About Me

Welcome to my Art, Astronomy and Photography Blog. In my professional life I am an Art Director and Production Designer in the animation industry. Some of my film credits include "Anastasia", "Titan AE" and "Barnyard the Original Party Animals". I have also worked on TV Shows like "The Simpsons", "Beavis and Butthead", "Back at the Barnyard" and "Planet Sheen". If you would like to see my work related art please click on the Go For Launch Productions link below. Although I am very passionate about what I do for a living my other passions are photography, painting, astronomy, astrophotography and anything to do with NASA so the subject matter of most of my paintings is related to the space program and I have enhanced some of my photographs to give them an extraterrestrial feel. My paintings and photographs are organized into several catagories in the links below. Browse around and enjoy.


Telescope Equipment

In January of 2010 my CGEM-800 Telescope arrived at my house. I was really excited; a scope I could finally do some astrophotography with. Having a scope is not like having a used car for which you can just go to the dealer or parts store and get the right part for the car. With telescopes there are many different manufacturers and dealers and not all parts and add ons are a fit all for all scopes. I hope some of the info and pictures in this section of my Blog is helpful in some way shape or form. If you are like me, let the web be your friend and research products as much as possible to be sure what you are buying will work for your scope. Returns are costly, as is this awesome hobby and the more you read the more you know.

Celestron CGEM 800

The first thing I did when my Celestron CGEM 800 arrived was to learn the set up and get familiar with all the parts. I set everything up and tore it all down and set it up again. I did this at least 5 times.

Everything came in double lined cardboard and custom cur packing foam. When I bought the CGEM 800 I had no idea as to how I was going to store it. When I saw the packing foam I realized I could make some boxes around the foam.

I had some left over wood so I made a utility box and a case for my AT6RC


I finely got the mounting gear for my AT6RC. The new gear is from ADM. Anthony's gear is always top notch quality workmanship. If you are looking for outstanding accessory gear, here is the link

The Side By Side setup works really well. Getting the balance correct takes a bit of time. There are lots of tips on Mr Google. To get is all correct took me about 45 minutes. The mount is a Celestron CGEM mount that can take up to 40 lb of payload.

The AT6RC is a great scope for a price under $400. The field of view is almost 100% flat. For those of you that like real spikes you will love this OTA

On the left is a Illuminated Stellarvue 50mm Optical Finder-scope mounted on the AT6RC. On the right is an Orion ST-80 OTA for guiding. The Guide Camera is a ZWO ASI120 MC. I also us that camera for the Moon and the planets. So it is a multi function camera.

A while back I owned a Meade 4400 but the mount broke and it became unusable so it sat in a corner collecting dust until one day I decided to fix it and see if I could mount my ST-80 to it. As you can see from the picture, it worked. I ended up using crazy glue and a simple hose clamp. It works well as a travel scope or a scope to use in the hot summer months when my Celestron is not set-up.
Yes that is my serious look
This is my Father in-law Dave, hard a work modifying my SPC900NC webcam. Three images ago I had mentioned "It is a great little camera to modify if you have some electronic abilities", well I am not one of them. Change a switch, an outlet or even wire up a light outside, no problem but this was way beyond my abilities. Dave has been involved in electronics all his life so he did it for me. Thanks Dave.
If you are interested in doing one of these mods see the link at the bottom of the page. It is the same site Dave used to do the mod minus the box, that was his idea.
This is the before and after of the webcam. The new case came from Fry's Electronics and there you will find all the other stuff needed including the new chip.
Another shot of the Modified SPC900NC in the diagonal.
The is what the SPC900NC modification looks like all finished. The switch on the camera is so you can switch between long exposure and amp off.
this is what the SPC900NC looks like when modified for capturing planets or the moon or even the sun with the right filter. It shoots AVI files (vidoe) and then using RegiStax you can combine all the images into one leaving you with a great capture of Mars or Jupiter and so on.
SPC900NC Philips Webcam
Some of Dave's handy work while doing the wecam modifications.
Stellarvue finder with illuminator, the eye piece is also changeable. 2" Celestron Star Diagonal with a 2" 40mm  Meade wide angle lens
Getting packed to head up to Flagstaff. One suggestion: if you are going to build your own boxes, get some rubber for the handles or even buy the rubber coated ones because the  bare steel ones rattle like crazy while driving. Note also the big one for the mount has wheels on the bottom and the corners have angle aluminium to prevent any damage to the wood joints.

This is my latest imager for planets and the moon. First tests show it to be a great camera. It will even take deep space captures but I have yet to try it out. The camera can also be used as a dedicated guide camera. Thus far this camera is really good value for the money. To see the first images I took of Saturn with this camera, go to my Solar System Page 

Great links for all your imaging needs

Excellent camera control for your EOS DSLR

"Powerful Fun"

A wide range of mounting accessories

Software for Stacking your Images with DSLR and CCD

Accessories for Guiding and more

PHD Guiding

SharpCap Capture Software for SPC900NC


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