Equipment

Shown above are the scopes set-up at the Okie-Tex Star Party 2006. To the left is the Celestron 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain with carbon fiber tube. Atop the C-11 is a Takahashi FC-76mm (3 inch) refractor. They are mounted on a Losmandy G-11 with a Gemini 3 GOTO system. This pair of scopes and their mount will become my new imaging platform. Along with their native focal ratios and a combination of reducers, I can obtain a variety of different fields of view.

In the background to the right, is the StarMaster 20" Newtonian Reflector. This is the current main instrument for Astronomy Adventures guided night sky tours. It has a 20" diameter primary mirror figured by Carl Zambuto with a focal ratio of f/4.3 Besides optics that begin to offer near photographic images of some objects, this telescope features GOTO and tracking ability which allows me the time to direct more attention to my guests instead of hunting down and then constantly re-centering celestial targets.

I was lucky enough to win this telescope as the grand door prize at the 2003 Texas Star Party's "Great Texas Giveaway". It has 8" of aperture and a focal ratio of 10. Along with GOTO capability (my first robot scope), it has really fabulous optics and serves as my auxiliary telescope for night sky tours when I am working with larger groups.