Changes in My Amateur Astronomy

?? Can technology do justice to the images of the great master ??

Not in this case!
The first year I used the Celestron C8 Deluxe system I experienced a great deal of image tracking error. At best without PEC enabled my tests showed an error of +/- 28 arc second tracking error. Trying to use the built-in PEC function in an effort to reduce the error was futile as the microprocessor would not record PEC corrections for the entire revolution of the worm gear. This was found to be a problem in all these model units. Celestron accepted this fact and said they would come out with a correction but after a year of hopeing and waiting I never saw one. On my system the tracking error was so great and fast changing that neither the hand controller or a guideing camera could compensate for the error.

I opted to get rid of the complete scope and try something different. I wanted to have a good optical tube assembly (OTA) and mount for less than $4000.00. The Celestron C8 Deluxe sells for $1699.00 most places. I learned that the mount is where one should put most of their emphasis on quality when doing astrophotography. If your OTA were compared to your car stereo receiver and your mount is compared to your speakers then you might have a top of the line high dollar receiver and cheap fuzzy speakers delivering the quality sound of a two transistor radio. Perhaps this is not a clear comparison to many but my point is that excellent tracking ability and stability are very important in astrophotography with CCD cameras. Good optics will not make up for a poor mount. My research revealed that the Losmandy G-11 mount with a Celestron 8inch Fastar compatible OTA would make an excellent pair.

 In poor seeing conditions it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to locate dim deep sky objects. I know, even after two years experience objects can be very elusive in small arpeture finders and main OTA's. This is where GOTO comes into play. If I could spend less time trying to find elusive objects on those few clear nights that i am blessed with the time and energy then perhaps I could photograph more objects. I like that idea. It does take away from the challenge of object location and can reduce my growth in learning the night sky. . . Oh well. . . :)

 OK, now I am armed with good advice from many individuals from the internet and by studying specifications on the equipment I am interested in. During this research Losmandy announces a new device to go with their mounts. The Gemini Servo / GOTO System.

 The Mount and Gemini arrived April 1, 2001. Later I picked up other accessories off Astromart. I have added a Celestron C102 1000mm f10 refractor and Eq3 GEM. The refracter can be used for general viewing and guideing the G-11. I also acquired a Fastar f1.95 lens adapter and have been using it with much joy. A Celestron hard dew shield protects the front of the OTA and camera when in fastar mode.

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