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My Equipment
(Telescope set-up)

 Below are images of my telescope and some of my equipment. I have the privilege of having the first customer delivered 2005 version of the Mitty Evolution wedge. Frank Sperl of Mitty Observatory Machine Shop personally signed and number the wedge.

I have a SBIG ST7-XME Deluxe CCD camera and Meade 8" LX200 GPS Schmidt Cassegrain (also called a Catadioptric) telescope. they are linked to my laptop computer through a serial port adapter and USB connections. The laptop is remote controlled from inside my home office by my desktop computer system (I use the Remote Desktop feature in Windows XP Pro).

On the underside of the scope's OTA (Optical Tube Assembly), there is a rail with weights attached. These weights can be slid back and forth to balance the scope and compensate for the weight of the attachments. This allows the motors in the telescope to move it more easily and smoothly.

Attached to the front of the telescope is an AstroZap "dew shield". A dew shield helps to keep stray light and moisture from getting on the front lens (corrector plate).

The SBIG CCD camera has a built in cooler that can chill the CCD imaging chip down below -35 Celsius from the ambient temperature. This helps reduce noise from the CCD chip. Ever take a digital photo that was too dark? Did you notice all the blotchy spots. That is called "noise". The level of the signal (the light) was very low for the amount of noise in the camera's CCD chip. That results in the image showing more of the noise than of the object you were imaging. Click here to see an example of noise. The example is a picture of the globular cluster M15. See all the blotches and speckles?

Attached to the front of the SBig ST7-XME CCD is a CFW-8 “color filter” wheel. It attaches almost seamlessly to the front of the camera. The CCD chip itself is grayscale so to take color images you have to take Luminance/Red/Green/Blue (LRGB) sets and combine them.

The wire coming out of the side of the camera is a safety line. I took a piece of picture hanger wire and attached it to a bolt and washer and taped over it to hold it together. The bolt screws into a “tripod” port on the camera. I then wrap the wire around the finder scope support on the top of the OTA. If the camera comes loose it may swing and hit the telescope base but at least it will not fall 5’ to the concrete!

I use a "DewBuster" controller for my heating strips (dew prevention / removal). Heating strips are placed around the eyepieces and most importantly around the corrector plate (front lens on a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope "SMT"). The front of the scope will collect dew if not properly warmed up. Just like a glass of ice water will start to sweat, so will the lens on the telescope. However, if too much heat is applied you get air currents that affect the view through the scope. The DewBuster controller heats the strips to a user set temperature above the ambient air to help balance the need to keep the corrector and eyepieces warm without getting them too hot. I usually start with a setting of 5 degrees and move up to 10 degrees or so as the night gets cooler and the dew starts to fall.

The telescope and Dew Heaters are powered by a Pyramid 10 Amp AC to DC power converter. Everything else is run from AC.


Alt/Azm mode with camera
attached (click for larger image)

Scope on the Wedge

Polar mode on Mitty
wedge (click for larger image)

Signed Mitty Wedge

Frank Sperl's (Mitty) signature
(click for larger image)



DewBuster Controller

DewBuster Controller

Pyramid 10 AMP AC/DC Converter

Pyramid 10 AMP
AC/DC Converter

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