Below are images of my telescope and some of
my equipment. I have the privilege of having the
first customer delivered 2005 version of the Mitty
Evolution wedge. Frank Sperl of Mitty Observatory Machine Shop
personally signed and number the wedge.
I have a SBIG ST7-XME Deluxe CCD camera and Meade
8" LX200 GPS Schmidt Cassegrain (also called a
Catadioptric) telescope. they are linked to my laptop
computer through a serial port adapter and USB
connections. The laptop is remote controlled from
inside my home office by my desktop computer system
(I use the Remote Desktop feature in Windows XP
On the underside of the scope's OTA (Optical Tube
Assembly), there is a rail with weights attached.
These weights can be slid back and forth to balance
the scope and compensate for the weight of the
attachments. This allows the motors in the telescope
to move it more easily and smoothly.
Attached to the front of the telescope is an
AstroZap "dew shield". A dew
shield helps to keep stray light and moisture from
getting on the front lens (corrector plate).
The SBIG CCD camera has a built in cooler that can
chill the CCD imaging chip down below -35 Celsius
from the ambient temperature. This helps reduce noise
from the CCD chip. Ever take a digital photo that was
too dark? Did you notice all the blotchy spots. That
is called "noise". The level of the signal (the
light) was very low for the amount of noise in the
camera's CCD chip. That results in the image showing
more of the noise than of the object you were
imaging. Click here to see an example of noise. The
example is a picture of the globular cluster M15. See
all the blotches and speckles?
Attached to the front of the SBig ST7-XME CCD is a
CFW-8 “color filter” wheel. It attaches
almost seamlessly to the front of the camera. The CCD
chip itself is grayscale so to take color images you
have to take Luminance/Red/Green/Blue (LRGB) sets and
The wire coming out of the side of the camera is a
safety line. I took a piece of picture hanger wire
and attached it to a bolt and washer and taped over
it to hold it together. The bolt screws into a
“tripod” port on the camera. I then wrap
the wire around the finder scope support on the top
of the OTA. If the camera comes loose it may swing
and hit the telescope base but at least it will not
fall 5’ to the concrete!
I use a "DewBuster" controller
for my heating strips (dew prevention / removal).
Heating strips are placed around the eyepieces and
most importantly around the corrector plate (front
lens on a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope "SMT"). The
front of the scope will collect dew if not properly
warmed up. Just like a glass of ice water will start
to sweat, so will the lens on the telescope. However,
if too much heat is applied you get air currents that
affect the view through the scope. The DewBuster
controller heats the strips to a user set temperature
above the ambient air to help balance the need to
keep the corrector and eyepieces warm without getting
them too hot. I usually start with a setting of 5
degrees and move up to 10 degrees or so as the night
gets cooler and the dew starts to fall.
The telescope and Dew Heaters are powered by a
Pyramid 10 Amp AC to DC power converter. Everything
else is run from AC.
Alt/Azm mode with camera
attached (click for larger image)
Polar mode on Mitty
wedge (click for larger image)
Frank Sperl's (Mitty)
(click for larger image)
Pyramid 10 AMP