Astronomical images by Kieron Heard
The observatory is sited in Onehouse, a village just outside the town of Stowmarket in Suffolk, UK. This is a semi-rural location with a reasonably dark sky, having a naked-eye limiting magnitude of 5. Seeing conditions are seldom better than average, or 3 on the Antoniadi scale.
The Onehouse Observatory became operational on New Year's Eve 2002. It is of timber construction, being a modified garden shed measuring 7 x 7 feet. It has an apex roof consisting of two, hinged panels that are opened manually. This is a relatively unusual design, but it has obvious advantages over the more common 'roll-off' roof on a site where space is limited. Click here for an account of how the observatory was built.
Originally the observatory housed a Helios Evostar 150mm, achromatic refractor (f/8). This has been replaced by an Orion Optics OMC200 - a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope of 200mm diameter and 4000mm focal length (f/20). The OMC200 is on an HEQ5 equatorial mount, supported on a concrete pillar. A Takahashi FS-60C apochromatic refractor (60mm, F355mm, f/5.9) is used as a portable instrument. Usually it is carried on a Vixen Super Polaris equatorial mount and tripod, but also can be mounted on a camera tripod fitted with a Manfrotto video head.
Currently, image capture is by means of a Canon EOS 350D DSLR camera and an Imaging Source DMK 21AF04.AS. The 350D is used for wide-field, deep-sky shots, and full disk images of the Sun and Moon. The DMK is used for planetary imaging and close-up images of the Sun and Moon. Earlier images were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera and a ToUcam Pro webcam. Image stacking is done with the freeware program RegiStax and image processing is done mainly in Photoshop 7.
This page was updated last on 22 December 2010