Telescopes - Astrophotography by Pete Richardson

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The main telescope in the observatory is a Meade LX200ACF of 12" aperture. This telescope was purchased in 2010 about 12 months prior to moving to my current location just outside of Weston-Super-Mare in North Somerset. It was always my intention to have the scope mounted in a permanent set-up within a purpose built observatory due to the size and weight of this optical tube / mount assembly. In the Summer of 2011 that dream became a reality!! The optical quality is excellent and so far I have found this scope to be the ideal platform for enabling both planetary and deep sky imaging. I did have some initial concerns at the outset for the deep sky work and whether I could obtain accurate enough tracking, along with autoguiding with the standard Meade fork mounting, but so far I have had very good results and when everything goes to plan, I have been able to expose up to 20 minutes at the native F10 without issue, keeping stars nice and round. For an increased field of view I often employ an Optec Lepus focal reducer which is designed for the ACF line of telescopes. This brings the focal length down to around 1.8m and aids imaging of deep sky objects.
Mounted to the LX200 is a William Optics Zenithstar 80mm refractor. I use this scope both for imaging and guiding duties.

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