tizianoniero.it Solar system HiRes images

My observatory

I named it "Osservatorio Giovanni Orsoni" who was my science teacher in high school and my dear friend.

Coordinates

45°26'4.66"N
12° 8'8.72"E
elevation: 6 mt above sea level

Location

I live in Mira (VE) Italy. My house is a portion of an ancient venetian villa, build in 1600 as a dependency of more important villas where venetian aristocratic people used to spend their holidays.
Nowadays it is a simple portion of terraced house, BUT...I have my independent little garden where I posed my fixed observatory.
The night-day skyline are these:
day night yes, that lamp produce a very very blinding light and always I have to struggle with myself the temptation to destroy it with something like bazooka or little atomic bomb. It seems to be put there on purpose to disturb any attempt to view the night sky and it succeeds very well.
I continue to resist to this temptation and the lamp is still there. But I wanted also to start astro imaging so decided to make moon and planetary high resolution pictures which can be done also with an heavy light pollution like this one.
There also many trees (but I love trees) and a big building which masks out all the south-west quadrant, thus I can observe only the eastern quadrant; for this reason I prefer to image the moon when last quarter. The northern quadrant is masked out by the house.

The instrument

mount and ota

The high resolution imaging techique is well known and documented. Usually it is performed by Schmidt Cassegrain OTAs for their relative good price-performance ratio, for the short and compact tube and the high F ratio, usually F10 and more. For the purpose I use a Celestron C14.

Aperture: 356 mm (14")
Focal length: 3910 mm
Focal ratio: F11

This mine is an old "orange" model, dating back to the 70s; the serial number itself attests its age.

C14 serial number

The mount

The mount is a self made, equatorial with a single-arm fork. This is a huge and heavy mount that I built about 20 years ago, made of iron and steel; it's really stable but obviously not portable: it has been designed specifically for a fixed observatory. In September 2012 I started to pose the base with a little concrete plinth.
plinth1 plinth2
Over it a base made with four concrete blocks disposed as a T. Then an iron plate on which it rests the mount on three points.
mount base mount base 2
The three points and the alt / azimuth regulation for the polar axis.
azimuth points alt point
The polar axis and head plate: 120 mm diameter (4.72") of solid steel, what exaggeration...
polar axis polar plate
The declination single-arm fork. The declination axis is "only" 80mm of diameter (3.15").
mount base+fork mount base+fork 2
The assembled instrument. The two bronze gears cannot be less than the axes thus they are both 480 mm in diameter, 480 teeth.
assembly 1 assembly 2
Some particulars of the coupling between the worms and the gears. The stepper motors are coupled to the worms by a reduction of 1/4 made by cilindrical gears. Here is the AR stage.
AR worm 2 AR worm 1
And here is the DEC stage.
DE worm 1 DE worm 2
The C14 cradle made with an aluminum plate.
plate 1 plate 2
This is the old PC case which host the electronics of the telescope controller, described here.
pc case 1 pc case 2

The "dome"

The dome is a simple box of galvanized iron sheet that slides sideways on two rails. Before each observation I simply push it aside and wait a little for thermal stabilization. Because the telescope is "on air" it really takes little time to stabilize.
dome
A particular of the rails: they are two iron T, 3 meters long, fixed to the ground by pickets.
rail 1 rail 2