Back to my main astronomy and astrophotography page.

Astronomy & Astrophotography Equipment

Tutorial Contents

1.   Introduction

2.   My Telescope

3.   Cameras I use for Astrophotography

4.   Viewfinders


5.   Focuser

6.   DC Motor Drives

7.   Home-Built Pier

Orion 72mm EON ED SCOPE - Powerful and Portable!


1. Introduction

Welcome to my equipment page. Below are the details for the main equipment I use for astronomy & astrophotography.

2. My Telescope

The telescope I use is an 8" Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope (SCT). Here's the details:

  • Mount: CG5
  • Aperture: 8" (200 mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/10
  • Focal Length: 2000 mm
  • Highest Useful Magnification: 450X
  • Resolution: .57 arc/sec
  • Home-built pier

See my telescope optics calculations page here.


Telescope used for webcam astrophotography of the planets

Celestron C8-S GT SCT

Further Resources

Celestron C8 S-GT XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

Celestron C8 S-GT XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

This is the enhanced version of my Celestron telescope. It features NexStarŽ computer-control technology and Autoguider port for long-exposure astrophotography.

Telescope Optics Formulas

with Calculators

Orion Telescopes and Binoculars

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3. Cameras I Use for Astrophotography


Canon Digital Rebel:

  • Digital SLR (DSLR)

  • Sensor: CMOS

  • 6.5 megapixels.

  • For imaging nebula, star clusters, galaxies, moon, sun, etc.

Canon Digital Rebel for Astrophotography


b. Webcam

Philips ToUcam Pro 740K:

  • Max resolution: 640 x 480 pixels (1280 x 960 for stills)

  • Max frame rate: 60 fps

  • Sensor: CCD

  • For imaging the planets & moon.

Philips Toucam Pro 740k- great astrophotography camera

See my article: Webcam Astrophotography Tutorial for Planets.


The Philips ToUcam Pro is a very popular camera for astrophotography. However, Celestron has their own version as well. And, it is designed specifically for Astrophotography. See below. Also, be sure to visit AstroPhotography Tonight's camera page to see a large variety of astrophotography cameras.

Celestron's planetary astrophotography camera

Celestron NexImage Solar System Imager


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4. Viewfinders 

Celestron 6X30


Telescope viewfinder   


Telrad viewfinder


More about the TELRAD

The Telrad viewfinder is one of the best gadgets I have purchased for my telescope. I had used them before at star parties, and wanted one for myself. Well, it was worth it! I hardly use the 6X30 finderscope anymore. The Telrad makes it easy to find celestial objects because it's not magnified and is correctly oriented. The TELRAD projects three red rings spaced at 4 degrees, 2 degrees, and 1/2 degree in diameter. These rings are used to "starhop" to objects.

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5. Focuser

JMI NGF Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser

This was the final gadget that allowed me to do astrophotography from inside. I watch the object on the computer screen and make fine adjustments to the focus without being at the telescope! See my remote astrophotography setup page here.

JMI NGF Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser


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6. DC Motor Drives

RA Motor Drive

DEC Motor Drive

I added the dual axis motor drives to my telescope about a year after I bought it. It's a must for astrophotography and for controlling my telescope from inside.


Celestron motor drives



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7. Home-Built Pier

I designed and built this pier to be a solid platform for astrophotography. I contains the following features: 

  • Adjustable platform for precise leveling of the CG5 mount

  • Solid 4x4 legs (4 legs in concrete)

  • 4x4 center post in concrete

  • Eyepiece and gadget holder

  • Utility box with jacks for microfocuser, camera, and motor drives control.

  • Schedule 40 conduit for cabling to control room in garage

Telescope Pier- very stable platform for astrophotography

See my remote astrophotography setup page here.

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Lunar phase software: LunarPhase Pro

For the Best Astrophotography Gear -

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Questions or comments? Please email me at:

Ray's Astronomy and Astrophography Homepage