Martin Smith (Cardiff)

 I am located about 2 km north of Cardiff city centre, on the northern edge of Heath Park. The house obscures the view north though Polaris is visible. There is no unobstructed view of the horizon. The telescope once set up is operated from inside the house, 5 metre cables connect it to two laptops, one for imaging and one for mount control and guiding. Having longer cables so the telescope could operate from the smallish garden would not be of much help, what I would gain from better views north I would loose from poorer views to the south.

The telescope stands on a hard patio, the tripod sits on three drilled holes. Leveling is consistent and polar alignment needs very little tweeking now at each session. Tripod and mount are kept in the house set up ready to go. The main and guide telescopes are kept on a side by side mount together with the bundled cabling. Setting up prior to calibrating and alignment takes about half an hour, ideally a couple of hours before sunset.

The equipment is as follows:

Skywatcher Evostar ED80 apochromatic 600 mm refractor.
Atik 314L+ mono CCD camera with peltier cooling.
ArtemisCapture imaging software.

Skywatcher Startravel 80T achromatic 400mm refractor.
QHY 5-II CMOS guide camera.
PHD2 guiding software.

EQ5 mount with Synscan interface and hand controller.

Dew heating bands for imaging and guide telescopes with home made controller.
Home made flat field light source.

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