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Time to Lighten Up


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Time to Lighten Up

 

I recently relocated to a new house that happens to be closer to town (Tucson, AZ) because of my age and health.  Among other things, this move signaled the need for a smaller scope and mount.  The telescope was a no-brainer for me based on previous experience so I bought an Explore Scientific ED102 Essential Series Air-Spaced Triplet APO Refractor.

Fig. 1

For my mount, I selected my favorite smaller-medium, the Celestron AVX.  I improved its performance: see my article on that task here.

Fig.2

To complete my new rig I implemented a series of ZWO items including an ASI533MC-Pro for my primary camera, an ASI120MM guide camera, a ZWO EAF focus motor, and of course, an ASIair Plus (Mini) controller.

Fig.3

Along with a .8x focal reducer/field flattener I had an excellent rig for anything below 10th magnitude and perfect for large and bright nebulae

Fig.4

Fig.5

In my early years of astrophotography I shot 120” exposures while ignoring the distorted semi-egg appearing stars.  With this new inexpensive rig I routinely ran up to ten minute exposures with perfect stars (see fig. 5 above).

For less than $4,000 (Brand new cost) and less than $3,000 (Pre-owned) I owned a rig that had everything to automatically image even small planetaries and faint nebulae suitable to impress even the best amateur astrophotographers with their $6,000 Tak and $2,000 EQ-6R.

After years of multiple telescope designs and exotic mounts, I was now officially an “old guy” with a combination of hardware suitable to last until I became that well known computer geek enjoying what everybody else was doing while munching my pizza in my warm recliner watching YouTubers that were still “doing” and not just “watching”.


  • Rome, CollinofAlabama, Scott Beith and 39 others like this


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