All the gear, no idea!
Those that have read my first “Start of a very long journey” post will know that I love my gadgets, and what a lot of gadgets astronomy brings!
Some of the gadgets for astronomy (particularly astrophotography), are not like other gadgets – they don’t all have flashy lights or need plugging in – they seem to come in the form of almost identical screw-on bits of adapters. The problem is, once they’ve all gone in one bag (or in my case – several bags) they all look the same and it’s seemingly impossible to determine one from the other. I seem to have an endless supply of these things, and most I have no idea what they do. There has to be a better way of designing these things, but since equipment design is not my area of interest or expertise then I guess we’ll have to make the best of a bad job.
My current equipment list is as follows:
OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) – that’s the bit that is actually the telescope, not the tripod or legs, or eyepiece or myriad of adapter things
Celestron C8 Edge HD – new purchase – only had 2 outings due weather – seems to be an amazing scope
William Optics Zenithstar 66 FD refractor – bought this used from First Light Optics in their sale. Unbelievable performance from a tube so small – again, relatively new to me so not much use yet
Orion XT10i – 10 inch Dobsonian Intelliscope – yes the marketing teams work for telescope manufacturers as well – an Ebay purchase second hand. I love this scope. These are known as “light buckets” because of their light gathering power. The intelliscope bit is a push-to system (rather than go-to, you have to push it around the sky yourself), but is very accurate. This scope is big and bulky but you can get from nothing to viewing in a couple of minutes.
Skywatcher 200 PDS – This is a Newtonian Reflector designed for astrophotography. Not had a great deal of use with this. Again, bought from ebay and was in great condition. It has been expertly modified by it’s previous owner with a few great additions. I was going to sell it on , but the “was in great condition” probably gives it away. The tube fell over and now has a dent in it. I think the neighbours learned a few new words on that day. It seems to work fine, but needs properly collimating, but that’s a whole other story.
Celestron AVX Mount – recently purchased at the same time as the C8 Edge – I’m loving this mount. It’s a lot better than others I’ve tried and has super accurate Go-To capability
It seems like every OTA comes with a crap, or crap set of eyepieces – why they bother, I just don’t know – but this is the area that’s going to eat quite a bit of cash to get something decent. What I will say though is that eyepieces make the most massive difference in viewing
Televue Nagler 20mm type 2 – bought this second hand from a chap near Yeovilton. Absolutely stunning eyepiece – best one I own – use it all the time
Meade 4000 UWA 14mm – bought from astrobuysell – really, really good eyepiece – same league as the Nagler above
Explore Scientific 6.7mm – want to love it, but not had much luck with it. Not sure if eyepiece not much good, or I’ve just used it when the seeing has not been great.
Celestron 40mm Plossl (WTF is this Plossl thing anyway) – came with the C8 Edge HD and actually seems very good
Unbranded 12.5mm eyepiece with illuminated crosshairs (very often called a reticule eyepiece just so newcomers don’t understand what it is) – great accessory for accurately setting up a goto mount. Makes it much easier to align the goto stuff far more accurately than you can by just guessing where the centre is (which is what I was doing) – bought from ebay.
These are the little scopes and other accessories that sit on the side of the main scope to give you a clue as to where you’re actually looking. I’ll write a post about finder scopes soon. There’s basically two sorts – one that gives you some magnification, and the other that doesn’t but projects some sort of image on the sky to help you find your way around. The trouble with the ones with magnification is that it just looks like a sea of stars to me when I look through it and it doesn’t generally help me find where I want to be.
My current list are:
Multi reticle finder from 365Astronomy – bought for use with the Williams Optic (WO) refractor. Not used yet
Skywatcher right-angled 9×50 finder
Nikon D600 full frame DSLR
QHY 5-II guider / planetary camera (not used yet, but comes with loads of impossible to identify accessories)
Well this is where the long list really starts. I honestly don’t know what half the bits are for. I’ll get around to posting images in some posts and see if people can help me out!
Bloody big car battery to supply power to mount and bits & pieces