Projects

Mounts

Astrophotography

 

 

3. Astronomy
Telescopes and astrophotography.


 

My telescopes

I've been interested in Astronomy since 1967, my first telescope was a 50mm refractor on an alt az mount, and in November 1968 I ordered a 112mm (4.5inches in those pre-metric times) Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount.

I kept that telescope for almost 40 years although I didn't use it for the last 30 years!

Moving on to the 21st century and my reborn interest in Astronomy:

•2012 to 2014 - Nexstar 130mm Newtonian on a GoTo mount : Ok for viewing but rubbish as a camera mount due to it's jumpy pinion drive. sold in 2014 to pay for my Dobsonian**

•2014 - Skyliner-200p Classic 203mm F/1200 Parabolic Dobsonian Telescope

•2014 - Skymax-127 Supatrak (pronounced super track) auto 127mm f/1500 motorised Maksutov-Cassegrain auto- tracking telescope: A very nice scope that packs away into a hard case for easier transport.

** By a bizarre coincidence I sold the Nextstar through Ebay to Man A in Hull, and bought the Dobsonian a few days later via Gumtree from Man B in Beverley. Man A lived a few hundred metres from my Office and Man B a similar distance from my home.

Here's the twist - Man A is Man B's father.


Other kit includes some nice Russian army binoculars, all the usual bits and pieces and my barn door mounts which I use for astrophotography having decided that, apart from planetary photography, none of my telescopes are suitable.

Barn Door Mounts

The design for my barn door mounts was taken from an excellent article by GARY SERONIK. See his article here. Note that dimensions differ between Gary's model and mine, as the pitch of the rod influences the overall size of the barn door.

My designs have improved over the last few years as I've made and sold several of these.

I started to sell some of the excess parts I had left over from my first mount. bending a 1m length of brass rod correctly was not easy and forced me to design a jig to get the curve consistent. from my 1st successful bending I produced enough lengths of curved rod for 6 more mounts.

I also designed a simpler arrangement for the voltage regulator and as I had to buy at least 10 of every component it seemed sensible to sell the parts.

It was only later that I started selling partially or fully assembled kits.

If you wish to buy parts or complete barn door mounts from me then I'm happy to supply them anywhere in the world. Equally, if you simply wish to use this website to work out to build your own then I'm (almost!) as happy.

Astrophography

I don't take anywhere as many photographs as I would like to using my barn door mounts. Partly this is thanks to out local Council who last year chopped down all the trees near my house - my garden is no longer the dark sanctuary it once was. And the weather has not been as helpful as it could have been.

For photography I use the amazing M4/3 system and a range of current and legacy lenses. I usually keep my exposures down to 60 secs or less. Anything more than this and light pollution becomes a real problem.