I use a 1990 Kenko NES equatorial mount with my refracting telescope. This mount features an RA motor drive with relatively accurate tracking, a polar scope for easy alignment with Polaris, altitude-azimuth adjustment knobs useful in performing precise polar alignment such as the declination drift alignment method, coarse and fine adjustment knobs, setting circles, and adjustable aluminum tripod. My mount has been modified to use a DIY controller to connect it with a laptop via USB and perform automated guiding needed in long-exposure photography of deep-sky objects.
To view sample images taken with the 1990 Kenko NES mount, click here.
I’ve built an aluminum plate for my equatorial mount to allow it to carry the main telescope and the guide scope for autoguiding purposes. In autoguiding, it is important to minimize flexing between the imaging telescope and the guide scope, thus, a plate with suitable thickness helps address this problem. This DIY plate measures 12 cm by 20 cm by 1 cm and made from a solid aluminum plate from a local metals supply shop. Holes have been drilled on the plate to allow attachment of various loads such as DSLR cameras and different telescopes.
I’ve built a wooden tripod for my Vixen 80 mm f/11 telescope on an altitude-azimuth mount. The tripod legs were built using 2 inch by 1 inch wood, with length that approximates the length of the optical tube assembly (1 meter). I’ve also built a crate that will hold the telescope and tripod as one unit, for easy transport and storage.
This is a 1990s Vixen 80 mm f/11 achromatic refractor on an altitude-azimuth mount. I cleaned the lens, repainted the optical tube assembly, and adjusted the mount. This telescope is primarily used for public stargazing events. It is easy to transport, easy to use, and well suited for viewing the moon and planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.
I’ve built a remote shutter switch for my Canon 50D to enable it to take exposures longer than 30 seconds, which is essential in astrophotography. Since the camera already has a battery grip, I just bypassed the battery grip’s shutter button and put an external switch. To make it removable, I used a wire that plugs into a socket hidden neatly in the battery compartment. To watch a demo video, click here.
Smartphones can be used to image the moon by holding it next to the eyepiece of a telescope. For smart phone cameras, a mid-power eyepiece such as a 25 mm eyepiece yields good results. To hold the phone camera steady while taking a photo, a smartphone-to-telescope adapter may be used.
This imaging method is called afocal imaging, in which a camera with its lens is mounted next to another image-forming optical system such as a telescope with an eyepiece or a pair of binoculars.
I’ve built a DIY battery adapter for a Canon 1100D using a 12V power connector, a power supply regulator, and housing of an old battery. The DIY adapter provides power to the DSLR from a DIY field battery for extended use during imaging sessions.
This is a Pentax 10 by 50 S-series waterproof binoculars for terrestrial and astronomical use. Notable features are: excellent quality optics, waterproof (nitrogen-filled), multi-coated lens for improved light transmission with special hydrophobic coating to prevent water and dust from sticking on glass, stable and solid built, internal focusing mechanism with focus lock, with diopter adjustment to accommodate variations in focusing of the eyes, and equipped with socket for mounting with a tripod.
The Celestron Travel Scope 70 is a small telescope designed for viewing distant land-based targets (such as birds and trees) and for casual astronomical observations. While many enthusiasts would purchase this telescope as a grab-and-go telescope, I intend to use it as a guide scope for my autoguider setup.
To view images taken with a Celestron Travel Scope 70, click here.
During an exposure, the imaging sensor of a DSLR warms up, resulting to noisy images. By cooling down the sensor, it is possible to eliminate or somehow minimize this thermal noise.
I have made a number of attempts to accomplish this with a Canon 450D and a Peltier module, however, it appears it is very difficult to implement without running into problems such as condensation and frosting.
The 2011 Sky-Watcher Equinox 100 ED 4 in f/9 refractor serves as my main telescope both for visual observation and astrophotography. The telescope comes with aluminum-lined wooden carrying case. It is supplied with two eyepieces: 25 mm and 5 mm. Supplied also is a 90-degree 2-inch diagonal mirror and an 8 by 50 finder scope.
The Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) features a 4-in f/9 extra-low dispersion (ED) apochromatic (APO) lens design. It has a 2-inch dual-speed Crayford focuser with a thumbscrew underneath for locking the draw tube.