Updated 2/27/05

12.5" f/5 Newtonian at Birch Mesa Observatory ready for the nights CCD imaging.

 Here is our current setup for CCD imaging from our observatory at Payson, Arizona. Below I will highlight the camera attachment, guideing arrangement, and an overall view of the telescope.

All images with Canon 10D, and 17 - 40mmL lens at 17mm.
Click on the thumbnails for a 800 x 600 view

 Overall view of the interior, dominated by the homemade telescope itself. The tube is square half inch plywood, with large 10 inch diameter air holes along its length. Black fabric is covering the tube to keep stray light out, yet allow air circulation for tube equalization to occur. The square design and holes totally prevent tube currents. The front of the tube is covered with a 14 inch long black poster board light baffle as well. This is a cool image, at least look at the large version of this one.

 Portrait view to show the rolled off roof in the background. The observatory is a "cozy" 8x10 foot.

 Here you can see the fabric over the stained wooden tube. The cables and water tubes are dressed down to be less of a hazard in the dark, and the white refractor on the back is an 80mm Vixen with a 17mm eyepiece that is used for field centering on objects.

 The mount as you may recognize is an Astrophysics AP1200 mount, being used at maximum capacity at 140 pounds. My tube alone weighs 80 pounds by itself, with a full thickness primary.

 The front of the tube has the golden ST8i with water cooling tubes and twin power supply cables for power and the cooling booster. Below it is the 8x50 finder with dew heaters on both ends, and a zero power sight, with dew heaters as well. The tiny hole cut in the light baffle just in front of the finder is where the wires go into the tube to the heater on the secondary mirror if needed. It can get VERY wet up in the mountains here!

 Frontal view of the golden CCD camera, and the ST4 auto guider.

 Here's the shot you need to take note of. To the left edge is the golden ST8i CCD connected to a Lumicon Newtonian easy guider. On the front of this easy guider is a 1x coma corrector that is IN FRONT OF the guiding pick off prism as well. The ST4 autoguider, vintage 1985 has a lock ring for to set the focus the same as the ST8, and a very substantial strain relief on the output cord. This is the weakest point in the ST4 design. Everything is connected to the 2" JMI DF2 focuser, which has a normal and 3x finer knobs for extremely precise focus setting.

 My all Styrofoam light box for taking flat frames. It slides over the end of the 12 inch and provides a four bulb even glow on the transparent surface for nighttime flats. A brightness adjust is at upper right. Why Styrofoam? Its very light AND it has nearly perfect reflectivity of all wavelengths from UV to IR.

 Power supplies for mount, water tub with fountain pump for camera cooling. To the right is the table for the laptop and charts.

 Close up of water cooling tub, you can see the fountain pump inside. Get one like mine that drives a 7 foot column of water and you'll get 46 degrees C below ambient every time!

 ST4 console, with hand controller for the AP1200 mount. Note I put a dark filter over the display so it doesn't flood the inside of the observatory at night with red light !

 80mm Vixen for a super finder scope, with dew heaters on both ends. Did you know that those freeze preventing heating tapes available at ACE hardware can be cut down, and driven with 12 volts for the ideal dew heater?

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