This is the list of my essential astronomy gear.
It's not a complete list and it's not the best equipment for some of the types of observing that I do, but I have a lot of fun with it.
The big scope is a 10 inch SkyWatcher dobsonian with Goto and tracking. The Goto capabilities are nice, but the tracking feature is essential. Just point the scope at an object and it stays centered in the eyepiece. No need to constantly nudge the scope as the sky moves. Wander back into the house for more coffee, return to the scope and the object being viewed is still there.
Underneath the big scope is a wheeled platform. The scope is cumbersome to move around otherwise.
The middle scope is an Astronomers Without Boarders dobsonian. It is my "grab and go" scope.
The little scope in front is one that I borrowed from a friend to play with. It's cute. Not much of a scope, but it is cute.
Rightmost, the Commodore PET 2000 is not a useful piece of astronomy equipment. It is something left over from days of home computer antiquity that we keep in the great room as an objet d'art.
My astronomy chair is visible to the left of the telescopes. The astronomy chair is almost as important as the scopes. The height of the seat is infinitely adjustable, allowing me to position myself so I'm comfortable as possible, no matter the height of the eyepiece.
The Business End
Visible from left to right around the front of the scope.
A green laser pointer. Specifically chosen for its cold weather performance -- works well in the winter. Necessary to see where the scope is pointing before doing the contortions to peer through the finder scope for fine tuning where the big scope is pointing.
Electronics for the homebrew stepper motor driven focuser. Sticking out of the end of the box is the temperature sensor. One of the stepper motors is visible mounted on the plywood bracket. There is another motor on the other side for twice the torque. The focuser is controlled over a Bluetooth link and/or a tethered hand controller. The motor driven focuser is essential because I can adjust focus when viewing at high power without having to wait for vibrations to die out between iterations of tweaking.
The finder scope. I align the crosshairs of the finder scope and the view through the main scope by pointing at a tower on a nearby mountain. Works well.
The red thing attached to the 2"eyepiece tube is a ZWO ASI224MC imager. Works well for planetary imaging and for viewing deep space objects using electronic assisted astronomy techniques. It has a USB3 link to my laptop.
This astronomy blog sporadically chronicles my telescope adventures while waiting for Mars' next opposition in December 2022.
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