For an update on results from testing of our equipment set-up over the past year, visit the Camera System Performance page.

There is some specialized equipment for this project but perhaps not as much as you might think.  The first, and largest, piece of equipment is the telescope. To this we connect a video camera in place of an eyepiece.  The output of the camera is connected to a GPS timing box. The combined video and GPS data is then captured with a netbook computer.

Guides for setting up the equipment below are available at

telescope Camera GPS Timer netbook

Here is a part list for a complete system:

Item Description
Telescope Celestron CPC1100 XLT. This telescope has an 11″ (28 cm) diameter primary mirror and weighs about 65 lbs (29 kg).
 Tripod Mounting  platform for telescope.
 40mm eyepiece  wide field basic eyepiece
 case  storage case with padding for telescope
 Telrad  zero-power finder.  This device projects a red bulls-eye pattern on the sky to let you do coarse location and centering of bright objects for the telescope.
 Dew shield  A shield that is mounted on the front of the telescope that helps prevent dew on the telescope corrector plate during moist air conditions.
 24 mm eyepiece  medium field eyepiece, this usually gives the best overall view in the telescope
 Camera  MallinCAM B&W Special.  This is a special video camera that we use for collecting the data.
 Focal reducer  MFR-5 focal reducer that increases the field of view of the camera.  This unit makes it easy to find and track our targets and improves the sensitivity of the video data.  This item also doubles as a mounting flange that lets the camera mount in place of an eyepiece.
 Netbook  Acer Aspire V5, used for recording and uploading video data. Includes AC power connector.
 GPS timer  IOTA-VTI.  VTI=video time inserter.  This device superimposes time and date or location information on the video data coming from the camera so it can be recorded.  We use this information to know where and where the data were taken.
USB Video Adapter This adapter converts the analog video signal from the IOTA-VTI box into a digital signal for capture and storage on the netbook.
Battery Pack Battery Pack Description
Hardware Storage Case Storage Case Description
RCA cable Used to connect the USB Adapter to the IOTA-VTI box.