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Gadget Freak Case #222: Warming Up the Telescope
8/3/2012

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Eric Chesak's telescope thermal focus management system is made up of three main elements: the heater, the power and temperature control system, and the thermocouple for temperature feedback.
Eric Chesak's telescope thermal focus management system is made up of three main elements: the heater, the power and temperature control system, and the thermocouple for temperature feedback.

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naperlou
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Not pretty, but...
naperlou   8/3/2012 8:34:11 AM
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Well, it kind of looks funky, but it obviously works.  This is such a simple and straightforward idea that you wonder why it hasn't been done before.  I suspect that it is the way that the original problem was put.

Astro-Eric
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Re: Not pretty, but...
Astro-Eric   8/3/2012 9:58:56 AM
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Your're absolutely right.  Not pretty, But... it really works well.  It's dark, so nobody sees it anyway.  I've been using this system for about 2 years with really stunning success.  It works better than I imagined it would.

Take a look here for some of the results:

http://www.ericchesak.com/Astro-Images

Every deep-sky image was taken with this system. 

Thanks for the comment.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Not pretty, but...
Rob Spiegel   8/3/2012 12:34:36 PM
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Those are amazing images, Eric. They really show why it's worth the trouble to get this photography right.

John Duffy
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Wow, amazing pictures.
John Duffy   8/3/2012 3:44:18 PM
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Those pictures really are amazing, and do you just use a normal telescope, or is it designed for deep-space photography?  Either way, thats a really cool (er, warm) way to keep something the same temperature. 

Astro-Eric
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Re: Not pretty, but...
Astro-Eric   8/3/2012 5:53:47 PM
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Thanks Rob!  It takes a bit of patience, but well worth the time investment.  I appreciate you taking a look.

Astro-Eric
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Re: Wow, amazing pictures.
Astro-Eric   8/3/2012 5:58:47 PM
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Hey thanks John.  You can take deep sky images with many different telescopes.  It's the equatorial mount that is probably most important.  The scope I use is a Takahashi FSQ-106ED, which is used for imaging a lot, as it has a very large imaging circle (can use large imaging sensors) and top notch color correction.  Thanks for the comment...

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wow, amazing pictures.
Rob Spiegel   8/3/2012 7:08:33 PM
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Eric, I would imagine that you're taking photos of objects that you can't see, even with a telescope. How do you identify where they are and what they are?

Astro-Eric
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Re: Wow, amazing pictures.
Astro-Eric   8/3/2012 8:17:15 PM
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Absolutely correct, Rob.  Most of the objects are very faint and not visible with the naked eye.  In this case, there are many ways to find the objects.  An older technique is to use setting circles, on the mount.  This provides two corrdinates, Right ascension and declination).  The night sky is well mapped, so the object will have their coordinates listed.  However, most modern mounts are computerized and will slew to the object automatically, once properly initially aligned.  

Before I had my GOTO mount, I used to spend hours locating difficult targets, exposing, framing and re-exposing - trying to get the target framed.  These days, I can look-up the target, obtain the framing angle and coordinates.  I adjust the scope and punch the target into the mount's computer and 99% of the time, it's framed and ready to go. 


There's a lot more involved with long exposure imaging (accurate polar alignment, active guiding, cooling the imaging sensor, etc).  But just having a GOTO mount will take a lot of the work out of imaging.

Hope that's not too much info...

 

Noswad
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Nice workmanship
Noswad   8/6/2012 9:25:55 AM
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The space photos are nice but as an Engineering Tech I am impressed by the workmanship on the little control box. Very well done. Although the red lion controllers are a little expensive. Automation Direct has controllers that work very well at about half the price of a Red Lion version.

Nugent_56
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Good Job!
Nugent_56   8/6/2012 9:39:52 AM
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Excelent analysis and perfect solution. That's what engineering is all about. This project, I would imagine could have mutiple applications, such as maintaining temperature in a birthing box or mainitain growth cultures, and so. Good workmanship!

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