I finally got everything upgraded and configured so I can take images without having to hand-guide every picture. My C-8 telescope now has a new Byers worm gear drive and fork arms, a new drive corrector and a new computer with hardware encoders to tell me where the scope is pointed. I say new, but I purchased everything used from Astromart, except for a ST-4 compatible parallel port interface that I got from Shoestring Astronomy.
My old drive corrector was not compatible with the ST-4 interface and would never be, so I had to replace it. But, while looking for a replacement, I found someone willing to sell a complete fork arm assembly with a JMI Mototrack V, which has the ST-4 compatible guiding interface. Coupled with the Shoestring ST-4 interface, my Toucam Pro and my laptop running a program called Guidedog, this new rig will guide my telescope for me while I take astrophotographs.
Below is the first image with a higher power telephoto lens that was guided by my computer, instead of by me while hunched over the eyepiece! I would have to say this is a milestone in my astrophotography hobby:
A rich Milky Way star field, along with the Trifid and Lagoon Nebulae, and a few other objects on 8/31/05. Four 120 second sub-images taken with a 200mm F/2.8 Canon telephoto lens at 400 ISO and a Canon Digital Rebel, stacked with IRIS. Telescope was guided with a Toucam Pro webcam, a laptop and Guidedog.
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