Equipment



This page takes stock of main materials I use for astrophotography.

Mount & Opticals


I use an ORION Sirius EQ-G mount that allows astrophotography in good conditions for payloads about 12 Kg max with the help of a tracking refractor for a precised traking because the mechanical games are too important.

However, I had the gears replaced by a set of pulleys / belts (Rowan kit) which allows to remove high frequencies on the periodic error and thus improves the autoguiding quality (smoothing the EP).


For small objects snapshots (globular clusters, galaxies and planetary nebulae essentially), I use an ORION 200/1000 Newton telescope (F/D=5) for which I replaced the original eyepiece by a shorter one in order to have the focal point for my camera.




















I use a 400/80 mm tracking refractor mounted in parallel for autoguiding that has the merit of being light and whose field is not too small in order to easily find a guide star.








For large field snapshots (essentially large nebulae), I use a Sky Watcher 600/80 mm refractor (F/D=7.5) apochromatic doublet (model 80ED black diamond) which provides a good sharpness for a very good cost ratio.

I also use a 400/80 mm tracking refractor mounted in parallel for autoguiding that has the merit of being light and whose field is not too small in order to easily find a guide star.


























For photos while roaming, I use a travel mount "Star Adventurer Mini" from Sky Watcher that put on a photo tripod and allows sidereal tracking on the Right Ascension axis with a max payload of 3 kg (ideal for a camera + lens).

The advantages of this mount are mainly in the ability to perform the station setting using a polar viewfinder and in direct WiFi control from the smartphone.

It also makes it possible to control the triggering of the snapshots via a dedicated plug towards the camera. In addition, a rotation of the horizontal plane is provided for the realization of timelaps.

























For huge field snapshots (Milky Way essentially), I use a Samyang 14mm lens (F/D=2.8), which offers good quality. This objective does not have an autofocus mode, but it has the great merit of being able to switch over a "EOS CLIP" filter due to the weak length of the interlocking system.


For huge field visual observation, I use a binoculars 15x70mm mounted on camera tripod that can see in "3D".












Sensors



In order to photograph deep sky objects, I use an EOS Canon (model 450D) with a filter removed + new one replaced which it is less restrictive (Astrodon filter installed by the company "Astro for EOS") to better see nebulae that emit in the hydrogen emission spectrale line (red). This sensor has a Bayer matrix for color that is less sensitive than a B & W sensor but is much easier to implement when we start astrophotography (no filter wheel, no cooling problem and less expensive to compare to astronomical CCD cameras) I also can use it for photo by day with a modified white balance (autofocus is still working with astrondon filter).












To capture planets, I use 2 cameras :

The first one is a color camera (The Imaging Source, model DFK41) that gives good pictures and is easy to implement. Its disadvantage is not being able to deliver higher than 15 pictures/s instead of double for a model with a smaller but large enough sensor (I therefore advocate the DFK31 / DMK31 model of the same brand if you want a color or B & W sensor).

The second is a B & W camera (iNova, model PLB-Mx) which requires the use of a filter wheel if you want to achieve color images but have the advantage of being much more detailed than a color camera.








For tracking, I use a B & W camera (iNova, model M-PL1) which work well at lower cost and which allows the binning x2 mode for very faint stars.


















Correctors



To improve the optical defects, I use 2 field correctors lens :

A coma corrector from Baader (MPCC model) for the Newton telescope with 51mm diameter.

A flat field corrector / reducer from Televue (TV-85 model) for the 80ED refractor with 51mm diameter which allows imaging larger objects due to the 0.8x focal reducer.














Filters



Regarding filters, I use the four LRGB interference filters for creating color pictures composite with the help of a filter wheel.

















To retrieve only the spectral bands corresponding to emission of hydrogen, oxygen and sodium and for cutting bands of light pollution (mercury, sodium, ...), I use 4 filters "EOS CLIPS" from Astronomik respectively named "H-Alpha CCD 12nm", "OIII CCD 12nm", "SII CCD 12nm" and "CLS CCD" which are clipped directly on the aperture of the Canon EOS (the "CLS" filter is recommended to the equivalent "UHC" filter because it is less restritive and allows an accurate colors rendering)

In the case of snapshots without filters with the EOS, I also use a neutral filter that prevents the sensor to collect the dust during long exposures.










For solar observation, I use a Baader Astrosolar filter mounted in a cache suitable for the 80ED refractor.


Finally, for visual observation, I use a lunar filter and a light pollution UHC filter with 31mm diameter screwing directly on the eyepiece.






















Eyepieces & Barlow lens



For visual observation, I use 5 eyepieces in 28, 26, 12, 8 and 6 mm with a Baader Hyperion 8mm model (with a 68° field visual comfort) and a Sky Watcher 28mm model in 51mm diameter.
















To increase the focale on global, I use 3 Barlow lenses : a standard model in 2x, an APM lens with good quality in 3x and a very good model from Televue in 5x (the 3x Barlow is specific to Newton telescope because the lens directly corrects the coma abberation)























Various



Because it is essential to have an accurate collimation of the Newton telescope, I use a HOTECH laser collimation that allows a perfect centering in the eyepiece holder.

During indoor disassembly or settings phases for the telescope, I use an artificial star from Pierro-Astro company (Model with green spot in 9um and variable intensity)













In terms of connectivity, I use an USB / RJ45 interface in order to connect the PC directly to the tracking port of the mount.

In the various material components, I use very often Bahtinov masks that accomplish best focus on bright stars.

Very comfortable to perform flats and because I am not very handy, I directly bought a dedicated luminescent panel with a max diameter of 250 mm which is convenient to implement.

To prevent the dew comming spoil the snapshots, it is imperative to hang heating resistors to the refractors. As I happened to have the frost inside the Newton tube (the 2 mirrors !) during cold winter nights, I also have two heating resistors for the primary and secondary mirrors of the telescope.





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The aim of this website is to share photos, technics, materials with feedback from me and from others amateur astronomers.

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