Equipment



The 150mm Esprit in winter, backyard pier.


I have built a concrete pier in my back yard. Follow this link for a photo blog of the process.

Telescopes
120mm Orion EON Apochromatic refractor, f/7.5 now retired
150mm Skywatcher Esprit apochromatic refractor. First light was December 17, 2011.
85mm Televue TV-85 refractor, f/7, with 0.8x reducer and 2xPowermate
80mm Skywatcher Apochromatic refractor, f/7.5
279.4mm Celestron EdgeHD Schmidt-Cassegrain, f/10, with 0.7x reducer.
150mm Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain, f/10.


Lenses
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 USL
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM


Cameras
Canon XSi, unmodified
Canon 50D, modified for greater red sensitivity (Hutech)
Orion Starshoot Pro 2.0
Orion Parsec 8300M on the injured reserve list, perhaps permanently
SBIG STF-8300M a welcome and superior replacement for the Parsec
Celestron Neximage 5 planetary camera


Photographic Filters
77 mm and 48 mm Hutech LPS
48 mm Baader 7 nm bandwidth H alpha
48 mm Baader 6 nm bandwidth OIII-H beta
48 mm Baader 8 nm bandwidth SII
48 mm Orion LRGB set


Mount
Synscan NEQ6 Pro, with pier extension as required. Prior to August 25 2010, I used a Synscan HEQ5 Pro.
Concrete pier, in back yard.


Guiding
Orion Starshoot autoguider, on 80mm (f5) or 50mm (f3.5) refractors.


Gizmos
Feathertouch focussers on all 3 main scopes.
Orion manual LRGB filter wheel.
GPS receiver for mount controller.


Software
Starry Night Pro v.6 for session planning and mount control.
MaxIm DL v.5 for image acquisition, and initial processing. I usually use the Photoshop routines of Neil Carboni to neutralize and darken the sky, and enhance the images as required. A further slight enhancement with levels and sharpening may be needed. Planetary/solar imagery processed with Registax.

Locations I have used
My back yard: 45deg 21min, 75deg 43min (LP=white)
Leitrim Arena, Ottawa: 45deg 19.8min, 75deg 35.6min (LP=red)
Champlain Lookout, Gatineau, Quebec: 45deg 30.5min, 75deg 54.8min (LP=orange/red)
Frontier Road, Ottawa: 45deg 21min, 75deg 25min (LP=orange)
Moose Creek, Ontario: 45deg 15min, 75deg 03min (LP=yellow)
Fred Lossing Observatory, Ontario: 45deg 15min, 76deg 16min (LP=yellow but looking west to dark skies)
Bootland Farm, Ontario: 45deg 23.9min, 76deg 29.5min (LP=yellow but looking west to dark skies)
Foymount, Ontario: 45deg 25.9min, 77deg 18.3 min (LP=green/blue)
Tooey Lake, Ontario: 45deg 20.5min, 77deg 1.4min (LP=blue, looking SW to gray)
Nirvana (Irvine Lake airstrip), Ontario: 45deg 1.8min, 77deg 15.8min (LP=grey)
Rock Lake and Mew Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario: 45deg 32min, 78deg 27min (LP=grey)
Verendrye airstrip, Quebec: 46deg 59.1min, 76deg 29min (LP=black)

My favorite site was a location just south of Foymount, on private land (Quadeville Road). This admirable site, on a hilltop (420 m) with flat outcrops to set the tripod and mount on, is on the blue/grey LP boundary, looking S and W to dark skies. In my humble opinion, it is the finest astrophotography site within 2 hours of Ottawa, and is near the future site of the Madawaskan Highlands Observatory. Unfortunately the site is now the location of a meteorological tower! I am currently using an undisclosed site some 10s of km further east, also above 400 m altitude.


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