I've been observing the stars since I was 9 or 10 years old. That is a lifetime ago now, it's amazing what is out there. My first telescope was a 30 x 40 terrestrial telescope which gave me views of the moon but with no finderscope it was hit and miss to locate even a planet and of course on an undriven alt-az mount anything in the sky would slowly drift out of sight. With the appearance of Halley's comet in 1986 I bought myself a 60mm refractor but had more luck locating the comet with my binoculars. I learned something about the usefulness of binoculars from that.
It was to be a good few years later that I purchased a second hand Skywatcher 130p on an EQ2 mount and this whetted my appetite for astrophotography but alas the basic 130p is not the best choice especially when on the EQ2 mount.
Then I spotted a rather battered Skywatcher Skyliner 200p which had a big dent in the side and as it was going cheap I purchased it knocked it back into shape and mounted it in a home made Dob mount. This was later to be replaced by a shop soiled HEQ5 pro. It was from here that my astrophotography began to take off.
Then a Skywatcher Explorer 200p came my way and also a Skymax 127 which I use on a driven EQ5 mount mainly for visual observing or the odd planetary video sequence.
I use the Stellarmate astrophotography tool and have spent some time getting familiar with what it will do and how. I use it in conjunction with a tablet and/or my laptop for setting up a photo run and then just let it get on with the photography. It is most satisfying to set up, switch on and see the device connect to my gear so I can focus on what I want to shoot. I enjoy the use of computers, cameras and telescopes and having a hobby which combines all three is no bad thing.
Like other amateurs I also do my share of Astro DIY and have built dew heaters and an autofocuser for my scope.
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