We begun imaging in 1999 with a Celestron C-8 scope, with a motorized Great Polaris german equatorial mount. As this mount has a built-in polar finderscope, it is very easy to polar-orient the scope with it, which is essential for astrophotography. In January-2004, we added a FS2 computerized drive system to the Great Polaris mount, with go-to capabilities and autoguider imput. We also use for imaging a 80 mm f:5 achromatic refractor, and a 135 mm teleobjective.
Since 2004, December, we have a Takahashi FSQ-106N apo refractor, working either at F/5 or at F/8.
In April-2006, we got a Zeiss Sonnar 180 mm Pentacon objective, for wide field imaging. We also employ a Nikon 50 mm lens.
In 2008 we got a Vixen VC200L telescope for imaging with the STL11000 camera at long focal lengths.
In October-2005, we acquired a Losmandy G-11 equatorial mount for imaging. Since march 2010 it is employed for imaging at remote locations away from Madrid.
New! In march 2010 we got a new ASA DDM85 equatorial mount for the permanent observatory in Pozuelo. With this mount I can get unguided imagies with the FSQ106 scope with exposures up to 30 minutes long. With the VISAC at 1800 mm focal length the mount can track accurately unguided up to 15 minutes.
In 2008, we bought a new STL11000 camera, with a big CCD chip, 36 x 24 mm in size, similar to a 35 mm negative film. With this camera and the FSQ106 scope, we cover a 4 degree wide field. This camera has an internal CCD guide chip, regulated double stage Peltier cooler, five position internal filter wheel, and mechanical shutter. In 2009 we acquired the external STL guide head for guiding when using narrowband filters.
This camera, as many other commercial CCDs, has another advantage, which is its portability to the field, as it is small, lightweigth, air cooled, with a compact power supply, but, over all, it consumes very little electricity, less than 1 amp at 12 V DC, so it can be powered by the car battery.
Image processing is performed in AIP4win, Astroart and Adobe Photoshop CS.
We have also the specific SXV-H9 autoguider head. We use it either with the Celestron radial guider to guide the C-8, and with a 80 mm f/5 achromat to guide the Takahashi FSQ-106 apochromatic refractor.
We sold this camera in 2008.
We have built a LDC-modified Cookbook 245 CCD camera in 1999, following the design of Richard Berry'book and using the University Optics kit, with several modifications in the power supply and in the water-cooling circuit. For imaging deep-sky objects we usually employ an Apogee f:5.5 focal reducer, performing unguided exposures. For acquiring flat-fields, we use a simple flat field box.
For image processing we subtract a master dark frame from each CCD image and, often, we divide the dark-substracted image by a flat-field. To stack several images we use Richard Berry's Multi245 software. Then we import the images in Adobe Photoshop for displaying.
Thanks to the CCD camera we can observe "electronically" faint deep-sky objects from our backyard, is spite of light pollution.
no longer use this camera although it is still functional.
We use a filter wheel provided by Andy Sauletis (firstname.lastname@example.org ), equipped with Edmund Scientific filters: clear, red, green and blue. An infrared rejection filer (Astronimik) is also used at the CCD camera window. An additional anti-pollution CLS Astronomik filter is sometimes used. Using AIP4Win software, the white (unfiltered), red, green and blue images are aligned, and converted to color (the white, unfiltered image, provides luminosity). Finally, using Adobe Photoshop, the color image is framed and converted to TIFF and JPG format for displaying.
Since 2005, we use Astronomik Halfa (13 nm), L, red, green and blue filters, with an
Astronomik filter drawer. Since 2006, we also use Astronomik OIII filter.
For the new STL11000 camera, we employ 50 mm diameter round filters: SBIG luminance, red, green and blue filters, and Baader narrowband H alpha, OIII and SII filters.
For obtaining direct color images of the moon and planets, we have used a Quickcam VC parallel webcan, modified by unscrewing its optics and adding a 11/4” tube, to be able to insert the webcam into the scope focuser. For imaging at f20 or f30, we use either a 2x or a 3x Barlow lens between the focuser and the webcam.
In January-2006, we aqquire a Nextimage from Celestron, also a IR-Pro Planet 740 Astronomik filter.