The Meade 622 Cometracker Comet Astrograph Main page for images and equipment
Updated 2/21/16

 Pictured at left is a bit of astronomical history. Let me briefly tell you the story. Back in 1985, Celestron brought out the 5" "Comet Catcher", a cheap Schmidt Newtonian to view (only) the upcoming Comet Halley. Not to be outdone, Meade jumped on the bandwagon and brought out a bigger, badder, and more capable SIX inch Schmidt Newtonian. This scope was built like a tank - it had a steel tube, 2 inch low profile 2" focuser for viewing and imaging, and a solid cradle, finder, and looked fantastic. I should have bought one back then! But I waited and it was soon discontinued right after the comet had gone by.

Ten years later, I found one for sale on Astro mart - the first time I had ever seen a used on for sale in a decade. I contacted the seller, and it was in mint condition in all the original wrappers and had all the original accessories. And after a lot of discussion, it was mine for what I considered to be an excellent price. I soon set up the scope, wrestled with the collimation with the specially offset secondary and used this instrument for some of my very first ST237 CCD images. It was fast, sharp and easily covered the smaller field of the 237 chip.

 A few months ago, I started to refurbish this instrument, which was sitting stored in the corner of the wash room unused. A year ago I had stripped the coatings off the mirrors in an attempt to build a prototype solar scope, but that did not work too well as solar newts have very poor contrast by nature. My goal was to use this instrument on comets, and with the bigger chip ST10xme. The optical tube assembly was torn down, and mirrors were sent off to Majestic Coatings in New Jersey. In a week the mirrors were back, and I built a new mirror cell to mount the thin mirror with out warping it like the Meade cell did so well. Collimation is now a snap with the laser collimator! Finally, on February 12, this year I mounted it up next to my 10 inch in the backyard observatory and took the very first test images. Wow! Using the Baader coma corrector did the trick and the stars were sharp all across the entire ST10 field. I hope to use this for bright naked eye comets and many larger deep sky object with its big 1.5 degree field.

 Here are a few more images of the setup:

Left: View down the front of the corrector plate. See the huge half inch offset in the secondary mirror? This is to catch all the marginal rays of the fast primary. You cannot eye ball the collimation with this scope.

Center: Mirror cell ready for mounting the mirror. Silicone rubber pads at the 70% zone in three places holds it firmly and without any warping what so ever. The pads are silicone adhesive spaced with the three 1/8" Masonite pads. They are removed when the glue is solidified, thus floating the mirror very firmly onto the urethane coated birch hard wood cell.

Right: Mounted on the plate I use for other scopes next to the 10 inch. It is guided with the Vixen 80mm in the background. The original focuser, which was one of the worst rack and pinions in existance was replaced with a precision helical cut unit.

Finally a fish eye close up of it mounted on the 10 inch.

And now here are some images with the new 6" Astrograph:
M35 and NGC2159 clusters in Gemini 2/14/16
Comet Catalina US10 First comet with newly refurbished 6" f/3.6
M41 Full Moon tests of Maxim DL v.6 with 6" f/3.6 2/20/16
M46 Full Moon tests of Maxim DL v.6 with 6" f/3.6 2/20/16
M47 Full Moon tests of Maxim DL v.6 with 6" f/3.6 2/20/16
NGC2244 Full Moon tests of Maxim DL v.6 with 6" f/3.6 2/20/16