NGC6960 | Western Veil and Pickering's Triangle nebula (H-alpha / OIII)

Equipment

Everything you need to know about the equipment I use to make beautiful images.

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Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED APO Triplet

My current main imaging telescope, purchased in December 2019, is this Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED apochromatic refractor. It comes with a doublet field flattener to get a flat field and minimize aberration and distortion. With a short focal length of only 550 mm and F-Ratio of F/5.5 the telescope is designed for wide-field astrophotography. For me the telescope is an impressive optical instrument and I’ve managed to capture some impressive images using this telescope, even from my backyard in light polluted environment. With his compact size, weight and imaging performance it’s also a telescope to easily take with you to dark sky locations. Of course the supplied case with an impressive number of accessories is very convenient to use while traveling. Most of the time I shoot images with the telescope from my backyard or take the telescope with me to the Cosmos Observatory in Lattrop (The Netherlands).

iOptron CEM60 Equatorial mount

I bought the iOptron CEM60 in October 2019 as a replacement for my Vixen GP-DX mount to gain more payload capacity for astrophotography. It is a center balance equatorial mount that was designed to give good stability allied with lightness. With a payload of 27 kilogram, the mount is powerful enough to easily carry heavier telescopes. So a telescope like the Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED (with camera and guiding equipment around 10 kilogram) is a piece of cake. The offset Z shape of the CEM60 looks very different to other equatorial mounts, but this design was chosen to keep the center of gravity directly over the center of the tripod or pier and as low as possible. Al together this gives natural balance and increased stability. The supplied Go2Nova hand controller has a full feature set and a database of over 358.000 objects. I chose to buy an iOptron tri-pier to carry the mount which can handle a weight of up to 100 kilograms. All together a great mount with a lot of growth opportunities for the future.

Canon 750D Mod

The camera I use the most for astrophotography is the Canon 750D. This camera, purchased in December 2016 by Dutch Digital Works, was specially modified for astrophotography with a DAW modification. This modification makes the camera very sensitive in wavelengths in which astronomical objects excel. The camera has become a lot more sensitive to light, especially in red. However, after purchasing new equipment in the years that followed, the camera has now become the weakest link in my optical setup. I therefore plan to replace the camera in the future by a dedicated astro camera.

ZWO imaging setup

For guiding, controlling image capture runs, accurate auto focus, polar alignment and GoTo I use a ZWO ASIAR PRO smart WIFI device. Combined with the ZWO ASI290MM Mini camera attached to a APM 80 mm finder for guiding, and the ZWO EAF for automatic focusing, this setup is a very powerful tool to run the entire astrophotography process from finding an object to collecting data. It is fantastic to see how the ZWO team keeps coming up with new software updates for the ASIAR PRO and provides the users with the most recently developed tools.

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Optolong Filters

Due to the presence of light pollution at the locations where I mostly take my photos I use filters to achieve longer exposure times and to collect specific object data. In the past I used a Astronomik H-alpha 12 nm clip filter to collect H-Alpha data from several objects. Today I use a 2” Optolong L-Pro light Pollution filter and an 2” Optolong L-Extreme filter to collect small band H-Alpha and OIII data. Both filters are very suitable for light polluted environment. However, in the future I hope to also use my equipment in dark sky locations where the use of filters is less necessary.

My main imaging telescopes before December 2019

From 2005 till 2016 I was the proud owner of a Vixen VC200L VISAC telescope. On my website you can also find images made with this telescope. In 2016 I sold the telescope because I started to focus more on astrophotography and I found the tube to be too heavy for the mount I was using at the time (a Vixen GP-DX). I replaced the telescope by a Canon EF 400mm F/5.6 lens. From 2016 till 2019 I made images with that telephoto lens. On the website you will also find images made with this equipment.




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