DIY Autoguider: Home-Built Autoguider Project

About a year ago (November 2011), I started constructing a home-built autoguider, a setup astrophotographers use in imaging galaxies, nebula, and many other deep-space stuff. The setup is no different from what is used by observatories world wide, except that this one was built entirely from scratch. Feel free to browse the details of the project here.

A home-built autoguider setup showing the key components: (1) imaging telescope, (2) imaging camera, (3) guidescope, (4) guide camera, (5) tracking mount, and (6) a computer.

DIY Autoguider (Part 4: Autoguiding and Polar Alignment)

This part of the DIY guide focuses on the actual guiding operation and the drift-alignment method for precise polar alignment. We begin by first assembling the telescope along with the guidescope. We also attach the imaging and the guiding cameras and connect all the necessary cables leading to and from the computer.

Screenshot during actual guiding operation

Read more.

Autoguider Setup

Results of the initial tests on guiding capabilities of my home-brewed autoguider setup seems to be promising. I can’t wait to have it tested in the field. :)

Main scope: Sky-Watcher Equinox 100 ED

Guide scope: Meade DS 60

Main camera: Canon S3 IS

Guide camera: Logitech 4000

Mount: Kenko NES

Controller: Eteny Tracker 3

Guiding Software: Guide Dog

Computer: IBM T42