Astronomy and astrophotography under California stars

Astronomy Equipment

It's no secret. Taking high resolution photos of objects buried deep in the night sky requires some pretty serious equipment. Here's what I use to do it.

As of late 2010, my imaging sessions take place primarily from my observatory at the Riverside Astronomical Society's dark sky site, GMARS, in Landers, California. It's a 10' x 12' manual roll-off roof observatory.

Observatory
Mobile
  • Takahashi FSQ-106ED X-III Flatfield Super Quadruplet Apochromatic refractor
  • Stellarvue SV80S Triplet Super Apochromatic refractor
  • Meade LX200 ACF 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain with Autostar II
  • Astro-Physics Mach1GTO-CP3 German Equatorial Mount
  • iOptron SkyTracker single-axis mount
  • Losmandy Starlapse single-axis mount
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera (unmodified)
  • Canon EOS 60Da DSLR camera
  • Orion StarShoot Autoguider
  • Astro-Physics Eagle adjustable folding pier
Lenses and Camera Accessories
  • Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L II USM lens
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM lens
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM lens
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens
  • Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens
  • Canon EF 2x Telextender II
  • Sigma 8mm EXDG f/3.5 fisheye lens
  • Sigma 15mm EXDG f/2.8 lens
  • Satechi TR-A Timer Remote Control
  • Dracast, Manfrotto, and Benro tripods and heads
Computer Hardware & Software
  • Home Desktop: Dell Studio XPS 9100—Intel i7-930 2.80GHz CPU, 24GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 5670 1GB, Blu-ray, Dell 2408WFP 24" LCD monitors (dual), Windows 7 Professional x64
  • Observatory: Dell Inspiron ONE 2330—Intel i7-3770S 3.1GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7650A 1GB, Blu-ray, 23" HD screen, Windows 8 x64
  • Mobile: Sony VAIO VGN-FW590 laptop—Intel Core2Duo P8800 2.66GHz CPU, 6GB RAM, AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4650 1GB, Blu-ray, 16.4" widescreen, Windows 7 Professional x64
  • TheSkyX Professional, T-Point Add-On, and Camera Add-On by Software Bisque
  • PemPro by CCDWare
  • MaxIm DL Pro by Diffraction Limited
  • ImagesPlus by Mike Unsold
  • Photoshop CS4 & CS6 by Adobe
Other Accessories
  • Takahashi 0.73x Reducer QE for FSQ-106ED X-III
  • Technical Innovations RoboFocus
  • Gerd Neumann Jr. Aurora 12.5" Flatfield Panel
  • Adapters from Precise Parts
  • Tele Vue eyepieces, Powermates, and 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (TRF-2008)
  • Edmund Optics RKE eyepieces
  • Rings, plates, and saddles by SocalAstro, Losmandy, and Robin Casady
  • Cases by Pelican & Scopeguard
  • Mogg adapter to connect EOS lenses to the Orion StarShoot Autoguider
  • Custom designed and built AC AstroBox
  • Custom designed and built DC AstroBox
  • 100AH 12v deep cycle AGM battery (Sears)
  • 55AH 12v deep cycle AGM battery (Optima)
  • 18AH 12v SLA battery