Astrosoc owns a variety of equipment which date from antique to technological wonders. So through the course of a nights observing with Astrosoc you can go from using a telescope dating from 1872 to a CCD imaging device from 2007!
So what do we have?
Well on the roof of physics we have a Grubb mount that dates back to 1872 with two Cooke refractors, from 1910 mounted on it. These telescopes offer some fantastic views. These are 4.5-inch and 5.5-inch in diameter and are mounted parallel to each other. The Grubb Telescope is driven by worm and tangent arm in both axes, this allows movement of about 20 degrees before it needs to be disconnnected from the drive. We also have a 10" Newtonian reflector that is our pride and joy, because of its size it offers us some wonderful views. These are our main observing telescopes but we also have a 4.5" refractor (donated to us by Mr Steven Leigh) which we use quite often, two 4" inch Newtonian reflectors (one donated to us by Mr H Henson) and two 6" Dobsonian telescopes - the later few we use for our public observing nights.
The Ten Inch is our finest acquisition. It is a brand new SkyWatcher 10'' f/4.8 Newtonian Equatorial. It is big and honkin'! It came with 25mm and 10mm Plossl eyepieces and a good 2X Barlow lens, but we are also looking into getting a 27mm Panoptic for wide field viewing. The focuser is large enough to accommodate 2'' eyepieces but has adaptors for both 2'' and 1.25''. It is mounted on an EQ-6, which weighs around 10kg by itself. It is motorised and allows for easy tracking and scanning. We hope to soon get a cupboard on the roof so we can store it there already set up..
We have two Dobsonian mount telescopes, one is shop bought the other... well that's home made - this one is just called the Dob. The Dob is a Dobsonian mount telescope, made for us by Ken Elliot, a member of staff here at the University. It is a 6-inch Newtonian reflecting telescope on a Dobsonian mount. We have two eyepieces for it and it is just about portable enough to be thrown (!) into the back of a car with a large boot and taken to other locations.
Oh and last but not least is our antique 3" brass refracting telescope but this is just used for publicity purposes and so is locked away as it is probably quite valuable.
A basic introduction to Astrosoc's telecopes (2003 by Samuel George - out of date but the telescope principles are still correct!) - [pdf]
How to use the equipment
This section will eventually have short guides on how to do most things with our telescopes but for now we are going to
put pointers to useful webpages (and things we could do in the future).
How to use the setting circles of a telescope - [www.thefirmament.nl]
Laser Polar Alignment - [www.wideopenwest.com]
UBVRI System - [astrwww.astr.cwru.edu]
Focusing - [www.thefirmament.nl]
Celestron C11 Modification Project (cleaning mirrors) - [www.rothritter.com
Trying to figure out the advantages/disadvantages of over-sampling in planetary imaging - [http://www.geocities.com/ultimaoptix/sampling_saturn.html]
Toucam imager FOV - eyepiece equivalent of a Toucam is a 5 mm Plossl.
Toucam modification - [http://www.julian81.freeserve.co.uk/camera.htm]
Other webcam modification - [http://sweiller.free.fr/VP-SC.html]
Other webcam modifciation - [http://astro.ai-software.com/]
Other webcam modification - [http://www.pmdo.com/wwhich.htm]