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This is the imaging train that I use when taking astronomical pictures. The entire assembly is pretty heavy so the scope needs to be carefully balanced when using it all.

Starting at the telescope end, you can see the Optec electronic Temperature Compensated Focuser for ultra fine computer controlled digital focusing. It even automatically adjusts for changes in temperature that would make the telescope tube expand and contract and put your images slightly out of focus.

Then comes a focal reducer/field flattener (if needed), basically a wide-angle lens that gives you wider views on your images to get larger objects to fit on your imaging chip.

Next is the color filter wheel. These high resolution astronomical CCD cameras are all black and white, so to do color imaging you need to put color filters in front of the camera, usually a red, blue, and green filter, and often a shot through a clear filter or Hydrogen-alpha, too. The filter wheel rotates the proper filter into place under computer control.

The last item in the chain is an important one, a Meade 1616XTE CCD camera. It is internally cooled and runs best somewhere around 15 to 20 degreees below zero centigrade. It has one of the largest chips currently made, a Kodak 1601E, with a resolution of 1536 x 1024 pixels at 9 microns each. Unlike consumer digital cameras that actually use every third pixel for red, green, and blue colors, this is the true resolution.

Almost every image on this site was taken with ths setup, except for the sunset shots and the latest solar and lunar shots taken with a Nikon D1.


All images on this site copyright Gregory Pyros, 2000 - 2007. Non-commercial use is permitted with proper credit.