I own a set of telescope equipment I have accumulated since 2005 which at first was my personal portable telescope gear and in recent years has been primarily used for workshop participants using their own cameras for astrophotography. This has been my Losmandy GM8 with William Optics Megrez 90 refractor and ZWO 130mm guide scope.
In 2022 I decided it was time to change this setup used for workshop participants. A few considerations coming in to the mix were:
- My Megrez 90 has become a more permanent fixture at my dark sky observatory and bringing it back for workshops is a time killer (both retrieving it and the work to re-calibration the permanent dark sky setup).
- I would like a faster focal ratio to achieve more for my participants quicker
- I have become a little tired of the ~600mm focal length range telescopes, and want something a little longer but still manageable on a small mount.
- I needed to improve the setup time – making it quicker to polar align, guide, and get going with exposures longer than 30 seconds.
- My new equipment needs to be at an amateur astronomer achievable price point, for a mid level amateur, as this is what they’ll get to try using. There’s no point them testing out a premium OTA or mount when it’s not going to be affordable for most of my workshop participants.
My new telescope equipment
The set up so far looks like this:
- Retain the Losmandy GM8, though am continuing to assess whether it needs to be replaced.
- New Skywatcher Quattro 200mm (8″)
- New Sharpstar MPCC
- New ZWO 120MM guide camera
- New ZWO ASIAir Plus
- New William Optics red dot finder
- New OCAL Electronic Collimator
- New Prima Luce ESATTO 2″ electronic focuser
- Custom made travel case for the Quattro with various accessories attached
I’ll introduce these to you over a few blog posts and talk about some learnings and improvements/changes yet to be made.
Here below are some pictures to bring you up to speed. The equipment is currently spending most of it’s time set up in my backyard observatory which these days largely serves as a test bed for new equipment. Setting up the new equipment here allows me to make small tweaks now and then with minimal time commitment each time. 30 minutes testing guiding or collimation, or adapter spacing or focuser software, all goes a long way.