My first telescope was a Celestron 114SLT GOTO 4.5″ newtonian. It was bought for me as a Christmas present and I loved it. As a starter scope the GOTO function was very useful and at the time, as I was living in a flat, I needed a light weight grab and go. This was ideal. I still have it and I will never get rid. Today I use it for solar observations and occasional visual work whilst the main scope is imaging. The image below was taken just prior to going to view the 2012 Transit of Venus. On the front is my home made solar filter. It was very tattily put together but it worked. I have since made a new sturdier one.
My imaging set up is a 6″ Newtonian Skywatcher 150pl. I have just recently purchased a William optics 80mm triplet refrsctor. This scooe is a superb scope, the quality is amazing! It has meant that i now have a whole new learning curve and a new list of targets. Both are mounted onto my EQ5. I chose this set up on basis of it not having GOTO and being able to upgrade it as time goes on. I didn’t want to make a big investment before deciding whether this hobby was certainly for me. Not having GOTO forced me to start learning how to navigate and star-hop to co-ordinates. Eventually I started to build on the set-up. I added dual axis motors that allowed for me to start to delve into astrohotography and finally I went full circle and had a synscan GOTO installed onto the mount. The reason for the Synscan upgrade was to allow full computer control and ability to start guiding, which is a necessity for long exposure astrophotographs. Finally to date the setup comprises of:
SW150PL, Canon 1100d DSLR, QHY5 Guidecam, Orion 50mm guidescope, EQ5 with synscan. For planetary imaging I often use a modified XBOX webcam. Plus many other accessories and eyepieces.
Software that I use:
Backyard EOS – Allows full camera control
Team viewer – Allows full remote computer control
Cartes Du Ciel (Skycharts) – Planetarium and telescope control
EQASCOM – Required for the telescope to be controlled by the PC
PHD – Guiding software
Deep Sky Stacker – for image alignment and stacking
Registax for AVI file stacking
Photoshop for post image processing.
I am sure there will be updates in the near future, the wishlist never ends. However, I still have a lot more to get out of this scope.