Takahashi FSQ-106N

                        

Used by imagers worldwide, the Takahashi FSQ-106 is a 4" fluorite apo refractor using a modified Petzval design that corrects for field curvature and astigmatism while producing an extremely flat field.  As of late 2009, it can accommodate the largest CCD chip commercially available, the KAF-16803.  I purchased my Tak FSQ in the summer of 2001 with the intent to image although I did not have the skills or a camera to image at the time.  Used visually, the FSQ provides crisp images.  The first CCD I obtained with this scope was on November 6,2005 at the Eldorado Star Party using a STL-6303 CCD camera.

The above-left image has the FSQ mounted on a 3RF-provided Takahashi NJP mount.  An Astrodon rotator, Finger Lakes Instrumentation PDF focuser, and SBIG STL-11000M CCD astro camera are attached.  The above-right image has the FSQ on the Tak NJP mount while a Coronado SM-90 double-stack Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope sits on the Tak EM-200 mount.  The EM-200 is a superb mount with a smaller weight-carrying capacity than the NJP.

Losmandy GM-8 Equatorial Mount with Digital Drive system

                                     

Purchased in 2004, this german equatorial mount was an upgrade from the Alt-Az Giro-2 mount purchased in 2001. The Losmandy GM-8 Digital Drive system allows the mount to track objects including the Sun and Moon. Although not equipped with go-to hardware, positioning the mount was simple and straighforward. It included a polar scope and illuminator for polar alignment, integrated bubble levels, metal motor covers, an 11lb counterweight, and various power adapters. It could hold up to 30lbs of equipment The field tripod featured telescoping legs and folded up for easy transporting.