My Equipment

After many years of astrophotography, I bought a top Newton 3 years ago.
It is a Takahashi Epsilon 160ED with 530mm focal length and f/3.3.
This “Astrograph” is characterized by particularly good image quality even in full format.

It is taken with a cooled  Astro camera QHY268M with 7-part filter wheel for Luminance, Red, Green, Blue and the Narrow band filters for the Elements Ha (hydrogen), OIII (oxygen) and SII (sulfur).
This means I can record normal L-RGB recordings and narrowband recordings in SHO, HOO, etc., just in the Hubble Palette to record.

The mount I use is almost 10 years old Ioptron iEQ45, which I have maintained and optimized very well over the last few years. You can get a Guiding example from CTB 1 see from the Fuscher Törl.

With my additional equipment, it is now possible for me to remotely access the telescope itself and the necessary recording and control elements “on field”.

How does this work?

Via the free software N.I.N.A. I control my “MELE mini PC” on the tripod remotely via my notebook, cell phone or tablet, and it controls the following devices on the mount via 4 USB interfaces:

  • The Astro-Camera QHY268M and the associated 7 piece filter wheel from QHY.
  • The Mount Ioptron iEQ45.
  • The subpixel precise tracking control using Lacerta MGEN2.
  • With the Lacerta MFOC2 the focus setting on the focuser of the Newton is accurate to 0.001mm on my Takahashi Epsilon 160ET Newton.

With this “Remote control option” I don't need to look for or touch the mount during the recording sequences and I can control the named devices directly automatically or manually.
In practice I create about the free software N.I.N.A.,  so-called “recording sequences”, with which then what is to be recorded “Deep Sky Object” is approached and by means of „plate solving“ is aligned on the recording chip, filters are selected, focus is set and the specified recording sequences are processed.
In between, after each recording, the sharpness and position on the recording chip in the background is checked and, if necessary, corrected immediately. Fortunately, this works very well.
However, I like to follow the recording sequences directly on the notebook itself, as despite the automatic mode it sometimes requires intervention on the PC or mount.
This allows me to use the possible recording times plus the nautical twilight time to make optimal use of it and use it to its full potential as planned the Astronomical night for deep-sky recordings.

All components are connected. The QHY268M with filter wheel weighs 2.10kg, the Tak weighs 10.20kg. With guide scope, cam, finder tube and rail it will be a total of 14kg.
The Berlebach tripod is indestructible. The MGEN2 is at the top right, the MFOC2 is at the bottom left, and the MELE mini PC can be seen in the middle.
The 7-part filter wheel and the Astrocam QHY268M are located on the focuser of the Takahashi Epsilon 160ED. On the right you can see the guide scope with guiding cam for the MGEN2.
The MFOC2 controls via the N.I.N.A control program. adjust the Tak's focuser to an accuracy of 0.001mm. This means every shot is reliably sharp. Even if I take individual shots at 1200sec. make.
This is what my astro workstation looks like. In winter the temperatures even reach -12 degrees C, as usual, and that's why I use freezer clothes down to -40 degrees C, and canadien boots for extreme cold. I've never been really cold.
Unfortunately it is not always windless. In order to still achieve good tracking, I always have a windbreak with me. That helps immensely.
Das ist ein Super LiPo4 Akku
I can highly recommend this type of battery and I have been working with it for almost 3 years. The advantage of these LiFePO4 batteries is that you can use a good 95% of the 100AH ​​without the battery being damaged. However, you need a charger that is suitable for this type of battery.
At -10 degrees and high humidity, the hardware has to withstand a lot. In these icy conditions, the Astro-Cam, the main mirror (HS) and the deflection mirror (Sec) on the Newton must remain ice-free!!!
Service is very important! The play in the AZ and DEC axis should ideally be kept at 0!
Sometimes it is necessary to correct small malfunctions and adjustments, e.g. B. done on the mount at 2400m. But that only happened to me once.
Here you can see an example of guiding from CTB 1 at Fuscher Törl. The guiding with the almost 10 year old Ioptron iEQ45 is incredibly good. It doesn't get any better!
The “breakfast, lunch, dinner” at around 1 p.m. tastes particularly good at these altitudes.