Hardware

Our current setup

There is a brief history of our setup. In the early period Sandro started with a 200 f/5 Newton mounted on an Meade LXD75 mount which he used in combination with his original Canon EOS 550D. There wasn’t actually any guider/guidescope. Filippo never changed its original setup formed by a 150/750 f/5 Newton mounted on a Meade LXD55 which he still uses with EOS 600D and ZWO ASI 120MM as guider to do some astrometrical reduction of minor bodies and transient objects from his backyard. When we decided to launch this project, we started upgrading and optimizing Sandro’s setup as follows:

  • We switched first from LXD mount to an HEQ5pro
  • We build the stable column support for the HEQ5 in order to minimize oscillations and maintain the correct polar alignment
  • New telescope cover case.
  • We started implementing our first FullSpectrum camera (EOS 450d), IR filter removed by a laboratory near our site.
  • Implemented Autoguiding using a QHY5L-II-R with a  200mm f/2.8 lens
  • Implemented electronic focuser (developed custom ASCOM drivers)
  • Switched to EOS 750D Full Spectrum modified
  • New guiderscope: Canon 70-300 f/4-f/5.6 used at 300mm f/5.6
  • New acquisition camera: Sigma SD Quattro
  • New mount (EQ6Pro) and imager computer.
  • New acquisition camera: Canon 5D mark II Full Spectrum modified.
  • New optics: GSO 0.2m corrected Ritchey-Chrétien carbon fiber astrograph.
  • New focuser: TS 2″ Heavy-Duty RC double speed crayford focuser.
  • New remote focuser has been developed using an high precision stepper motor (developed custom ASCOM drivers)
  • The QHY5L-II-R stopped working. While it is being repared, the ZWO ASI120MM will be the temporary guiding sensor.
  • New QHY5R color to do some tests (guiding replacement camera, large field ccd testing camera)
  • New IR camera ordered to watch the telescope movements in live streaming sessions (soon!)
  • New telescope computer – A4, 12GB RAM, 1TB HDD Laptop
  • New QHY5L-II CMOS Guiding camera.
  • New anticondensation ring for the autoguider (3W max power)

Therefore our current setup consist in:

  • Optics: GSO 0.2m corrected Ritchey-Chrétien carbon fiber astrograph
  • Mount: optimized EQ6PRO over a fixed column
  • Acquisition unit: Canon EOS 5D mark II Full Spectrum modified
  • Guider scope: Canon EF-S 70-300 f/4-f/5.6 used at 300mm f/5.6
  • Guider sensor: QHY5L-II CMOS or ZWO ASI 120MM
  • Focuser: TS 2″ Double speed heavy-duty Crayford RC focuser with custom electronics.

Future upgrades will be about:

  • Anticondensation automatic control system with Temp&Hum monitoring.
  • Large field parallel setup (looking for a CCD to be used with a canon lens)
  • Observatory dome.
  • Advanced Hi-Sensitivity photometric techniques experimenting.
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