EQUIPMENT
Hardware and Software
I have accumulated a variety of equipment over the
years.  Currently I use a 12.5" RC made by
Optical
Guidance Systems.   I also have 2 refractors made
by
Takahashi -- an FSQ 106 and an FCT 150.
There is also a
Lunt 80mm Ha scope for solar
imaging.  I use 2 CCD cameras for deep sky
imaging, both made by
SBIG -- the  ST10XME  
and  STL11K.  For solar, lunar, and planetary
imaging I use a
Celestron NexImage 5 and ZWO
1600 MM webcam. Additional equipment includes
Robofocus, TAKometer, and an off-axis guider.  All
the equipment sits on a Paramount ME by
Software
Bisque. Everything is housed in a 10' diameter
dome manufactured by
Technical Innovations.  
Dome rotation and slit movement are motorized
and controlled by
Digital Domeworks.

Mastery of the myriad of software involved with
data acquisition and processing is far more
challenging than dealing with hardware. The bulk of
the work is performed by the following programs:


TheSky6 Professional
Maxim DL
Focusmax
ACP
SharpCap
AutoStakkert!2
Registax
PixInsight
Adobe Photoshop
Neat Image
Registar
Team Viewer
I use a veritable plethora of software to aid in the processing of the raw data. I rely heavily on CCDsoft for image reduction;
that is, applying dark frames and flat fields. I initially used CCDsoft for alignment as well, but found it was too easily fooled
by images containing large numbers of stars --  I often switched to
Maxim DL's manual alignment tool under those
circumstances. More recently I have enjoyed using
Registar for alignment and image combine functions, especially when
aligning images taken with different scopes at different focal lengths at different times!
Sigma Combine is a wonderful
program for combining dithered images -- it rids the image of those annoying hot/cold pixels, even meteor/satellite/airplane
trails, thus minimizing the use of the clone stamp tool in PS later! I use
CCDsharp or AIP4WIN for deconvolution. Adobe
Photoshop remains the backbone of my arsenal, though it took over a year to become comfortable with it. I use PS for a
variety of tasks, including data stretching (levels, curves), unsharp masking, selective blurring, minimum and high-pass
filtering, gradient removal, layering of composite images, deblooming, resizing, and of course, assembly of the final color
image (whether RGB, RRGB, BRGB, LRGB, HaRGB, etc.) The image is then put through
Neat Image (a PS plug-in) to
remove any lingering objectionable noise.