Deep Sky and Wide Field Imaging


I use a Canon 450D DSLR in conjunction with my main telescope for deep sky imaging and use either a Tamron 18-270mm lens, or Canon 18-250mm lens, for wide field shots.



Planetary and Lunar Imaging


I own a Philips SPC900NC webcam for imaging the planets and for taking close up detail of the moon.


The Philips SPC900 is generally considered to be one of the best, if not the best, webcam for planetary imaging owing to its sensitive CCD chip (as opposed to the alternative CMOS type sensor found in most modern webcams).


I was able to pick one up on eBay for a very reasonable price. They typically go for £50-80, but there are some bargains to be had out there. 


Main Telescope:


My first telescope was a Meade DS2090 GoTo set up (3-inch refractor). This was a good first scope as it was not too heavy to transport, and the alt/azimuth mount was easy to use. The GoTo feature meant that I was able to find night sky objects easily, and as a beginner this was my "must have" feature!


What I will remember to this day was my first view of Saturn. One view of this beautiful celestial body and I was hooked on astronomy. In the end this scope did not last long as my real passion was to get into astrophotography and this scope was not suitable to carry my Canon DSLR.









My second scope was a Celestron OMNI 127 XLT (5-inch Cassegrain) with a 1.25m focal length (f/10). This has proven to be a good all-round scope. It is easy to set up and the equatorial mount means it can be polar aligned for more accurate tracking, which is required when taking long exposure images of deep sky objects.













Above is an image of the scope in my homemade observatory (more on that later). Piggybacked on the main tube is a 60mm f/7 guide scope used to obtain for more accurate tracking via a webcam and laptop.



My current telescope is a 10-inch Meade LX90 catadioptric telescope, which has a 2.5m focal lenth. It lacks the advanced coma free optics, but I have purchased a 0.63x field flattener/reducer to compensate for this.  The scope is mounted on a Celestron CGEM mount and has replaced the scope in my observatory above (with a much reinforced pier).









In order to have my telescope permanently set up I decided to build an observatory out of a standard 6x4 foot wooden shed. The project took several months to complete, but I was able to make a permanent home for my telescope. Set up time is in the region of 10-15 minutes, but as the scope is always outside, it does not require any additional cool down time and is permanently polar aligned. Within about 20 minutes of going outside I’m able to start taking images.









Other Equipment

I also own some additional bits of kit such as filters and eyepieces, the standard fair. Some specific pieces of equipment are:

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro – This is a great piece of kit, I have adaptors for both my DSLR and a 60mm f/7 scope. It is easy to set-up and with a wide field lens (typically DSLR lens) does not even need to be accurately polar aligned for imaging. I use the DSLR attachment for imaging star trails or satellites.

80mm Binoculars – Large, heavy and requires a tripod, but these are a really nice set bins for out and about viewing.