February Upgrades at our Spanish Observatory
This week our technical team visited IC Astronomy in Spain to upgrade our 70-cm telescope and install a second Takahashi FSQ-106.
Officina Stellare 700RC (SPA-2)
This telescope, installed and commissioned in August 2019, suffered from a few issues that badly affected the quality of the images. With this upgrade, most of these issues should now been fixed.
A mismatch between filter size and shape (50-mm, round) with the CCD chip size (50-cmm, square), caused light obstruction at the corners of the images, effectively diminishing a field of view that is already small. We installed a new filter wheel and new square 50mm filters, fixing this issue and completely removing the vignetting effect.
This telescope also suffered from periodic shifts in collimation (the alignment of the optics, in particular the primary and secondary mirrors). This was caused by a robotic tripod which holds the secondary mirror, which was used for collimation of the secondary mirror and for focusing the telescope. Periodic autofocus runs however caused a slight shift in the absolute positions of the individual motors in the tripod, therefore causing a loss of collimation which require manual intervention.
The easiest and safest solution has been to install a dedicated focuser on the optical train, an FLI Atlas. This allows us to separate the two functions of robotic collimation (a rare task performed on site) with robotic focussing (a very frequent task performed automatically before every image run).
We are offering a 50% discount on this telescope until the end of March 2020. Make sure to grab this offer observing with this large aperture telescope!
A brand new Takahashi FSQ-106ED (SPA-3)
In this trip we also installed a brand new Takahashi FSQ-106ED. This is the third unit of this kind in our network, after the one recently installed in Australia (AUS-2) and the one installed in Spain in May 2019 (SPA-1).
While the installation and commissioning was successful, unfortunately we are still waiting the LRGB filter set from the supplier. We are expecting them to be installed within one month. In the meantime, this telescope will not be available for general use.