The challenge of enjoyable observing at home is to reduce the telescope setup time to a minimum. My telescope setup time grew to 1.5 to 2 hours when setting up the CG-11 and the Cookbook CB245 CCD camera. Much of this time was unpacking the CG-11 telescope parts and assembling the telescope. Also, a lot of time was spent setting up Cookbook CB245 CCD camera. Currently I have reduced my setup time to about 30 minutes. The reduction in setup time occured when I implemented the following:
The CG-11 is on a home made plateform made with 4"x4" boards with wheels. The CG-11 is wheeled out of the house on a ramp to the driveway. The CG-11 is roughly positioned North for polar aligment using a compass. Then the dolly is lifted one wheel at a time and a 8"x8" concrete block is slid under the dolly's 4"x4" boards right under where the CG-11 tripod sits on the dolly. Thin aluminum plates are put between the concrete blocks and the wooden dolly to level the telescope. I polar align when it is dark using the CG-11 through the polar axis finder on the CG-11 telescope mount.
The operators table is a folding table with a homemade nylon tent covering the table top to prevent due on the laptop, sky maps, notebooks and electronic equipment to control the CCD cameras. The nylon covering has a flap to cover the opening to stop the laptop display light from affecting astro imaging with the CCD camera. Also, the laptop has a red plastic over the display to cut down the glare. The blue and white cooler behind the telescope is to provide cooling water for the Cookbook CB245 CCD camera.
Check CCD images for pictures taken by this setup.
© 1998-2007 David Haworth