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Remote Imaging Setup for Astrophotography 

Remote Astrophotography Page

Page Contents

1.   Introduction

2.   Telescope & Pier

3.   Control Room

4.   Protection from Weather

4.   Telescope Pier Modification

5.   Roll-Off Backyard Observatory

NEW Ritchey-Chretien Astrographs!


This page features the overall setup that I use to control my telescope and camera's from inside the house. Basically, I have connections at my telescope pier for the RA and DEC motor drives, microfocuser, and camera's. The cabling runs underground in conduit to my house and then into my control room where the cables are terminated for connection to the computer and hand controllers. This setup has significantly shortened the time it takes to set up my telescope for astrophotography. And it's very nice to be inside for the majority of my imaging sessions. :-) When I'm done with astrophotography late at night, I can put everything up in minutes...which is a VERY nice benefit of this setup!

I put together this section to help if you're interested in a remote imaging setup for astrophotography. It works with my ToUcam 740K and Canon Digital Rebel. The telescope pier itself is a very solid design that is relatively inexpensive to build. I hope you find these pages helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I'll be more than happy to help!

Telescope & Pier in Back Yard

Telescope Pier for Astrophotography

Note that telescope hand controllers shown at the pier are actually used in the control room for remote astrophotography.

1. Solid home-built pier

Telescope Pier Close-up 1

Telescope Pier Close-up 2

2. Utility Box: contains the modular connections for cameras, motor drive controllers, and micro-focuser.  Click here for connection setup inside the box.

Click here for connection setup inside the box.

3. Conduit: 2-inch gray Schedule 40 for aboveground and underground use (runs from pier to house underground). Conduit holds the two UTP Cat. 5 cables and the USB cable.

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Telescope & Camera

Control Room Inside House

Telescope Control Room for Astrophotography

Astrophotography from the comfort of my control room is well appreciated on those cold winter nights! Here, I control the telescope (focus and movement) as well as the cameras.

1. Telephone jack for connections (telescope hand controllers, Canon Digital Rebel remote cable). Click here for close-up view of jack with details

2. Hand controller for RA and DEC Motor Drives

3. Hand controller for JMI NGF Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser

4. USB connection for Philips ToUcam Pro 740K or Canon Digital Rebel

Click here for closer view.

Check out my equipment page here. I provide  the details for the main equipment I use for astronomy & astrophotography

Equipment Page for Astronomy & Astrophotography

Protection from the Weather

I use a very complex setup to protect my telescope pier from the elements when not in use.

Trash Can Protection for Astrophotography Pier

Telescope Pier Modification

5/26/06 Update

I recently made a slight modification to my telescope pier from what I show above. I wanted to leave the old setup though because it's still a good alternative. However, I did away with the utility box and ran the conduit up to the platform near the top. This is because I built a hood (the trash can started cracking!) and wanted the connections to be protected by it. The connections at the top of the pier are more convient too! Here's a photo archive of what it looks like now.

new_hood.jpg new_hood10.jpg new_hood2.jpg new_hood3.jpg new_hood4.jpg
new_hood5.jpg new_hood6.jpg new_hood7.jpg new_hood8.jpg new_hood9.jpg

Roll-Off Backyard Observatory

I don't actually have a roll-off observatory yet. However, this is a nice option if you have a good place to put one. They are relatively inexpensive to construct and provide convenient use of equipment at a moment's notice. To download professional building plans for your own roll-off observatory,  click here.

SkyShed Backyard Roll-Off Observatory Plans

SkyShed Backyard Roll-Off Observatory Plans


#9 NEW Orion StarShoot Imager III

Lunar phase software: LunarPhase Pro

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