Over the years I have used various equipment:

Up to 2010 most of the photos of the gallery have been shot with the combination: Canon 300D camera + TMB80 (apochromatic refractor with 80 mm aperture) with a focal reducer / field flattener resulting to f/6. The 300D sensor size of 22.7 mm x 15.1 mm gives then about 2.7° x 1.8° field of view.

In summer 2007 the 300D was modified by Baader (Germany) for higher sensitivity at the red end of the spectrum. The original infrared cut-off filter was replaced by a filter with a more rectangular pass curve, resulting to much better sensitivity especially at the important hydrogen alpha wavelength of 656 nm.

In May 2010 I purchased finally a new Canon, namely a 550D. This was modified by Baader for better red sensitivity in summer 2014.

In 2011 I have started to use also a combination of a Newtonian reflector (LXD75 with a d=150 mm mirror) with a Dobson style mount on an equatorial platform ("JS-platform"). These were purchased second hand.  Encouraged by the results I purchased in 2012 a bigger Newtonian, a GSO tuned by Teleskop-Service with a 250 mm  f/4 mirror.

For wider view than the field of view given by the TMB80 I have used an Astro-Rubinar 300 mm lens and 120 mm & 55 mm Takumar lenses with a Canon EOS adapter (from 2008 onwards also a 50 mm Canon lens),  and for a really wide view a 16 mm Zenitar lens with Canon EOS adapter. I have also given a try to the EF-S 18 - 55 mm, f/3.5 - f/5.6 IS kit lens that came with the 550D, because of its reasonably good reputation (despite the common wisdom that zoom lenses are not good for astro work). In may 2014 I purchased a second hand Canon EF 200 mm lens.

Mainly for planetary and solar photos I have used M603, a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope with 150 mm aperture, and, before acquiring M603, also my self made (well, I bought the mirror) Newtonian, see below. Instead of 300D I have used my earlier camera, a Sony F717, for planets, because of its inbuilt 5x zoom. For planetary images I have also used a webcam (Philips ToUcam PRO II), but the need to have a laptop computer in a typical Finnish winter weather has limited my motivation to use that combination. My  Sony F717 went out of order in 2007, but now the video mode of Canon 550D hopefully will serve the planetary imaging purposes, especially the center crop video mode of 640 x 480 pixels, that has the same pixel size as in the still 5184 x 3456 pixel images. (Images of Saturn have been recorded over the years with F717, ToUcam and 550D. Hard to see any big quality differences so far. Position of rings seems to be changing, though ...)

My first tracking mount was of the Meade ETX type, but I purchased already in 2002 a Vixen GP with a simple RA control, no periodic error correction and no guidance, which means that the stars stay really round (when using 480 mm focal length) only up to 30  ... 60 s exposure time, depending on the declination of the target. However, for web presentation I normally resize the pictures to about 800 pixels width, and the slightly elongated stars do then not disturb so much (at least me), even with a 3 to 5 minutes exposure time, see e.g.  M33.  (I guess the main source for the tracking error is the periodic error, and not so much the polar alignment.) . Then in Autumn 2013 I finally connected the RA control of the Vixen GP mount to an old laptop with PHD guiding software and - using the viewfinder with ToUcam as the guide scope - started to take guided exposures of some 5 minutes, see . e.g. M106.

 I have also started in 2011 to experiment with an equatorial platform ("JS platform"). The results so far show that my biggest newtonian with 250 mm f/4 mirror seems to be close to the weight limit of the JS-platform, and the exposure times should be only 15 to 30 seconds when using 100 % presentation.

See also Southern skies, background story.




Observing Sun with projection method

I had to record the Mercury transit on 2003 May 07 with the classic projection method, because I didn't have solar filter foil at hand. The transit image is just a free hand snapshot against the cardboard. (Newtonian 15 cm f/6 scope on a Vixen GP equatorial mount.)



Observing Sun with solar filter

For Venus transit on 2004 June 08 I had Baader AstroSolar foil based filters both for the main tube M603 and its finder. However, the cardboard shield to cast shadow over the camera was quickly improvised from an old strawberry box.



Same set-up as above, now seen from behind the cardboard box. Venus is visible on the LCD screen of Sony F717 here.