Welcome to Astronomy Powers

Welcome To Matt’s Blog about Astronomy.  This space will be used to explain what I’ve learned and show what I’m working on.  The world of astronomy is so much more than just looking at the stars.  It is a place with natural beauty, complexity, and scale almost beyond imagination.  And being so vast there is so much we still do not understand.

I am based just outside of Durham, North Carolina, USA. The skies are reasonable considering the location, although have worsened in the 8 years I’ve been living there.  During cold winter night the Milky Way is observed as a cloudy apparition.  I also have ground level lights to fight against –  security lights from nearby business, street lights all around, and bright, unwanted LED lights from my homeowners association front gate sign.

My Equipment:

I currently have two full scopes to play with – one for imaging and one for visual.

Updated October/November 2012:  My move to higher resolution spectroscopy has led me to upgrade my scope.  Funny how you buy one upgrade and it leads to a whole lot more.

I have an Orion branded C11 (f/10) with an Orion ST-80 (f/5) piggy backed.  It sits on a Celestron CGEM mount.  Most often I operate the main scope with a f/6.3 reducer.  To image, I have a selection of weapons now, including an ATIK 314L+ Mono single shot camera and a Stellacam 3 (non-cooled). For guiding (using the ST-80) I have a Star Shoot Autoguider (SSAG).

For spectroscopy, I have a Star Analyser (100 l/mm) blazed grating (in a filter cell) as well as a Spectra L-200 with 600 l/mm and 1200 l/mm reflective gratings.

My visual scope is a 254mm (10″) Orion Skywatcher Dobsonian with Intelliscope (XT10i).  The focal length is 1200mm, f/4.7.

I also have been doing DSLR astrophotography.  This is done with a Canon T2i (Canon EOS 550D).  To do long exposure over a long period, I have an aftermarket AC adapter.  I also will often attached a dew heater to the camera lens.  Most often it sits on an inexpensive stationary tripod.