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Astrophotography

Telescope

Skywatcher 200P

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The telescope I use is an 8″ (200mm) reflecting type telescope. It has a 1000mm focal length and an f/stop of f5; which makes it a relatively “fast” (light gathering power) for a competitively priced consumer grade ‘scope. Made by  Skywatcher it’s a popular choice among amateur astronomers  as it scores well in the “bang for your buck” category. Easy to collimate (align the mirrors along the same optical axis), relatively light, and well made.

My only real gripe is the focuser which is a single speed rack and pinion design. Being single speed means my focusing efforts go from ‘not enough’ to ‘way too far’ frequently. It is basic, lacking any form of finesse  and the tolerances quoted in the design spec likely read: “+\- light-year”. Beastly and grotesque. It gets the job done though and handles the weight of the camera I attach to it well.

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200p single speed focusser. Now motorised.

To overcome the over compensation and image shifting when jostling the scope trying to achieve focus; I’ve motorised it with a DC stepper motor for the fine control needed.

The scope tube itself is also very slightly modified from manufacturer standard by means of dashboard-flocking material. Light was bouncing around in the scope due to the marginally poor black paint applied inside the scope to absorb if. It’s just not good enough. Image contrast .. ruined.

You can see the massive difference to the spilled light on this photo when the job was 50% complete.

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