Friday, December 28, 2007

Summary of Purchase in 2007

Magazines or forums love to put some hot products in the beginning of a new year, and for here, I will put on a summary of items which I have purchased in 2007, in the order of which I can recall from my memory, most likely being most used:-

1. Borg 45ED II with JMI NGF-S:- this is the top of the list, I use it nearly twice every week, and I bought it to a trip (not astronomy oriented), and it's so compact, high quality and useful!

2. Coronado PST (for its etalon):- this is the most exciting project which I've implemented all those years, it makes the most powerful and the most economical setup for H-alpha imaging

3. Canon 10x30 IS:- A 30mm binoculars for astronomy?! Yes, I didn't make it wrong. Image stabilizer is a magic, it makes 10x truely useful without a tripod, the image is so bright and you will soon forget that it's just a 30mm, I love this one, it helps me to see Comet Holmes in urban center, while I'm very busy with my family and studies.

4. TIS DBK 21AF04.AS:- I must be crazy to buy the color version too, but I really love this camera. It quickly gives me the best Jupiter image which I've ever taken. Believe it or not, it takes better image with my C5 than my ToUcam Pro with my C8 (now sold). To be fair, indoor imaging does not allow me to exploit the potential of a C8 fully, but for my C5, it's fine enough. From entry 1-4, you see that I'm really optimizing my small setups. Small scope, small etalon, small binoculars, small camera.

5. APM Herschel Wedge:- this is used far less than the above, but it's not the problem of itself, but it's due to the fact that it's solar minimum now. White light had a hard time during solar minimum, and somehow I also owe my Herschel Wedge a bigger refractor.

6. Baader CaK:- basically same fate with 5, but narrower bandwidth does the work to show more detail, however, since this one is not really too narrow, sometimes I'm too lazy to bring it out, but sure not after solar minimum.

7. C mount lenses (wide angle):- this is the workaround before I go for a DSLR, those TIS cameras can do some limited deep sky works, especially when I'm locked at home with no dark sky, they do their job very nicely, especially considering the price.

8. Shoestring astronomy FC-USB:- this is actually more like for my remote solar scope project, which is suspended due to the lack of the suitable location.

9. Meade DSX mount:- again part of the remote solar scope project.

10. f/6.3 SCT reducer:- this is nearly not used at all, but I'm not blaming it at all, since I don't have time to really do deep sky imaging yet.

Other than off the shelf stuff, here's a list of DIY stuff which comes from my mind in no particular order:-

A. A USB power cable for my TG-SP II:- I found despite the TG-SP II wants 6V, it can be powered by a USB port, and I've tested that it still tracks accurately.

B. Peltier cooler for my DBK/DMK:- nothing special but just to cool the cameras, for better long exposure performance.

C. Solar filter for my Canon 10x30 IS:- sometimes ago I bought a 25mm pocket monocular with baader filter to look at sunspot whenever possible, but I found the image quality is less than desirable, this one is really way better and with IS, even small sunspot can be shown.

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