Will Barton

After considering my mount as part of my lightweight re-think of my astrophotography setup, I need to consider my optical and imaging setup. Currently I use an Orion ED80 f/7.5 refractor. The ED80 has a focal length of 600mm, and weighs 2.6kg. To this I add a 0.85 focal reducer/corrector that adds 320g and reduces the focal length to 510mm.

The first part of my lightweight re-think of my astrophotography setup has to be my mount. I’ve been using an Orion SkyView Pro GoTo. It’s been a good little, reasonably lightweight (as decent goto mounts go), and has done the job well — I haven’t felt it incapable of what I needed. The mount, counterweight, and tripod weigh around 17kg total when set up, and have a maximum capacity of 15kg. 17kg is… not insignificant.

Astrophotography has been an off/on hobby of mine for almost twenty years. In that time I’ve taken a few images a really like, and many I don’t. Typically I go through periods of enthusiasm and frustration, both with gear, weather, and my own limitations.

One thing that does recur is a fundamental laziness I have when it comes to setting up and taking down my equipment. This is the biggest blocker I find to just getting out and doing. I’ve thought about putting in a permanent pier, so that I don’t have to mess around as much with the tripod and mount alignment, but that’s not the only problem I have. It’s also somewhat hard to travel with my setup. I downsized about 10 years ago from an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain to an 80mm refractor, and that helped, but given how I frequently I’ve gone out over the past few years, I thought it might be time again.

My Slow Motion Messier Marathon has become even slower. Five years since the last update, I have another update! This one is less impressive.

The slowness of my Slow Motion Messier Marathon continues to impress me. Since my last update I have a few new photos and few do-overs:

My Slow Motion Messier Marathon continues more slowly than I anticipated. But since the last update I have two new photos:

Since I declared my intention to begin a Slow Motion Messier Marathon I haven’t gotten as far along as I had hoped. I do have some updates, however:

It’s been a long-time goal of mine to do a Messier Marathon. I missed my window of opportunity again this year, and the reality is that the time investment required during the month of March is probably not realistic for me in the coming few years.