TDO gets an upgrade

07/23/2020 |

The entire idea behind TDO (TheDamObservatory) was to make things as easy as possible.  The structure does exactly that, but in 2 years of use, I still had a problem.  Slow f/stop astronomy is hard.  It requires extremely accurate guiding, a guide scope, numerous cameras, tons of cables, and even a light breeze will destroy your best intentions as the telescope shakes.   I needed a solution...

Meet the RAS!   The Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt is kind of like the old reliable Schmidt cassegrain, but different.  Can't look through this telescope with your eye, it is 100% camera only.  And strangly enough, the camera mounts at the business end of the scope, not the back.  But it makes for a very fast (f/2.0) scope with a wide field of view.  Given the camera mounts to the end, it also means using a DSLR camera is a problem, as it blocks part of the light.  The other upgrade was a very discounted Celestron Nightscape color CCD 8300. 

The last major change was to ditch the finderscope, it wasn't really useful anyway.  Instead, I HIGHLY recommend AstroTorilla.   Tasty sounding name, but unfortunately has nothing to do with taco's, and everything to do with plate solving.  Finding something is as easy as using the hand controller or software to go to something, taking a picture, let AstroTortilla process it, and then it automatically drives the telescope to where it should be.  The target will be dead center every time.

So far, MUCH easier to use!  No guiding, lots of light, and very easy setup.