LX200Gps and Astrophotography

Here are a few things I have learnt with respect to using an LX200Gps with a wedge and CCD:

  1. If visual don’t waste your time, energy and money in going polar.

  2. Perm setup is a must. I would spend 2 hours each night setting it up with a rough polar alignment. (Alt/Azi took 10-20 mins) Nights went by where I decided to stay in because it got all too hard to setup and pull down. The telescope becomes hard to handle when mounting it on the wedge with the first bolt hanging out of the bottom of the LX200 base. Get someone to help you the first time.

  3. Learn how to find Sigma Oct and the star pattens around it. The alignment procedure is a lot less forgiving then auto Alt/Azi

  4. Sigma Oct only gives you very rough alignment not suitable for long exposure CCD work. Using the LPI, Webcam or DSI in this configuration is fine.

  5. Drift alignment is a must for long exposure work to reduce the drift in the DEC axis. I found my DEC backlash quite large which made auto-guiding corrections a nightmare! I can now go 20+ mins with 1 arc-second of drift so I now turn DEC corrections off. An IR eyepiece is a must however CCD with CCDSoft works much better. One benefit of good polar alignment is that I turn the power on, get a GPS fix, sync on a star, and then I’m ready.

  6. Tpoint and Automapper II is a great tool for assessing polar alignment however you need a 50-70 star mapping run to get an initial reading.

  7. The Meade SuperWedge has corse adjustments which can be fun when you are trying to get within a few arc mins of the South Pole. Very small hairline turn can go a long way! I use the CCD when making these sorts of adjustments as I can see the star move on the screen then count the pixel then convert it to arc seconds of adjustment.

  8. Buck’s gears increased my periodic RA error from 12 to 30 arc seconds, DOH! Backlash went from real annoying to near nothing which is important for smooth autoguiding.

  9. Smartdrive will smooth out RA PE to about 5 arc seconds with the use of a CCD to train. This will still leave your stars bloated and your target slightly blurry.

  10. In my opinion an AO-7 is needed for long exposures on the LX200 at F6.3 and at F10 to smooth out residual 5 arc seconds of PE.

  11. If you attach a heavy CCD to the back you will need a dynamic weight set and a weight on the west arm to balance it.

  12. Persistence, persistence and more persistence the LX200Gps mount is a challenging long exposure mount. It’s not a Tak, Losmandy, AP, MI or Paramount so don’t expect it to preform like one of these mounts like I did!

  13. Read Ron’s book if you want to start imaging with a CCD.

  14. This has nothing to do with a wedge however focusing can be a real challenge. The critical focus zone at F10 is 220 microns, F6.3 its 87 microns and at F3.3 its 24 microns in length. The Meade Microfocuser are good however it still hard to achieve a perfect focus. RoboFocus is the way to go it has step sizes of 7.5 microns and remembers its exact position! I now focus in 5 mins with CCDSoft’s @Focus. Without it I used to spend half a night just achieving perfect focus.

And the most important lesson is to have lots of fun setting it up, if you get frustrated walk away and try another night.

I Hope this helps. Good luck.

Skip to Navigation Menu