Imaging | Guiding | Focusing

This was the setup for my imaging train during 2010-2011.

The imaging camera is the Atik 314L+.  The camera is based on the sensitive Sony ExView ICX285AL sensor with a 1392x1040 CCD array of 6.45µm pixels.  It has full set point temperature regulation (cooling to - 27°C below ambient) enabling the creation of matched dark frame sets for calibration.  Image acquisition is controlled by MaxIm DL.

I use an off-axis guider for guiding long exposures which are typically of 10-15 minutes duration.  The photograph shows the Telescope Service low profile off-axis guider with the Starlight Xpress Lodestar autoguider attached.  The Lodestar is based on the Sony ICX429AL sensor with 8.2µm x 8.4µm pixels.  It is incredibly sensitive and never fails to offer a choice of guide stars even though I often use 0.5 second exposures during guiding.  Guiding is performed under MaxIm DL control and I use pulse guiding to send autoguiding commands to the telescope.

The dual speed Crayford focuser on the Megrez 120 has been modified with a motorised focusing system from LakeSide Astro.  It comprises an ASCOM compliant control unit and a stepper motor assembly which is controlled using FocusMax linked to MaxIm DL.  Autofocusing with Focus Max is fast and extremely accurate and is the key to obtaining sharp and detailed high-resolution images.