8” DIY Solar Newton scope:

Utilizing the design concept of A. Whipple and Christian Viladrich, this scope was constructed in the fall of 2015 in Dr. Hrudey’s well equipped home shop. Utilizing an open truss design, the ends of the OTA used 10” Sonotube lengths, a central box of ½” birch plywood and ¾” aluminum tubing for the truss struts.   An off the shelf 8” f/6 mirror was purchased from Agena Astro as well as a 2” GSO Crayford style focuser and, a filter pack comprised of - 1.25” Baader Solar Continuum, IR/UV cut and #3 Neutral density filters. The filter pack is fitted within the focusing tube and, can be removed at will. Initial trials were quite disappointing. Images were fuzzy, even with seemingly good viewing conditions. Multiple avenues were explored and advice sought, including having the mirror assessed by Gordon Waite of Waite Research and suggestions through the Solar Chat forum. Finally, a ZWO ASI174MM camera was purchased for its USB 3 ability and consequent higher frame rate. Voila – made all the difference in the world compared to the much slower DMK41. Not the least, this telescope is probably 1 of 30 in the world!

Lunt 60 PTDS H1a scope:

The Lunt 60 PT was purchased in May 2012 in preparation for the June 5, 2012 transit of Venus and, initially piggy-backed on the 12.5” Newtonian. Images were captured with a MallinCam EX and though adequate, left much to be desired in terms of detail and resolution. Subsequently, an iOptron Pro GEM was purchased as a dedicated mount and used ever since. In the fall of 2014, a DMK41 CCD device was purchased in addition to a Lunt 50mm Double stack. The improvement in imaging was immediately evident and continues in use today.

TS 115mm APO triplet refractor:

This is Dr. Hrudey’s personal scope having been purchased in November 2014 with the intention of exploring white light solar imaging with a 2” Baader Herschel wedge and, eventually DSO’s as it is equipped with an Orion Autoguider and, mounted on an Orion Atlas pro GEM. Additionally, a welded triangular base with castors and locking/levelling feet was constructed. This scope is now used in the Observatory and has captured many w/l solar images. Ultimately, it was recognized that resolution of solar granules was limited by the 115mm objective (Dawe’s limit) and research was begun to explore an 8” Solar Newton using a de-aluminized mirror.

12.5” Newtonian on a split ring equatorial mount:

This scope is used primarily for lunar and planetary imaging. As with all our scopes, it is equipped with remote focusing.  It has its own isolated concrete pier and is driven by Stellarcat drives together with Argo Navis.  A short YouTube video of the 12.5” Newtonian can be seen here:    The original focuser has since been replaced with a 2” Crayford style GSO unit.