I acquired this 20" F4.5 scope in February of 2004. It was built by Night Sky Scopes, optics by John Hall. It is equipped with an Argo Navis and Servocat. The mirror gives sharp images and contrast is quite good. The best part is the tracking provided by the Servocat as you can really concentrate and observe an object without worrying about keeping it in the FOV. The GOTO function is very accurate for a wooden truss Dob, putting an object in the FOV of a 13mm Nagler T6. It takes about 20 minutes to set up and collimate, way less time than my imaging rig!
20" F4.5 Night Sky with Argo Navis and Servocat
Death Valley, CA
Takahashi FS-102 Borg 77 ED GM8 ST-2000XM ST-237A
This is my imaging rig that I put together in May of 2005. I previously used the Tak as a visual scope and also with my Coronado Solarmax 60. The Losmandy GM8 mount can bear the load for imaging as long as there is no breeze blowing. I bought the Borg 77ED as a guidescope but I am really enjoying getting some images from it also.
My good old Orange Tube C8 from 1978
My dad bought this scope for me as a christmas present when I was 11 years old. I was truly shocked when I opened this on christmas day as I knew how much it cost, and had dreamed of having one from the first day I saw the colorful brochure sporting beautiful color pictures of showpiece objects. I previously had a Criterion RV-6 as my first scope, and this was quite an upgrade back then. The scope has surprisingly good optics and has seen countless nights under the stars over the last 27 years. I started using it for webcam imaging in 2004 and have captured some decent lunar and planetary images including one LPOD from this vintage scope. Everytime I take the scope out it reminds me of when I was a kid, sitting outside in the snow off-axis guiding, while my eyes teared up from the cold and my eyelashes froze to the eyepiece. Back then I got alot of images of fuzzy blobs and trailed stars but I didnt care, and was excited to get an image with anything even remotely resembling a deep space object. I will keep this scope forever as the memories it gives me are irreplaceable.
[Nebulae] [Galaxies] [Clusters] [Planets] [Lunar] [Sketches]
[Observing Sites] [Astro Adventures] [Observatory] [Surfing] [Travels]
I just got this mount in Dec of 2005. All I can say is WOW!! Its portable, easy to set up and use, the GOTO is dead nuts accurate and it autoguides beautifully. PE is right around 7.5 arc seconds peak to peak This is a huge upgrade from the GM8 as it takes me about half the amount of time to set up a sequence, and I can walk away from it for a couple of hours and know the guiding is probably going well. I recently programmed the mount using Pempro and got the PE down to 1 arc second peak to peak!!! You can view the results here Pempro results
Best Money I ever spent: AP 900 GTO
Carbon Tube C 9.25 and Optec TCF-S focuser
I wanted to try my hand at longer focal length CCD imaging but couldnt afford to drop big bucks on an RCOS RC, so here is my budget answer. Actually this scope performs quite well for the price but you do have to deal with problems of an SCT, finicky ever-changing collimation, mirror shift, and a corrector plate that likes to dew up even with the heater running full blast. I got a good introduction to the value of flat fielding images with this scope, especially when I plug in the AP .67X reducer. I havent quite dialed in this system yet but I think the OTA is capable of producing some decent images. I have a whole new respect for folks that get great images from an SCT, I am just fortunate to have it mounted on a solid tracking platform.