Friday, October 24, 2008

Equipment re-organizations

If you have been do astronomy for more than a few years, you will know what I mean.

The History

I started with a Celestron C90 (actually, a pair of 10x50 binoculars) with a camera tripod borrowed from a friend. I soon realized that I need a finder, and after getting a finder, I soon realized that I need a real mount or else I couldn't find a target easily, once I lock, the target lost. ;-)

After getting the mount, I realized that I want more field. A wider field eyepiece is the first step, but then the next step is to replace my C90 with a wide field refractor, so it comes my Tele Vue Ranger. This is the scope which I really used, it goes with me for overnight hiking, wild camping, etc. I even take it down stair to have some quick look, I guess that I have found what I really wanted, not until...

Aperture fever! You got it! My Ranger is my real first lover, I would say, so I will never sell it. I go for a Celestron C8 which is about the biggest that I can move around! That's really a great scope but it certainly wants a bigger mount, so I bought a Giro with Tech2000 drive to do planet imaging! Indoor planet imaging is fun, so much fun that I soon become in a serious lack of sleep. Other than imaging, I still love visual observation the most. Giro is too heavy and so I bought a Unistar mount, I can even go hiking with my C8 now. That was a very successful move. And then I found that I hit some bottleneck, maybe it's due to altazimuth tracking or indoor seeing condition. So I went for a LXD55... But then I found that the real bottleneck was time and energy.

Life Style Change

Life changes... I got two kids and then I soon found that I don't have so much time now, so I downsized from a C8 to a C5. I no longer need big mounts, so I sell my Giro + Tech2000, and the LXD55 is fine enough with a C5 to do some occasional indoor imaging. I don't have much time to sleep, so I couldn't keep up with indoor planet imaging. Instead, I went to the sun. White light, Hydrogen alpha, and then a Herschel wedge for the best white light, and then CaK... And I found portability is the single most important thing so I went for a Borg 45ED II... Very small really, but for the sun, pretty enough.

To push the envelop, I bought a DMK for narrow band solar imaging, and it's really powerful and fun! I also bought a DBK for planet imaging, too.

Life continue to change

I found my permenant lover? Right now I would say that's certainly the sun, but what attracted me most, is still deep sky visual observation, while I couldn't afford the time, nor the heavy gear, I still want to see how should I move on.

On the other hand, DSLR imaging seems interesting and do-able. Let's see how it moves on.

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