Instrumentation

Astronomical Space Observation Telescopes

The system is a two scope setup using parallel mounted refractors in a side-by-side configuration.   The cameras are mounted with Quick-Release adapters and can be rapidly rotated or removed by releasing the compression plate which holds them securely in place.  The STV electronics console is mounted on a rotary ring to allow positioning wherever convenient.  The system will be completely robotic and remotely controllable when finished.

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(click for high resolution view)

Takahashi FSQ-106N
The FSQ is a 106mm aperture fluorite apochromatic refractor with a modified Petzval optical design.  It serves as the primary imaging instrument at this time.

Takahashi FS-78
The FS-78 is a 78mm aperture fluorite apochromatic refractor with a doublet optical design. It is an f/8 instrument with a native focal length of 680mm. It serves primarily as a guide scope with the STV.

Coronado Technology Group MaxScope40
The MaxScope 40 will be mounted on the FS-78.  Custom adapters allow using the SolarMax H-alpha filter with either the FSQ or the FS-78.

Telescope Mount

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Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

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Paramount ME with Takahashi FSQ-106 and FS-78 guide scope

Electronic Focusing

Dual RoboFocus focusing motors are secured to the scopes with custom adjustable mounting plates and coupled to the native focusing shafts with zero-backlash, adjustable-torque, flexible bellows shaft couplers.  The FSQ focuser is coupled to an electronic dial indicator that reads out absolute positioning to 4 decimal places on a digital display in the control room.  The FS-78 focuser is coupled to a mechanical dial indicator.

CCD, Digital and Film Cameras

Astronomical CCD Camera
Santa Barbara Instrument Group ST-8XE Class 1 CCD Camera with CFW-8a Color Filter Wheel

Olympus C-4040 Digital Camera
The Olympus has been used to capture the images used on this site.  The originals are captured as uncompressed TIF files, processed in Photoshop 7 as needed and converted to JPG files for web posting. It may also be used for prime-focus or projection imaging with the telescopes.

Nikon F2 Film Camera

Autoguider

Santa Barbara Instrument Group STV Digital Integrating Video Camera and Stand-Alone Autoguider
The STV camera serves as an autoguider, low refresh rate digital video camera or integrating CCD camera. Its primary utility is as an autoguider in this system with a separate guide scope mounted parallel to the main imaging scope.  The STV control box is mounted on a rotating turntable attached to the pier extension allowing it to be positioned wherever needed when using the scopes visually.  The camera head control cable is fed through the cable conduit of the Paramount ME which requires disconnecting and reconnecting the 25 wire connections in the STV camera head.  The STV camera will typically be used at prime focus as a guider when mounted to the FS-78 guide scope.  Since the STV head is essentially “tethered” to the mount via its cable, some provision has to be made to for attaching the camera head “off-scope” when the guide scope is being used for other purposes. Custom adapters allow the STV camera head to be mounted either in three-point guide scope rings or on a quick release adapter mounted to the finder scope bracket attachment flat on the FS-78 or FSQ focuser housing.  The STV can still be used as a guider when mounted “off- scope” by using the SBIG e-finder lens either in the e-finder scope tube or with a Borg helical focuser which is much easier to focus than the SBIG unit.

ST8-&-FS78

ST8XE and STV CCD cameras on the FSQ-106 and FS-78, respectively.