Equip­ment

The Observatory is completed

Roll-off Roof Remote Observatory

My obser­vat­ory is a roll-off roof with a 3.6m x 2.6m lay­out. The roof moves dir­ec­tion North still allow­ing a view to Polar­is when com­pletely open. It’s con­struc­tion is a met­al frame with wooden walls. The found­a­tion of the pier is sep­ar­ated from the obser­vat­ory to min­im­ise vibra­tions. A mov­able front flap, which is opened in synch with the roof, allows a bet­ter view to the South. To keep the wood healthy, it is required to repaint the wooden parts at least once a year.
FSQ-106EDIII on top of the RCOS 14.5" f8 Telescope

My Setup

The obser­vat­ory houses two tele­scopes on a com­mon mount on a cus­tom built pier. Both tele­scopes are equiped with CCD cam­era, fil­ter­wheel, focuser and off-axis guider. They are actu­ally used altern­at­ively dependig on the type of object imaged.

A cus­tom built PC with serv­er com­pon­ents con­trols mount, cam­er­as and aux­il­ary equip­ment. A second PC is hand­ling dif­fer­ent weath­er sensors and is send­ing the data to our com­mon web­site. CCD­Com­mand­er togeth­er with home made scripts (Perl, Python) allow fully auto­mated oper­a­tion of the setup.

ASA DDM85 Mount for Astrophotography

ASA Dir­ect Drive Mount DDM85

My tele­scopes are car­ried by a ASA DDM85 Dir­ect Drive mount with encoders on both axis. It load capa­city is about 65kg. When I added the FSQ 106 EDXIII, I changed to the longer coun­ter­weight shaft to min­im­zed weight and res­ul­ted in much bet­ter sta­bil­ity. It works very pre­cise and reli­able over the past years.

RCOS Carbon Truss 14.5 inch Telescope for Astrophotography

RCOS 14.5″ f/​8 Car­bon Truss

The RCOS 14.5″ f/​8 is my main instru­ment with  about 2.8m focal length. Focus­ing is per­formed by mov­ing the sec­ond­ary mir­ror. Once col­lim­ated, there was no need for recol­lim­a­tion since years. Thanks to the fact that the tele­scope has no rel­ev­ant termal focus drift, it is not required to refo­cus dur­ing an ima­ging ses­sion. Focuser, rotat­or and fans are con­trolled by TIM, the Tele­scope Inter­face Module.

RCOS 70mm Prcision Instrument Rotator for Astrophotography

RCOS 70mm Pre­ci­sion Instru­ment Rotator

To find usable guide­stars near an object, the cam­era and off-axis guider with guider­cam can be rotated by a 70mm PIR. In addi­tion, a 70mm field-flatten­er is moun­ted inside the rotat­or. The RC with the flatten­er at the cor­rect pos­i­tion deliv­ers a nearly flat field even for very big sensors.

Astrodon Off-Axis Guider Monster Moag for Astrophotography

Astro­don MOAG Off-Axis Guider

An Astro­don Mon­ster Off-Axis Guider (MOAG) with an open­ing of 65mm is ideal for large ima­ging sensors, which res­ults in min­im­al vign­et­ting. It’s rigid­ity is required for safely car­ring the load of the cam­era and filterwheel.
Apogee Alta U16M CCD Camera for Astrophotography

Apo­gee Alta U16M CCD Camera

An Apo­gee Alta U16M with a KAF-16803 CCD sensor is used to col­lect photons. It can be cooled about 45° C below ambi­ent. In most cases, I am using pre­flash­ing to elim­in­ate ghost images. An Apo­gee FW50-7S fil­ter­wheel is moun­ted dir­ectly to the cam­era body and holds sev­en 50mm square filters.

Starloght Xpress Lodestar X2 Autoguider Astrophotography Equipment

Star­light Xpress Lode­star X2 Autoguider

A Loade­star guider­cam­era is in use for both tele­scopes. Because the cam­era has no shut­ter, I am using darks at fixed expos­ure times for cal­ib­rat­ing the guider images to min­im­ize hot­pixels. To work prop­erly, the Lode­star need to be con­nec­ted to a powered USB hub.

Astrodon Premium Filters for Astronomical Imaging

Astro­don Gen2 Premi­um Filters

Since the begin­ning, I am using Astro­don fil­ters. To cov­er the KAF-16803 sensors, 50mm square fil­ters are required. For nat­ur­al col­or images, a set of LRGB Gen2 E‑Series fil­ters are used, while Ha 5nm, OIII 3nm and SII 5nm are used to cre­ate Hubble Palette images or to enhance nat­ur­al col­or images.

Takahashi FSQ 106EDXIII Telescope for Astrophotography

Taka­hashi FSQ-106EDXIII Telescope

To allow wide­field ima­ging, an FSQ-106EDXIII refract­or is used on top of the RCOS. The four lenses Pet­zv­al design res­ults in pin­point stars allover the field even for very large sensors. As the focus is drift­ing with tem­per­at­ur changes, reg­u­lar refo­cus­sing is required dur­ing ima­ging nights.

Andor Aspen CG16M CCD Camera Astrophotography Equipment

Andor Aspen CG16M CCD Camera

To cre­ate a really big field of view, an Andor Aspen CG16M CCD cam­era with KAF-16803 (36mm square) sensor is attached to the FSQ. With a pixels­ize of 9um, the angu­lar res­ol­u­tion of the setup is about 3.5 arc sec/​pixel. The cool­ing capa­city of the cam­era is about 55° C below ambient.

FLI Atlas Focuser for Astrophotography

FLI’s Atlas focuser

An FLI Atlas focuser is used for remote-focus­ing. The stand­ard FSQ focuser is used for mov­ing the CCD sensor at an optim­al pos­i­tion, so that the Atlas is able to reach the cor­rect focus. Thanks to it rigid design, it is able to carry the CCD cam­era, fil­ter­wheel and off-axis guider without flexure.

Recent images

M63 Sun­flower Galaxy

M63 Sun­flower Galaxy

Christ­mas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264)

Christ­mas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264)

W50 SNR in Aquila

W50 SNR in Aquila

M95 M96 in Leo

M95 M96 in Leo

Embryo Neb­ula (NGC 1333)

Embryo Neb­ula (NGC 1333)

Pickering’s Tri­angle in Cygnus

Pickering’s Tri­angle in Cygnus

LBN 380 Region in Cygnus

LBN 380 Region in Cygnus

Comet C/​2020 M3 (ATLAS)

Comet C/​​2020 M3 (ATLAS)

Sh2-129 and OU4 in Cepheus

Sh2-129 and OU4 in Cepheus

NGC 7000 and IC 5070 in Cygnus

NGC 7000 and IC 5070 in Cygnus

Melotte 15 in Cassiopeia

Melotte 15 in Cassiopeia

M92 in Hercules

M92 in Hercules

IC 1396 in Cepheus

IC 1396 in Cepheus

Rosette Neb­ula (Cald­well 49)

Rosette Neb­ula (Cald­well 49)

M100 in Coma Berenices

M100 in Coma Berenices

Sh2-188 in Cassiopeia

Sh2-188 in Cassiopeia

NGC 507 Galaxy Group in Pisces

NGC 507 Galaxy Group in Pisces

North­ern Logoon Neb­ula (NGC 7538)

North­ern Logoon Neb­ula (NGC 7538)

IC 59 and IC 63 in Cassiopeia

IC 59 and IC 63 in Cassiopeia

Comet 46P/​Wirtanen

Comet 46P/​​Wirtanen

M71 in Sagitta

M71 in Sagitta

Dumb­bell Neb­ula (M27)

Dumb­bell Neb­ula (M27)

Whirl­pool Galaxy (M51)

Whirl­pool Galaxy (M51)

Ori­on Region (H‑a)

Ori­on Region (H‑a)

M101 Pin­wheel Galaxy in Ursa Major

M101 Pin­wheel Galaxy in Ursa Major

Cali­for­nia Neb­ula (NGC 1499)

Cali­for­nia Neb­ula (NGC 1499)

CTA 1 (SNR G119.5+10.2)

CTA 1 (SNR G119.5+10.2)

3C 400.2 (SNR G053.6–02.2)

3C 400.2 (SNR G053.6–02.2)

Gamma Cygni Region

Gamma Cygni Region

AFGL 5173 in Orion

AFGL 5173 in Orion

NGC 4274 in Coma Berenices

NGC 4274 in Coma Berenices

Markarian’s Chain in Virgo/​Com

Markarian’s Chain in Virgo/​​Com

P Cygni Nebula

P Cygni Nebula

3C 58 (SN 1181) in Cassiopeia

3C 58 (SN 1181) in Cassiopeia

Kron­ber­ger 24 in Cygnus

Kron­ber­ger 24 in Cygnus

Kes 78 in Aquila

Kes 78 in Aquila

Leo II (PGC 34176) Dwarf Galaxy

Leo II (PGC 34176) Dwarf Galaxy

NGC 3486 in Leo Minor

NGC 3486 in Leo Minor

Whir­li­gig Galaxy (NGC 488) in Pisces

Whir­li­gig Galaxy (NGC 488) in Pisces

Sil­ver Streak Galaxy (NGC 4216)

Sil­ver Streak Galaxy (NGC 4216)

Sh2-132 in Cepheus

Sh2-132 in Cepheus

Simeis 147 in Taurus

Simeis 147 in Taurus

NGC 7822 and Cederblad 214

NGC 7822 and Cederblad 214

Little Veil Neb­ula in Cygnus

Little Veil Neb­ula in Cygnus

Pegas­us I Galaxy Cluster

Pegas­us I Galaxy Cluster

Seagull Neb­ula (IC 2177)

Seagull Neb­ula (IC 2177)

Pac­man Neb­ula NGC 281

Pac­man Neb­ula NGC 281

Comet C/​2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Comet C/​​2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Medusa Neb­ula

Medusa Neb­ula

Abell 28 in Ursa Major

Abell 28 in Ursa Major

NGC 3953  in Ursa Major

NGC 3953 in Ursa Major

NGC 6823 and NGC 6820

NGC 6823 and NGC 6820

Cat’s Eye Neb­ula (NGC 6543)

Cat’s Eye Neb­ula (NGC 6543)

NGC 3077 in Ursa Major

NGC 3077 in Ursa Major

Jones-Ember­son 1

Jones-Ember­­son 1

The Scare­crow IC 1613 in Cetus

The Scare­crow IC 1613 in Cetus

Bubble Neb­ula (NGC 7635)

Bubble Neb­ula (NGC 7635)

East­ern Veil Neb­ula (NGC 6992)

East­ern Veil Neb­ula (NGC 6992)

Abell 61

Abell 61

M78 (NGC 2068)

M78 (NGC 2068)

Owl Neb­ula (M97)

Owl Neb­ula (M97)

Thor’s Hel­met (NGC 2359)

Thor’s Hel­met (NGC 2359)

Cres­cent Neb­ula (NGC 6888)

Cres­cent Neb­ula (NGC 6888)

Ghost Neb­ula (vdB 141)

Ghost Neb­ula (vdB 141)

West­ern Veil Neb­ula (NGC 6960)

West­ern Veil Neb­ula (NGC 6960)

Great Pegas­us Cluster (M15)

Great Pegas­us Cluster (M15)

Elephant’s Trunk Neb­ula (IC 1396A)

Elephant’s Trunk Neb­ula (IC 1396A)

Pel­icane Neb­ula (IC 5067) in Cygnus

Pel­icane Neb­ula (IC 5067) in Cygnus