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I now use various Telescopes and Lenses, Explore Scientific "Levy" Maksutov Newtonian MN152 (152 mm - FL 731 mm), Celestron EdgeHD 9.25 (235 mm - FL 2350 mm), Takahashi FSQ106 (on loan, 106 mm - FL 530 mm -  With Telextender FL 784 mm), William Optics Megrez II APOGrade (80 mm - FL 555 mm), William Optics 66 mm APO (66 mm - FL 388 mm), and a SIGMA 150 mm APO DSLR lens.   For some of the images and particularly for Archived images, I have used an Orion ST80 Refractor, and a  Starmax127 Maksutov Cassigrain. Also some images were made on the William Optics Megrez II 80 mm SD optics before the APO upgrade. 

I use two mounts and imaging set ups at my observatory. The primary mount I use is a iOptron CEM 70; the secondary mount I use is a iOptron GEM 45 mount. I use various home made OTAs for autoguiding; the MN152 uses an OAG (Orion thin OAG) for autoguiding. The shorter focal lengths optical systems  are used on the GEM 45; the EdgHD 9.25 is used only on the iOptron CEM 70. Both mount systems employ auto guiding - PhD2 Guiding with ZWO ASI 120 cameras. I occasionally use the Celestron AVX mount for visual and solar observation as well as a portable mount for remote observing sites. The Losmandy G11 mount is no longer used.

My current imaging Cameras are an ASI294MM Camera (Baader Ha OIII LRGB filters) and ASI2600 Camera (Astronomiks Gen2 Ha OIII LRGB filters). Both of these monochrome cameras use filter wheels. 

I have also used a Canon 350D (Baader ACF modified) DSLR, an SBIG ST8300M Camera, an Atik 383L Camera, and an ASI1600MM Camera. The 350D ACF modification is a replacement of the stock IR filter with one from Baader that improves the sensitivity in the H-Alpha emission line. Many images and particularly Archive images were made with a Modified ToUcam with the Sony ICX424 CCD, and a modified Vesta Pro. The ToUCam has also been modified to produce RAW mode Images. This modification was developed by the TWIRG group within the QCUIAG group. This RAW mode modification is a significant improvement of this web cam in producing artifact free images. 

Desert Astronomy Association (DAA) Observatories

DAA is a small association of astronomers who have established an astronomy campus in the East San Diego County high desert area. DAA location is in a small privately held community property in the middle of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The park is the largest in California at 585,930 acres and listed in the top ten state parks in the United States (InterExchange.org). The skies are reasonably dark (Bortle 3) at the DAA location. Dark Sky communities - Borrego Springs, Bortle 4 is located about 15 miles away and is also surrounded by the state park - Julian is located about 11 miles away. And, of Course, the Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a designated a Dark Sky park.

Link to photos of the DAA astronomy campus and my observatory

Current Equipment list:

Explore Scientific "Levy" Makstov Newtonian MN152 (152 mm - FL 731 mm)

Celestron EdgeHD 9.25 (235 mm - FL 2350 mm - with AP CDDT67 reducer, FL - 1645 mm) 

FSQ106 Refractor (on loan 106 mm - FL530 mm with Telextender, FL - 784 mm)

William Optics Megrez II (80 mm - FL 555 mm) APO Refractor

William Optics Zenithstar 66 (66 mm - FL 388 mm) APO Refractor

Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 DSLR APO Lens


Astro Physics CCDT67 Reducer

William Optics FFIII 0.85X Reducer / Corrector


iOptron CEM 70 EQ Mount

iOptron GEM 45 EQ Mount

Celestron AVX EQ Mount 


ASI294MM Camera

ASI260MM Camera


(2) ZWO ASI120 Cameras (for auto guiding)

Home made 180 mm FL Guide Scope (for the iOptron GEM 45 Mount)


Explore Scientific "Levy" MN152


Celestron EdgeHD 9.25


Takahashi FSQ106




Older systems and equipment:

    G11 with Celestron C8 System            

    Celestron ASGT System                    

    Atik 383L Camera

    SBIG ST8300M Camera

    Artemis Camera and Accessories

    Starmax 127 System

    Cameras and Accessories

    Autoguide Interface for C8 System


All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2023

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