Nocturne Observatory

Here is an early photo of my new astrograph setup. It is still a work in progress. The scope is based around a Carl Zambuto 12.5" primary mirror and an Antares 4" secondary. The tube is a 390mm I.D. carbon fiber sandwich design from Klaus Helmerichs in Germany. The mirror cell, spider, and Toadloader focuser were custom machined by Paul Van Slyke (Van Slyke Engineering): they are bombproof.

Here is a shot of the new astrograph with the camera and guider attached.

Here is the design diagram for my Supernova Astrograph.

The mirror cell is a Tri-cell from Paul Van Slyke. It features 3" collimation knobs that require no push/pull adjustments. It is a breeze to collimate... just turn the knobs. This thing is built to last, with 3/4" stainless steel rods for attachment to the tube. No flexure here! I lined the tube with Protostar flocked plastic liner material, which really seemed to help the contrast. You can see where the liner begins in this image... is is almost perfectly black and really limits reflections off the tube walls.

The spider is an SH3 from Paul Van Slyke and is a work of art. The center shaft is 1" stainless steel, and the adjustments are made with 3 spring-loaded allen bolts... that means no push/pull adjustments, which makes it super easy to adjust.

Here is the massive 3" focuser... a Van Slyke Toadloader with Robofocus adapter. I sent the 3" Wynne corrector to Paul Van Slyke and he machined the drawtube to fit like a glove. There are six set screws to hold the Wynne in the tube, but it fits so well I could probably use just one and be fine, even with the weight of the camera, filter wheel, and guider assembly. For scale, the knobs are 3" diameter. This thing is bomb proof... no flexure issues with this focuser.

The back cover is carbon fiber as well. I cut the hole for the fan and mounted it myself, as well as drilling the holes in the plate and the tube for mounting to the tube assembly.

The front cover is carbon fiber with a lightweight cork section that slides into the tube.

Here is the scope as of 5/21/2013. Everything seems to working well. Notice how effective the flocked liner is a blackening the tube interior.

My old setup... - Astro-Physics AP130 F/6 Starfire - Losmandy G-11/Gemini - FLI ML8300M camera with CFW-2-7 filter wheel - Borg 45ED refractor with Fishcamp Starfish autoguider

My old setup...

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