My Equipment

Last Updated:   01/15/2016

 

 

Images of my equipment and accessories. Some of these images can be used as a guide for other LX90 owners.

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Orion 80mm EON Refractor piggy-backed onto the LX90.

                 

 

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Dark Site Setup 1

Taken on 04/17/12 from the dark sky site in Atoka, OK.  A typical setup for a night of imaging with a partial view of the property in the background.

The LX90 is facing almost due West.

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Dark Site Setup 2

My equipment setup at the dark sky site in Atoka, OK.  Taken at dusk on 04/17/12.

The LX90 is facing almost due West.

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LX90 on Equatorial Wedge

This image shows how the LX90 is attached to the wedge and tripod.  Using an equatorial wedge allows one to do longer exposure photography compared to a scope that is used in alt/az and eliminate field rotation.   Field rotation is a circular movement of the stars evident in the field of view of your telescope when it is not polar aligned.  This happens because of the natural movement of the stars around the celestial poles (+/- 90 declination).  Because the stars rotate around the poles, your scope must be perfectly aligned with the poles to prevent such a rotation in your field of view.  The farther away from true polar alignment you are, the more of a problem it becomes.  When polar aligned properly, you may still get some rotation, but not enough to affect your exposures.  If your exposures show a circular movement of stars around the center of your object, then you know that your polar aligning skills need improvement.

Unfortunately, I have yet to master using the LX90 on the wedge although I have only attempted this one time. Additional experimentation will need to occur until I become more experienced with using this setup. Only then will I be able to increase my exposure time.

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Backyard Setup

My equipment setup in my backyard ready for a night of imaging. My views are restricted generally to the North by a neighbors tree. I also have somewhat of a restricted view to due West by a Pine tree in my yard. That doesn't usually present a problem since that is also the direction of Dallas and the brightest part of the sky.

The LX90 is facing almost due West.

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LX90 Side View

A side view of my LX90-LNT 8" with UHTC Coatings.

Accessories are labeled for easy identification. This configuration shows the DSI attached to the 2" Diagonal which in turn is attached to the 1209 Microfocuser. This setup was not practical once I purchased my Focal Reducers. I have since removed the Microfocuser and Diagonal.  This was due to the possibility of striking the imager on the base at elevations exceeding 74˚.

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LX90 Rear View

A rear view of my LX90-LNT 8" with UHTC Coatings.

So what is a UHTC coating?  On my LX90, the primary and secondary mirrors as well as the mirror on the #930 Diagonal are coated with aluminum, enhanced with a complex stack of multi-layer coatings of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silicon dioxide (SiO2). The thickness of each coating layer is precisely controlled to within 1% of optimal thickness.

Simply put, the result is a dramatic increase in mirror reflectivity across the entire visible spectrum.  Telescopes equipped with the UHTC coating present dramatically brighter images on the full range of celestial objects from emission and planetary nebulae such as M8, M20, and M57 to star clusters and galaxies such as M3, M13, and M101.

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LX90 Front View

A front  view of my LX90-LNT 8" with UHTC Coatings.

With the Dewshield attached. The Dewshield is an aid for keeping dew off of the Front Lens and a protector of surrounding light but a liability if trying to image and the wind is up. It kind of acts as a wind sail. Therefore I remove it if imaging and the wind is more than about 10 MPH.

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LX90 Front Lens

A view of the Front Lens of the LX90 showing the Secondary Mirror Housing and the Collimation Adjustment Screws.

Collimating a telescope is simply the alignment of the optics. The mirrors or objective lenses must be lined up properly for the telescope to deliver a good image to the eyepiece.

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Accessory Case With Eyepiece Filters

My Primary Accessory case which contains a number of items including my various eyepieces, Barlow Lenses, and Vibration Pads.

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Accessory Case Close-up

The objects near the top circled in blue are the vibration pads for my telescope tripod. They are particularly helpful for cutting down vibration when setting up on a hard surface such as cement.  Barlow lenses are used in tandem with eyepieces and increase the magnification of the eyepiece used. I have a 2x Barlow and a combination 2x-3x Barlow in this case.

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DSI Pro II In Case

The DSI Pro II is used for Deep Space Imaging.  It is a Monochrome imager which incorporates a Sony EXview HADT CCD Sensor  measuring 8.3 microns (w) x 8.6 microns (h).   This produces an image 752 x 582 Pixels.  It is used in tandem with Red, Green, and Blue filters to post-process a color image.

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DSI Pro II In Case - Close-up

In addition to the DSI Pro II, the case also contains Meade f/3.3 and f/6.3 Focal Reducers. The Filter bar containing the LRGB filters and a Baader IR/UV Cut Filter is also included in the case.

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LPI Imager

Primarily used for Lunar/Planetary imaging. The majority of my Lunar, Solar, and Planetary images were taken with this piece of equipment. Like the DSI imager, a number of single images are taken of an object then stacked to produce the final image. Unlike the DSI, this is a color imager so no filters are required.

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ToUcam 740 Webcam

Something I was not aware of when I began imaging was that there are Webcams that can produce pretty darned good quality Solar, Lunar, and Planetary images. The ToUcam line is one of those.

Purchased from a club member at a real bargain, I capture images using K3CCDTOOLS Software. While I still prefer the LPI slightly over the ToUcam, both produce very good quality images.

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SteadyPix Digital Camera Mount

In order to be able to mount my digital cameras to the telescope for the purpose of Lunar imaging, I purchased an Orion SteadyPix Camera Mount. This mount is fully adjustable and allows me to attach any of my digital camera to an eyepiece by clamping the SteadyPix to the eyepiece and sliding the camera on the mount until the lens mates with the eyepiece.

 

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#928 Diagonal Clearance

This image shows the clearance of the diagonal to the base when attached to the Meade #1209 Microfocuser.  As seen in this image the diagonal will clear the base but with only 1/4" to spare. The Meade #928 1.25" Diagonal  Prism comes as a stock item with the LX90.

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#930 Diagonal Clearance

The Meade #930 2" Diagonal Mirror with UHTC coating is a marked improvement over the stock prism diagonal (above).  It includes a 1.25" adapter so both 1.25" and 2" eyepieces will fit into this diagonal.  The #930 diagonal will produce a brighter image than the prism diagonal. This particular model is designed for use with the #1209 Microfocuser. The one drawback with this diagonal when attached to the Microfocuser is that it will strike the base at an elevation of approximately 74˚.

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Focal Reducer Assembly Instructions

A focal reducer works by concentrating the light cone produced by the scope into a smaller, yet brighter circle. Because the light cone at focus is actually smaller and the detector stays the same size, the field of view also increases.

This diagram shows one method of connecting the DSI Imager to the telescope in tandem with a Focal Reducer and 1209 Microfocuser.  It also demonstrates which included spacer to use thereby adjusting to a different focal length.

I use this setup (with or without the Microfocuser) whenever I am preparing for a night of imaging.

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Focal Reducer Assembly Example

An example of my component setup based on using the Microfocuser. Since I have recently removed the Microfocuser due to elevation constrictions,  the SC Adapter on the far left is not needed. The focal reducer simply screws on to the visual back of the telescope.

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Focal Reducer Components Assembled

The end result of the components in the above photo after they have been assembled.  The DSI Filter Bar is not shown in this photo.

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Focal Reducer Components Assembled

DSI setup for 2" opening in either telescope at roughly f/3.3 focal reduction.  The DSI Filter Bar is not shown in this photo.

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Focal Reducer and DSI attached

This image shows the DSI imager and Focal Reducer (with 30mm spacer) attached to the 1209 Microfocuser, and to the LX90.

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Bino's on Tripod

This image shows my Orion WorldView 10x50 Binoculars mounted on a tripod. The binoculars are fully coated and waterproof  with a 6.0˚ Field Of View (FOV).  In order to eliminate hand shake, it is always advisable to mount the binoculars on something stable.  In this case I'm using my Camcorder tripod which is fully retractable and height adjustable.  I purchased an Orion Large Binocular Tripod L-Adapter Bracket so the binoculars could be attached to the tripod head.

 

 

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This site was last updated 01/15/16

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