Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Planisphere Android Widget

For several years I've been looking with envy at the Android Smart Watch custom clock face with that simple planisphere on it and wanted something like that on my phone screen as well. I thought it's obvious to port the wearable screen to the regular one and had been waiting for a couple of years for that to happen... No luck. But finally, the wait is over.

I had some time this spring to implement it! Looks gorgeous between my other informational widgets, which I am consulting with several times a day:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cheshire Eyepiece

The Cheshire eyepiece is the simplest telescope collimation device. There are plenty of makeshift solutions, like the film canister with the hole in the cap, but the best guide for making a decent one along with all the underlying theory can be found here. One day I've decided to shim my Astroscan front glass to improve the collimation and 3D printed my own Cheshire.

The construction looks very simple, but there are several important features making the collimation and the printing easier.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Camera Lens Bahtinov Mask

Just got an idea to try the Bahtinov mask on my Tair 3S telephoto lens on the CN forum. As I had in mind 3D printing of the front camera attachment for the solar filter anyway, I decided to print the mask instead of just an ordinary ring as I usually do in order to get the perfect snug fit.

Even though painting it black should improve testing it works very well as is.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Astroscan focuser mod

After seeing the eyepieces for the Astroscan discussion on the CN forum I decided to showcase my simplistic focuser modification, which I use to convert my Astroscan into a powerful 101 deg AFOV monocular which I'm often enjoying between 12" dob sessions.

It's basically an adaptor between Astroscan focuser's drawtube opening and the WO UWA 9mm eyepiece with 101 deg AFOV.

Friday, December 2, 2016

DIY 2x54 ultra wide field monocular

One lucky day I have discovered on the forum that a really great optical tool for the truly wide field observing of the starry sky could be made for less than $30 out of the very common Nikon TC-E2 2x zoom camera adaptor!

With the help of 3D printer, I've managed to turn it into a really convenient to use monocular.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Laser collimator external power mod

My red laser dob collimator batteries died on me in the fields, along with their spares. So, I've rigged this convenient harness in 5 minutes in red light.

The image is selfexplanatory, but see details under the cut.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ETX-125 As an Astro Photography Clock Drive

My ETX-125 is mostly accumulating dust for the past several years (you can clearly see that from the images below), as my DSO observing passion is asking for the 12" aperture every time I'm going out to the rural darkness. But I'm always taking the DSLR camera with me to image the spectacular wilderness I'm passing through for hours on the way in and out of my dark sites. Occasionally I'm taking long exposure sky images as well on the tripod... But wait a minute, my ETX-125 has a decent clock drive! In just one evening I've made a proof of concept wide FOV AP rig based on it with very minimal alterations of the Meade fork mount.

The results have frankly exceeded my expectations! It's rock-solid, very easy to make at home and setup in the field, and allows quite a long exposures with an ordinary 50mm DSLR lens (I'm using Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1:1.2). The above image is made with the help of the UHC 2" filter just laying over the UV filter on the lens (it's needed for better optical surfaces alignment, as I couldn't just screw it in, but it is slightly larger than 2"). More images are under the cut, just click "more" below.