Black River Observatory
The Black River Observatory is custom built by me using standard wood construction methods for the deck and walls. The roof is a structural foam and fiberglass composite with a wood frame. The roof first lifts 3" using 2 scavanged lift motors. It then rolls back over the control room via a 1/15 hp. motor and chain drive.
My equipment includes:
Celestron C-11 scope
Losmandy G-11 mount
FS-2 goto system with ESCAP micro-stepping motors
ST2000XM imager w/ 237 guide chip
CFW-8 filter wheel
AstroDon LRGB filter set
Astronomik 13nm Ha filter*
Optec TCF-S focuser
Optec 0.5 focal reducer*
0.63 focal reducer*
"Most people spend their entire life under the stars and yet never even notice them. Others like me, want to capture them and show them off as though they were ours."
My name is Frank "Rocketman" Uroda. The images on this site were taken by me from my custom built observatory located in the thumb area of Michigan. My equipment consists of a Celestron 11" SCT telescope mounted on a Losmandy G-11 mount. The G-11 mount is coupled with the German made FS-2 "goto" computer. With this system the telescope can be moved to any object in the sky with great precision using my laptop and TheSky planetarium software.
Once the scope is pointed to the desired object, the image is taken using a highly specialized camera, the ST2000XM by SBIG. Many of these objects are so dim that it takes many hours of exposure to capture all of the detail. While the camera is taking the long exposure image, the telescope mount must move the telescope to track the object with extreme accuracy as the object moves across the sky (actually, it's the Earth that is turning).
The camera itself takes only black and white images. To produce the color images, a series of pictures is taken through special color filters and later combined with a computer. In many respects, this hobby is both science and art. Of all of the hobbies I've enjoyed in my life, this one is by far the most difficult. To me, it is also the most rewarding.
I hope you enjoy the images.
NGC-2841 Spiral Galaxy
I use the following software for scope control and image aquisition:
The Sky 6
I use the following software for image processing and remote access to observatory over network:
MaximDL CCD 3.21
Corel Paint 9
CLICK the images at the top of the page to see the galleries!