Instrumentation and Equipment

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For discussions on all aspects of equipment, from building new devices from scratch, to what ready made products are the best for your current setup. Attached the "Instrumentation and Equipment" observing section.

45 436 By DavidJ 4 days 2 hours ago

"Repairing" V and B Photometric Filters?? Wed, 02/24/2021 - 19:53

I know this is a little "out there":

I have a crazed Custom Scientific V filter. A new one is on order from AstroDon.

Another project on the table is helping a friend fix his Lunt 80LT solar scope. He had left it outdoors under a tarp for a year and now it doesn't produce sharp images. He thought to send it back to Lunt to see what they can do, but Lunt told him a long pass glass filter (non-interference) can cloud up if it sees too much humidity. Sound familiar?? I was asked to replace the filter when it arrives in a few days.

Cable pin-out for old Apogee AP7 and AP7p CCD's

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
John W. Briggs Tue, 02/23/2021 - 01:00

Hi Folks-


As I mentioned in the photometry forum a while back, I've been given three old Apogee CCDs -- two AP7p's, and one AP7.  Because the AP7 required a computer card that I don't have, it's unlikely I can make use of it.  But the AP7p's only require cables and a power supply.  Does anyone have the pin-out for the necessary cables, as well as information about the power supply?  I can build my own if I have the technical information.

observatory webcam

HQA Sun, 02/21/2021 - 00:21

The old Foscam webcam at the Mt. John Observatory AAVSOnet telescope, OC61, is failing.  Its IR illuminator barely shows the telescope.  I'd like to replace it.  Of course, 10 years later, there are hundreds of webcams, and I'm getting tired of trying to get the necessary information from hard-to-find manuals.  Perhaps someone has gone through this exercise recently and can give some recommendations?

- HD quality or above

- IR illumination to 100ft or more

- IR illumination must be switchable so can turn off during observing

Polar alignment

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
SGEO Wed, 02/03/2021 - 03:45

What is the state-of-the-art software for polar alignment?

I've discovered that my permanently mounted scope has shifted a degree in altitude.
I have a limited view of the horizon.
The scope is a Meade 12" OTA with a CMOS camera.

In the past I've been using PemPro.

What other options are there?


Automating CCD observing runs....

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
SVD Wed, 01/27/2021 - 22:20

I have a friend that is automating my CCD observing runs. 

He is totally bored with COVID and looking at automating my CCD observing runs.  He did make the observation that "pretty picture" guys want to spend all night taking one image, while my variable goal is to observe lots of stars in one night.

We (he) did one observing run with APT.  He thinks it might be simpler for me to use Sequence Generator Pro.

QHY183 CMOS tests

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
TTG Wed, 01/20/2021 - 15:20

Hi all,

To add to Arne's posts on the QHY600 CMOS, I have recently taken delivery of a QHY183M and have started doing some tests.  My focus is exoplanet photometry so I'm interested in how the peculiarities of CMOS will impact this high precision work.  I'll get to the usual business of linearity etc but I've started looking at Random Telegraph Signal (RTS) because there is so little in the literature on this.

All of the following analysis was done with Python programs I wrote.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunction daylight obs

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
SGEO Fri, 12/18/2020 - 16:57

The planets will be 6' apart on Monday, 12/21. That fits nicely in my 15' FOV. But after dusk they will be below my horizon. :(

But what about daylight observing?

I have a CMOS camera (on a 12" f5.6 system) and using SharpCap software can run it at 12fps. I tried it out earlier this week; I posted the session on youtube:

AM_FlatFieldIlluminator Project

Bruceaust Thu, 12/17/2020 - 05:57

Hi ,

I was wondering if any progress has been made on this project.

Personally i am in need of a flat fielding system and the idea of illuminating from the OTA is very appealing. I the past i have built flat field "boxes" using LEDs and diffusing the light thru white Acrylic. Fine for portable systems but not so good for implementing an automated system in an observatory.

I will be persuing these ideas and install a system in my own observatory in the near future.

I will be using White expanded polystyrene as the "screen".