My Astronomy




My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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« 1 Day to go to departure | Main | Strumpshaw Fen »

Getting Prepared for the Journey to Spain



I am due to leave on the ship "Cap Finistere" from Portsmouth to Bilbao on Sunday (9th Feb 2014) at 1030 p.m. The ship stops for 90 minutes at Roskoff in Northern France on the way and I am due to arrive in Bilbao at 07:45 on Tuesday 11th Feb. As usual I am taking my trusty Mitsubishi Warrior L200 which is now absolutely packed with telescopes, mounts, cameras cables, computer equipment and all the other stuff that I need for a long stay in Spain.

As you can see the truck is absolutely full. The C14 OTA is on the back seat!

Listed below is the equipment and the configurations that I will be using this year:

Telescope Setup 1:

A: To use for Supernova searching by monochrome imaging of 100+ galaxies per clear night.

B: To take images of open clusters using B and V filters for determination of cluster distance and age.

Celestron C14 - this is the OTA that I purchased several years ago on Ebay. It is a very old model but the optics are still perfect. I saved a considerable amount by buying this old 'scope. I added Bob's Knobs to faciitate collimation and have 2 mirror locks and use an external focuser.

Finder 'Scope - I use the finder from my 4" Meade OTA on the C14. I also use a Telrad finder which is switchable between scopes  - I find this an excellent piece of kit. I must say I find it extremely difficult sometimes to set up the C14 if I have lost alignment between finder and main 'scope! It can be remarkably difficult to find even a bright star in the C14 with its high focal length. I am hoping that the Telrad will help with that. 

Paramount ME - the C14 will be mounted on the ME. This is a heavy piece of kit but I managed to get it from my dome into the truck singlehanded. I was very careful to avoid back injury!!

Tripod - I am taking my Meade Giant Equatorial Tripod to mount the ME and C14. This is a very heavy piece of kit and a very awkward shape to move but again I managed to get this into the truck on my own.

Focuser - I will be using a TCF-Si focuser that is very easily controlled from my laptop using CCDsoft.

Camera - I will be using my SBIG ST9XE to image galaxies as part of my Supernova Search.


Telescope Setup 2:

To use for colour imaging of deep sky objects using a modified DSLR


Telescope - Meade 4" Refractor. I purchased this from Telescope House in Farringdon London many years ago - it was lying on the floor in a corner and I managed to get a good deal on it.


Guide 'Scope - I have a Telrad which is sufficient for my requirements with this scope.

Mount - I use a Celestron CGEM (original) which is a good value mount that I have previously taken to Spain and have used it with a 12" Meade SCT successfully.


Camera - a piggy backed modified Canon 40D with a variety of lens options. I have just obtained an inexpensive 300mm lens (f/5.6) with a X2 Teleconverter that I will use for the first time on this trip.

Telescope Setup 3:

For visual observing of brighter deep sky objects and double stars

My third telescope is a TAL1  4 1/2 inch reflector that I use for visual observing and for demonstration purposes. An excellent 'scope that has a Telrad finder mounting option.


Telescope Setup 4:

To use for visual lunar observations.

This is an ETX 90 telescope from Meade that is very good for Moon work and Solar Eclipses. 


I also intend to carry on the work I am doing to image objects with remote telescopes - in particular using telescopes in New Mexico and at Siding Spring in Australia.

I am also taking my equipment for wildlife photography - particularly birds - and hope to improve my skills in taking wildlife images.

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