the years I had the chance to own and use several scopes, mounts and
primary imaging platform is now my remotely
controlled observatory, sited in Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia.
This was a compulsory choice since my job took me to expatriate in
Shanghai, China, where on the few nights during the year the sky is
visible the limiting magnituded is around 2. Here below is my portable
setup I still have at home in Italy, for the very few times a year
I am back and can use it.
Apo 140 complete with its matching field flattener: and
outstanding value. This scope is very well built yet lightweight
and its optical correction is great. I use it primarily for deep
sky astrophotography. The large field imaged by the FLI 16803 is
perfectly covered and corrected corner to corner. I also have a
AP 0.75 telecompressor (27TVPH) that can be mounted with a special
adapter on this OTA. The perfectly corrected field with this combination
is about 33/35mm in diameter. I highly recommend this OTA.
SDHF75: a little scope very compact and transportable.
I have used it both at the original FL ( 500mm) and in combination
with its reducer 0.72x (360mm FL). I also own the original 1.4x
extender. The imaging field is very flat and corrected for a circle
of more than 50 mm, even if there is a little residual chromatic
aberration than can be partially compensated refocusing for each
RGB channel (something I usually never do). With the reducer on
the field is still corrected for a diameter of about 35 mm but there
is more vignetting to deal with. Unfortunately the focuser is not
sturdy enough to sustain the FLI Proline or other heavy cameras,
however I used it in combination with a STL without particular problems.
No longer in production.
67 300 ED(IF): a remarkably compact and corrected telephoto
lens, with almost no chromatic detectable even on large CCD chips.
Unfortunately no longer in production and not so easy to find, bought
mine used on keh.com. Now permanently
mounted on my remotely controlled observatory.
Proline 16803: my most recent purchase, an outstanding
CCD camera, fast downloads, very low noise (mine has 5.78 electrons/ADU)
and excellent mechanical construction. I use it with a 7 position
filter wheel. Quite heavy camera though. Now permanently mounted
on my remotely controlled observatory.
Mach1: a great mount, very precise and reliable. I mounted
it over a Gemini GHS MkII QlockTripod for the ultimate transportability.
Tracking is excellent and the mount has proven to be a great match
for the TEC OTA.
autoguider I use a QHY6 camera coupled to a Pentax 300mm f/4 lens. I
also have access to the RC 360AM of the GAV observatory made by AstroTech
that is mounted on a very sturdy Mathis Instruments MI-500 fork mount.
More information here.
is a short list of some pieces of equipment I owned and used in the
past with some comments.
R200SS: a very nice OTA, lightweight and with a quite well corrected
optic. With its matching field corrector provided quite round stars
over almost a 24x36 field. I used only with film and sold it in
2001. Collimation was held well but was quite difficult to achieve.
Optics Fluorostar 100mm f/8: one of the best optics I have ever
used, outstanding color correction both for visual and photographic
work. Not so many units have been produced by WO as far as I know.
The assembly was very nice but quite heavy and the focuser was not
up to the quality of the rest of the OTA. I used it only for film
photography. I sold it in 2004 to finance the TEC.
Visac VC200L: I bought it used for astro photography. I took several
images in combination with an STL11K at prime focus (f/9) and it
produced a flat and well corrected field all over the 24x36mm format.
However collimation for this scope resulted to be VERY critical,
the slightest misalignment produced triangular stars. I found compulsory
the purchase and use of the collimation scope from Takahashi for
this task. Other minor problems were some unpleasant reflections
due to the three elements corrector when bright stars were in the
field and the thick vanes of the secondary that made all bright
stars becoming diamond shaped even with the collimation dead on.
I sold it in 2007.
GM8: a nice transportable mount, used for a several years with satisfaction.
Owned only the non GOTO version. Tracking was good even if not outstanding.
I sold it in 2002
Optics GT1HD: I bought this mount directly from William and used
it for a while. Tracking resulted very good and the finishing very
nice but the overall stiffness was not as expected. Furtehrmore
WO never succeed to fix some mechanical problems and little after
my purchase they stopped the production of this mount. I sold it
Atlux + SS2000: a great mount, precise and transportable. I used
this mount quite extensively. Mechanically the mount resulted very
well made, however I found it too small to properly hold my TEC140.
The SkySensor was a very reliable GOTO. I sold it at the end of
2005 to finance the purchase of the 900GTO.
Sphinx SDX: I bought it for my first trip to Australia. The mount
resulted sturdy and well designed but with a very poor assembly.
I had to disassemble the mount completely and fix several mechanical
problems to make it usable. Furthermore, IMHO, the Starbook is by
far inferior of its excellent predecessor SkySensor 2000. I used
this mount for that trip than sold it in 2007 to finance my AP Mach1.
900GTO: a truly artwork from AP, I used this mount before
receive the Mach1. Very sturdy and precise, sold it in 2009 to finance
the Paramount ME used in my observatory.
mounts I had the chance to own or use includes Vixen Super/Great polaris,
Takahashi EM10, Losmandy G11, Mathis MI-500
Robotics Trifid II (KAF 6303E): I bought this camera when it was
just announced and therefore had to deal with several problems,
both HW and SW, mainly due to the immaturity of the product. Despite
the good support from Yankee I found it difficult to use consistently
and not so easy to setup. I sold it in 2005.
STL11K C2: a very nice camera, easy to use, worked flawlessly since
the first time I plugged in. The only drew backs were the slow download
speed and the difficulty of the camera to cool the noisy KAI sensor
in summertime. Sold it in 2008 to finance the FLI.
Microline 16803: a lightweight camera fitted with the outstanding
KAF1603 sensor. I had only for few months, worked nicely but I had
severe problems of dew on the camera optical window that prevented
the camera usability with cooling below zero. I took the offer of
FLI to free upgrade to the Proline after few sessions.
here to see my usual observing sites in Italy