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 10" LX200-ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
  • Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO-CP3 German Equatorial Mount and Astro-Physics Eagle adjustable folding pier
  • Sky-Watcher USA Star Adventurer single-axis mount
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera
  • Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera
Astronomy Lenses and Camera Accessories
  • Prime Lenses
    • 14mm Rokinon f/2.8 IF ED UMC (AE)
    • 24mm Rokinon f/1.4 IF ED UMC
    • 40mm Canon EF f/2.8 STM pancake
    • 85mm Rokinon f/1.4 AS IF UMC
    • 100mm Canon EF f/2.8L Macro IS USM
    • 200mm Canon EF f/2.8L II USM
  • Zoom Lenses
    • 24-105mm Canon EF f/4L II IS USM
    • 28-300mm Tamron f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD
  • Canon EF 2x Telextender II
  • Promote Control, Satechi and Neewer intervalometers
  • Dracast, Manfrotto, and Benro tripods and heads
Computer Hardware & Software
  • Home Desktop: CPU Solutions—Intel Core i7-5930K 3.50GHz CPU, 32GB RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB video card, Dell UltraSharp U3415W 34" curved monitor (3440 x 1440), Windows 10 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 10 x64
  • Mobile: MSI GE70 Apache Pro laptop—Intel i7-4710HQ 2.5GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, NVidia GeForce GTX 860M 2GB, Blu-ray, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD, Windows 10 x64
  • TheSkyX Professional with T-Point and Camera Add-Ons by Software Bisque
  • MaxIm DL Pro by Diffraction Limited/Cyanogen
  • ImagesPlus by Mike Unsold
  • Photoshop by Adobe
Other Accessories
  • Takahashi 0.73x Reducer QE for FSQ-106ED X-III
  • Technical Innovations RoboFocus
  • All-Pro Spike-a™ LED Flat-Fielder 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 Losmandy, SocalAstro, Robin Casady, and Takahashi
  • Cases by Pelican & Scopeguard
  • Custom designed and built AC AstroBox
  • Custom designed and built DC AstroBox
  • Remote/mobile power:
    • Two 75Ah Optima Yellow Top batteries connected in parallel for 150Ah, 120w solar panel via two 60w panels, and solar charger
    • Two 18Ah SLA batteries for DSLRs and Star-Adventurer mount