Date: 4/12/2004
Description: Realtime astronomy software. Visit the website.
Use: This is INDESPENSIBLE to me. Though I do not have a computer automated telescope that the software can control, I use it to print out custom star charts, and simply pre-navigate the sky so I have an idea of what's out there before I go observing. I believe that I have grown far more quickly in my knowledge and understanding of what's out there simply because of this tool. I take my laptop with me outside as an observation companion, and it has proven to be quite the teacher.

Gadgets
Item: 
Variable Skylight
Brand: Rigel Systems
Acquired Date: 7/14/2006
Description: Rigel Systems Skylite water-resistant variable brightness two-color LED astronomer's flashlight.
Use: Night time variable flashlight. Red for astronomy, white for camping or anything else. Sweet.
Item: 
Nite Saver Goggles
Brand: Astro Engineering
Acquired Date: 7/18/2005
Description: Eye protection wrap around goggles (like one's you get at Home Depot) but the clear plastic has been replaced wit a thick dark Ruby Red platic.
Use: The idea is to wear them when you have to go back into the house or use a bright flashlight to save your night vision. They seem to work. Cool trick.
Item: 
Laser Collimator
Brand: Celestron
Acquired Date: 5/1/2004
Description: This is a collimator for aligning the primary and secondary mirrors. Better mirror alignment means clearer, sharper images.
Use: The laser collimator will align both the primary and secondary mirrors, but it can't perfect the alignment of the secondary. I use this to make sure the secondary is pointed at the center of the primary, and that the primary is aligned with the secondary.
Item: 
Cheshire Collimation Tool
Brand: Celestron
Acquired Date: 3/29/2004
Description: A collimation eyepiece mainly for the secondary mirror.
Use: Like the laser collimator, this can be used for both the primary and secondary alignment, but the laser works better for faster, more precise alignment. So this cheshire collimator is used to make sure the secondary mirror is correctly positioned with the focuser (something the laser collimator cannot do).
Item: 
Green Laser Pointer
Brand: Z-Bolt
Acquired Date: 2/25/2004
Description: Killer visible beam green laser pointer. Awesome at night!
Use: I use this for pointing out constellations and sky objects to my family and friends.

© 2008 Triad Technology Systems | www.triadtechsys.com