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When capturing the images on these pages, I have used several telescopes. From large to small, different telescopes have different uses, and I have progressed through a variety. Although I now have a large (for low-budget amateur astronomy) telescope and a small one, I am not sure whether I have settled down with my permanent scopes, but it will remain stable for a while!
Here are pictures and detail of the telescopes I have been using.
Current Deep-Sky Imaging Set-Up with Guiding
Main Purpose: DSO Imaging with Atik CCD camera or DSLR

CLICK for a larger picture
This is now my main imaging set-up. The Megrez 80 Apo is mounted on the Vixen GPDX mount. The counterweight position is taken up with a smaller telescope, a Celestron Nexstar 60SLT refractor, used as a guide scope for keeping the main telescope pointed in precisely the same position for long periods.
Attached to the focuser of the Megrez is the Atik camera and filter wheel, which I use for deep sky imaging through red, green, blue, clear (IR-blocked) and Hydrogen-alpha filters.
On the guidescope is a Meade DSI Pro CCD camera and an Atik 0.5 focal reducer. When used with the PHDGuiding software it can be successfully used to guide the main telescope and keep it pointed at the target.
The black band around the Megrez tube is a dew heater, used with a suitable power supply it keeps the objective lens clear of dew in the cold night air. A similar heater is on the guidescope inside the dew shield.
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Megrez 80 Triplet Super Apo Telescope
Main Purpose: Deep-Sky imaging
Secondary Purpose: Lunar disk imaging
I have now replaced my Megrez 80IISD (see below) with an improved version - the Megrez 80 Triplet Super Apo. This telescope has a much better lens than the older one. It is apochromatic, which means that all three primary colours (red/green/blue) are brought to focus at exactly the same point (within tolerance). This means that the images and eyepiece views through this telescope are much better and don't suffer from coloured fringes at the edge of bright objects, or blue rings around stars, caused largely by differing focus positions of the colours.
In this photo you can see the telescope on it's bag. The fitting on top of the front ring is a threaded bracket for mounting a camera. The telescope has a diagonal and a 2" eyepiece in its focuser.
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Celestron C8 200mm Schmidtt-Cassegrain Telescope
Main Purpose: Planetary and Lunar imaging
Secondary Purpose: Smaller DSO imaging
After a couple of years I replaced my Europa 250 with this 8" Celestron SCT (Schmidtt Cassegrain Telescope). I just wasn't getting the best out of the Newtonian and it was sensitive to my poor seeing. The Celestron SCTs have a good reputation for planetary imaging and I hope this will serve well.
The telescope is shown here mounted on my Vixen GP-DX mount using custom-made rings and a dovetail by Ray's Rings (http://www.freewebs.co.uk/raysrings).
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William Optics Megrez 80 II SD 80mm f/6.25 Refractor
Main Purpose: DSO prime-focus imaging with Canon DSLR
Secondary Purpose: Guiding main scope (as yet unachieved)
This refractor is very similar in size to the Skywatcher below, and it was in fact purchased as a replacement for that telescope. It has the same diameter objective lens (80mm) and a slightly longer focal length (500mm instead of 400) giving almost the same field of view. The difference is the quality of this telescope, which is far higher. The image quality is better, and the overall build quality of this telescope is superior. The focusser is much better too, being a two-inch type (rather than 1.25) and it's of the Crayford design rather than ordinary rack-and-pinion. The focuser is rotatable too, allowing me to rotate the camera without losing focus position. It is shown here with a Celestron 32mm 1.25" eyepiece inserted via the William Optics 2" diagonal. The object placed on the tripod next to the mount is a 2" camera mount with a T2 thread.
Like the ST80 below, I mount it on the Vixen SP mount and capture deep-sky and lunar images with the Canon EOS300D camera.
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Skywatcher 80mm f/5 Refractor
Main Purpose: DSO prime-focus imaging with Canon DSLR
Secondary Purpose: Guiding main scope (as yet unachieved)
I bought this small refractor with several purposes in mind: As a wide-field scope; As a small scope for suitable for travelling with; and possibly to guide the main telescope mount for long exposures - this is still reserved as a future project.
Mounted on the same mount as the main telescope (although not at the same time), it has been very useful for deep-sky pictures with the Canon EOS300D digital SLR camera. The low focal ratio makes it good for picking up dim objects, and the consequentially short focal length means that the field-of-view is wide enough for some of the larger objects. For example, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, fits into a single frame of the EOS300D with this telescope.
The only reservations of this telescope are: 1. It is Achromatic, making images susceptible to colour fringing; and 2. The curved field suffers from coma (distortion) around the edges of the large DSLR frame.
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Orion (UK) Europa 250mm f/4.8 Reflecting Telescope
Main Purpose: Lunar and Planetary Imaging with webcam and 2x Barlow or 5x PowerMate
Secondary Purpose: DSO prime-focus Imaging with modified webcam or DSLR

CLICK for a larger version After using the Astro Systems telescope (below) for a few months I succumbed to aperture fever and bought this larger telescope second hand. It came on an inferior mount, which I sold separately.
This telescope is a 10 inch aperture reflector, giving a larger mirror area than the 8.25 inch scope I was used to. Although the focal ratio is less, at 4.8, than the f/5.0 one, it has a longer focal length (giving higher magnification) and perhaps consequently seems to suffer less from dew.
I have replaced the small finderscope on this telescope with a larger 50mm errect-image version I acquired. This is a very nice device indeed that makes finding objects in the sky a lot easier. As the picture shows, I have also mounted the Rigel Quikfinder on this instrument.
Since November 2004, all my planetary and lunar imaging has been done with this telescope. The longer focal length of 1200mm makes it the most suitable of all my telescopes to date for such imaging. However the small ratio of f/4.8 means focussing is difficult, and even longer focal lengths are available on other types of telescopes such as SCTs (Schmitt-Cassegrain Telescopes), with which the best planetary images are usually achieved.
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Astro Systems 216mm f/5 reflecting Telescope
Main Purpose: Lunar and Planetary Imaging with webcam and 2x Barlow lens
Secondary Purpose: DSO prime-focus Imaging with modified webcam

CLICK for a larger image This was my second telescope, bought to replace the old Meade EQ1-B below. It has a primary mirror approximately double the diameter of the older one giving more than three times the light-gathering area. This telescope is also a Newtonian design, made by Astro Systems of Luton, UK (no longer in business). The telescope is mounted on a Vixen SP equatorial mount with an RA drive motor (see below).
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Vixen SP Equatorial Mount
This picture shows the Vixen SP mount I acquired with the new telscope. This mount is a world away from the old Meade EQ-1 below. This mount is rock-solid and very strong. It has a built-in polar-alignment scope for accurate alignment with the celestial pole. Once aligned well, the motor on the RA axis keeps subjects in the eyepiece, or camera, for hours. The only disadvantage of this mount (unlike newer Vixen mounts) is that the telescope tube rings screw directly to the mount, rather than to a dovetail adapter plate. That makes swapping telescopes between it more awkward.
CLICK the picture to see a larger image.
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Meade EQ1-B 114mm Reflecting Telescope
Main Purpose: Lunar and Planetary Imaging with webcam and 2x Barlow
Secondary Purpose: Solar imaging with full-aperture solar film filter (See Venus Transit 2004)

This is a small Newtonian reflecting telescope. It has a 114mm (4.5") diameter mirror, which in my opinion is the smallest size mirror a beginner should consider for astronomical use, especially imaging. The focal length of the telescope is 900mm, giving a ratio of f/8. It is shown here on the supplied equatorial mount fitted with an RA motor, which comes in very handy when viewing planets at high magnification!>
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A closer view
Here the focusser and secondary spider can be seen. Just visible behind the optical finder is the Rigel Quik Finder I use when locating objects.
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This picture shows the finders in more detail. The Quik Finder can be clearly seen. The three white knobs are for aligning the quik finder view with that of the telescope. The larger black one is for turning on the illuminated "head up" reticule dsplay, and adjusting the brightness. You can make the display flash at a variable rate using the small white knob.
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Daves Astronomy Pictures
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