Equipment

Steve’s personal astronomical equipment: telescopes, software, and computer equipment.

November 26, 2019:

I had disassembled the 10″ Schmidt-Newtonian and cleaned it: there were small spider webs in it, and the mirrors needed cleaning. It was Collimated and mounted again on the main Skywatcher EQ6-r mount. Another EQ6-r is going to be purchased soon for alternating use by the Explore Scientific AR152 (for optical use) and the Celestron C6. The C6 is being used for DSLR. It is currently sitting on an old Meade LXD75 mount but the Orion autoguider cannot be used with this mount – I prefer to get another EQ6 to resolve this.

 

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November 20, 2019:

Update to the Explore Scientific AR152: Let’s just say I am replacing it with my 6″ Celestron SCT…

The Explore Scientific AR152 is not for astrophotography. When I had received it, the light shroud and entire objective lens assembly was loose and I could move it from side to side. I called Explore Scientific and told them the model was an AR152 and the support person said that this was normal and that the light shroud was designed to move up and down the tube – he was wrong; as this cannot be done on the AR152: the technician was thinking about another model.

I had found that the objective lens assembly was held in by only one screw – the other two were stripped (probably on assembly) and laying within the tube; and fell out when I removed the objective assembly. I had to replace the screws and it is now on the tube is on solid.

I have tried laser collimation, but there it is not a good alignment from the eyepiece end – the laser goes from the eyepiece hole to the objective lens at a slight angle and is not dead center in the middle of the lens. I see no way to adjust this from the eyepiece end.

This is the first and the last Explore Scientific product I will own. I will fix the issues with this AR152 and give it to a beginner or kids – as it is a telescope for basic visual use only and not for any kind of advanced imaging. 

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November 2019:

I have I have obtained a new Explore Scientific AR152 (6″) refractor, and this is my new main telescope. It is mounted on a Skywatcher EQ6-r with an Orion StarShoot autoguider pro w/30mm ultra mini guide scope. The software I am using to run this rig consists of C2A (Computer Aided Astronomy) planetarium and APT. The main cameras: I am still using my trusty old Canon T3 DSLR and alternate ZWO 178mc CMOS camera. Everything is operated from the on-board Beelink j45 mini WiFi PC. Power provided by a Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox. Focus by Rigel Systems. The entire rig is operated remote from my warm living room on my Microsoft Surface tablet.

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Starhopper.org

 

I still have the 10″ SN…

Currently in storage is the Meade LXD75 sn-10 10″ Schmidt-Newtonian on a SkyWatcher EQ6-r equatorial mount. I have upgraded the stock focuser to a Crayford motorized focuser that is controlled with a remote. The price of the focuser was about $380. The addition of a Telrad finder has been very helpful in finding objects within a light polluted sky. A heated anti-dew strip is used as this scope can fog up quickly on both the outside and inside of the corrector lens. The CCD is a Meade DSI II color camera (USB interface) with Autostar suite, and it is being used as an auto-guider. A focal reducer is used often to aid in location and for wide-field views, as the DSI magnifies the image significantly.

Meade LXD 75 SN-10 AT (UHTC) 10″ f/4 OEM Specifications

Optical Design:——————————————Schmidt-Newtonian
Clear aperture: ——————————————10″ (254 mm)
Focal length: ——————————————–1016 mm
Focal ratio (photographic speed):——————-f/4
Resolving power:—————————————0.45 arc seconds

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror

Orion Imaging Flip Mirror with Meade DSI II

Software: Meade AutoStar Suite with Envisage (CCD camera control), APT & Backyard EOS for DSLR control, and focus controller is operated by nFocus and Rigelsys.

The secondary telescope is a 1980’s Meade 6600 Newtonian reflector. Equatorial mount with no drive, it is used for quick observing and is also a loaner telescope for anyone at a star party to use. It does indeed have a lot of mileage – but it still works perfectly. It was purchased in 1987 at a Ritz Camera shop at the local Mall. The tripod needs replaced, as it is the legacy wooden one and is becoming unstable. I sometimes do use it on the old Meade LXD75 mount.

Meade LXD75-sn10 Steve Johns

Meade LXD75-sn10 Steve Johns

All images are captured on a HP Elitebook 9480 laptop. Cannon image Pro running IRIS, Corel Paintshop Pro X6 Ultimate.

Wish list: Baader MPCC Mark III Multi-Purpose Coma Corrector

 

 

The new setup is coming along well. I have transferred the Meade LXD75 SN-10 OTA to the newer Skywatcher mount. Software includes C2A for driving the mount, and testing with PHD autoguide continues; and I have yet to get PHD to play nice with all of the COMM ports and ASCOM configuration involved.

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9 comments on “Equipment

  1. I am finding that the new Explore Scientific AR127 could have sever astigmatism. Testing continues: if I confirm the astigmatism, I a selling…

  2. Hi Steve. I purchased an LXD55 SN10 in mint condition recently. The LXD55 mount is severely underpowered for this scope. I have several individuals trying to steer me away from imaging with it but I see you have yours on the EQ6. Is the EQ6 beefy enough for this scope? I would be using a D750 for imaging.

      • Steve, thank you very much! I was afraid I would be dropping 5-6k on a mount. That leaves room for a better focused, flattened and guide scope. Very glad I found your site.

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