2014 has been the year of the kit upgrade. It has been in my mind for some time, and I’ve finally taken the plunge.
My basic setup is now an Altair Wave 115mm ED triplet refractor, mounted on a Skywatcher AZ EQ6-GT. The telescope adapter means I can still attach my Nikon D90, so I’ll be sticking to that for the time being. I will write up my experiences of the kit once I’ve got the hang of it – there’s so much to learn about using a telescope as an 805mm f/7 telephoto lens, and the computerised mount is really something special. The whole lot weighs a ton, so it’s most definitely an out-of-the-back-of-the-car activity.
First night, 17 April, in a brief opportunity in my moderately light polluted back yard, I could put the kit through its paces. M81 and M82 had been a recent target for the supernova, so I pointed there for comparison and took just four frames of a minute each. Stacked and processed in PixInsight, this uncropped photo shows exactly what’s in the viewfinder.