Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The DSI Pro arrives!

Today my new DSI Pro arrived from the fine folks at Astronomics. I bet they were pretty busy shipping out loads of these cameras. There's going to be hundreds and hundreds of happy new DSI & DSI Pro owners all across the country. I opted for the DSI Pro to get more sensitivity. I had previously ordered an Atik filter wheel and a set of Astronomik LRGB filters for planetary imaging, so getting a monochrome CCD camera was a "no brainer."
The first order of business was to install the Meade Autostar Suite software. Installation went without a hitch on my Dell laptop running Windows XP. As many people have recommended, I rebooted after the installation and then installed the Autostar Suite Update 4 from the Meade website. Once the software was all squared away, it was time to get my hands on the camera. I must say I am pretty impressed with the overall build quality of the camera. It feels solid and heavy in my hands, not unlike the feel of my DMK21AF04.AS firewire camera. For some reason, the heavier something is, the more robust and well-constructed it seems. It's a world of difference from the cheap feel of my Philips SPC900NC camera with it's plastic housing and next-to-nothing weight. Getting back to the DSI Pro, I had already ordered a low-profile adapter from Scopestuff. This replaces the filter holder nosepiece, which is of no use to me. Here's an image of the DSI Pro next to the Scopestuff adapter:

The nosepiece is easily removed by loosening the four small screws at the four corners. The Scopestuff adapter comes with new screws that are much shorter. The adapter simply mounts to the same four holes and that's it. Now you have a female T-thread connection for whatever you need:

The DSI Pro now fits nice and snug to my Atik filter wheel:

Here's another view:

The new setup is almost ready to go. I'm just waiting on the Astronomik LRGB filters to arrive. They should be here on Friday, and if the weather cooperates I just might get some imaging in this weekend. I'm not too optimistic after two months of hazy skies, but I will keep my fingers crossed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New stuff on the way!

Boy, I sure do love getting new stuff. I sold a few things I had sitting around which were all not getting used much. I think astro equipment needs to be used, so I just can't see letting it collect dust (so to speak of course - I keep my stuff covered or stored in cases). One of my two modified Canon Rebel XT's also needed to go. There was no point in keeping them both any longer when I was just itching to get some new gear. I don't have an unlimited budget so I usually have to sell something to buy something else. Anyway, here's a list of what will be coming soon:

  • Televue 2X barlow

  • Atik manual filter wheel

  • Astronomik LRGB filter set

  • Losmandy mounting rings (getting rid of the fixed mounting rings)

And, one more thing I wasn't planning on: a Meade DSI Pro monochrome camera. Meade marked these down to $129 and I could not pass up that price. It should go well with the filter wheel and filters. I also ordered the DSI low-profile adapter plate from ScopeStuff (gotta love ScopeStuff!). This should keep me very busy as the (hopefully) clearer skies of fall and winter approach in a couple of months.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I am not enjoying summer!

For astrophotography, that is. It was September last year when I bought my mount, scopes, & camera, so I had just missed the soupy skies of summer. The fall and winter skies really spoiled me with many nights of crisp, clean, steady air. Now, even when you think it is clear, it's not really clear. I'll peek my head out and there will be a light halo around Jupiter, or maybe a thin layer of high clouds covering the sky. That's been the story pretty much every night this summer. Too much water vapor in the air, which just seems to make the light pollution even worse. I can't wait for fall to come!