Astronomy Equipment, Projects and Links
Another Zambuto based reflector     Zambuto based reflector  
iOptron star tracker   Making Mosaics  
Collimation by Star Test   Automated Object list generator
Microsoft Lifecam   Narrowband Ghost Images
AE refractor   A heater for the primary mirror
 AAG Cloudwatcher   Artificial Star
 William Optics 132    QSI 683 camera
Barn Door tracker   Dome automation Click on image
MoonLite focuser   Pointing File experiments
Light Box and Flat Frames   Off-Axis Guider
More Mask variants   Starlight Xpress camera
DDM60 mount   Astrometry Click on Image
Timer project click   Bahtinov Mask click
Canon 350D modification click   Collimation
Finding the centre of the mirror click   Links
Webcam Astrophotography  
Carey Mask
The Observatory!  
Reflector renovations
Stepper motor focus control Click on image  


Homemade 6" reflector,
classical Newtonian construction.

The mount is a basic EQ6, with an MCU update from Anand Rajiva to provide GOTO capability and autoguiding.
The software that allows the PC to control the scope was written by Doug Dieter.

GOTO operation:
The GOTO capability is amazingly accurate. Align the scope on a star in the constellation of interest and let the software know which star you have chosen. Instruct the PC to slew the scope to any object in the database and there it is - usually bang in the centre of the field of view.

The guidescope is an inexpensive 80mm refractor.

Tube rings used to attach scope to mount were made by Chris Livingstone.

Contact Chris Livingstone
  The 'open' end.

Crayford type focuser with 10:1 fine adjustment.

(Newly acquired anti-dew heater wrapped around tube)
Looking down the tube. The mirror was aluminised 22 years ago so shows a bit of grime, but the camera flash makes it look far worse than it is!  
ST4 Autoguider

The CCD head at the right sits in the small white telescope and is locked onto a guide star. Any deviation from perfect tracking causes corrections to be sent to the mount RA and DEC drive motors.

Well, that's the theory!

(This is no longer used, An off axis Lodestar guider is now the guiding option.)

The 10" scope

The mirror was made by me. Mirror cell, secondary spider and tube rings made by Chris Livingstone.
  Counterweight extension bar  
Guidescope further forward - main scope can then move further back - more stable.

I hope to have one of these set up fairly soon.

Now done! See here

   What I want for Christmas... Click for video   Astelco mount
Slewing speed 20°/sec
Acceleration and Deceleration 20°/sec²
Absolute positioning accuracy < 5 arcsec RMS ("Full Sky Blind Pointing")
Differential positioning accuracy < 1 arcsec RMS
Tracking accuracy without autoguider < 1 arcsec / 120min
Tracking accuracy with autoguider < 0.3 arcsec
Zero periodic error
  Or even better!
  ASA Direct Drive mount
High torque motors in RA and Dec. (Direct Drive without gears)
Pointing < 5” RMS with pointing file
Tracking precision < 0.25” RMS in 5 minutes
Encoder resolution 0,02“ on the axis
Moving speed 15°/sec.
  Santa Claus failed to deliver so I had to make a serious dent in the pension fund...   See this section for details of my new toy.