Equipment



Our monster Dob: a 28" aperture Starmaster Dobsonian with Sky Tracker goto drive system.
 It's over 10 feet tall when aimed straight up.


Installing our new Meade 16" LX200R, a larger and newer version of our old 12" LX200.  This scope is on a fully computerized mount.  Besides having built-in automated pointing ability to any of over 147,000 celestial objects, it can also be operated via computer in conjuction with a wide range of astronomical software.  We can even operate it remotely, with various digital imaging equipment attached, from any computer connected to the internet.


(This scope has since been replaced by the 16" LX200R.  I left the picture up because it shows us using the H-alpha filter.)
Russ shows some Boy Scouts a view of the sun in our (old) Meade12" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, here equipped with a Daystar .6 Angstrom Hydrogen-Alpha filter.  Besides the sunspots visible in normal white light filters, this filter also shows solar flares, prominences, and many other details. Click here for photos we've taken through this filter.



The moon wasn't up, so we kept an eye out for UFOs while waiting our turn on the H-alpha filter.
This scope is a Meade 16" Starfinder Equatorial Newtonian.  This scope can be operated manually or with Meade's Magellan II computerized pointing system.

Both scopes are mounted on Astro Piers by Le-Seur Manufacturing.


Our new refractor:  Buck Harley (1945-2007) donated his Meade 7" ED apochromatic refractor to PGO.
It's shown here on an adjustable-height pier, in the new domed observatory building we built at PGO.
Some images Buck took with it are in our astrophoto gallery.

 

Our Oberwerk25/40X100 Binoculars (don't let the German name fool you- they're Chinese military binoculars) on a parallelogram-type Millenium UniMount from Universal Astronomics.  This type of mount allows raising or lowering the binoculars without changing the aim, so that different people can view the same object without re-aiming.


Other Equipment:

Celestron 100mm f/5 refractor telescope, usually used as a guidescope on the 16" LX200R.  Donated by Dan Allbaugh.

Meade 416XTE CCD Camera with 201 XT autoguider and 616 Color Filter Wheel- very light-sensitive astronomical digital camera, on loan from John Mahony.

Apogee AP47p CCD Camera.  This camera has a 1k X 1k thinned, back-illuminated chip, and -50°C cooling.  A substantial improvement over the Meade 416 camera.  The Apogee camera is loan from Purdue, in exchange for hosting occasional group viewing nights at PGO for their astronomy classes.

SAC IVc camera, which is a Logitech webcam in a container designed to attach to a scope.  Donated by Buck Harley, who also added a Peltier cooler to reduce noise in the image.  Modified for long exposure (deep-sky imaging) by John Mahony.  Then later put in an uncooled box, to make room for:

(2) Phillips TouCam 740 webcams- a remarkably effective way to get very high resolution planet images.  One is on loan from John Mahony, and is used for planet imaging.  The other was donated by Buck Harley.  The Toucam has far fewer "hot pixels" than the SAC/Logitech camera Buck had donated earlier (see above), so I modified this Toucam for long exposure and put it in the cooled container formerly occupied by the SAC, which is now in a simple uncooled metal box.

Astrovid video imaging system- donated by WVAS president Ed Harfmann.

Several computers, donated by various individuals.

DSL internet connection, courtesy of the Mulberry Cooperative Telephone Company.

Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts)- excellent freeware star-charting/telescope pointing software.

Satellite Tracker- freeware by Brent Boshart used to direct the LX200 to track satellites.  The picture of the International Space Station on our home page was taken through the old 12" LX200.

Praktica 35mm film camera body with 50mm f/1.8 and 200mm f/3.5 lenses, on loan from John Mahony.  The lenses can also be used on the CCD camera.

A Night Vision scope, donated by Buck Harley.

An assortment of Barlow lenses, focal reducers, and camera adapters, including the Lumicon Giant Easy Guider.

An assortment of wide-angle eyepieces and a Binoviewer, by Tele-Vue.
 

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