Jan 7

My Mobile Observatory

With the Star Adventurer I’m very mobile. Build up in about 10 minutes! So I’m not bound to a single place.

But most of the time I use my balcony in Derendingen, Solothurn (444m Alt.) for astrophotography, especially during the week. Unfortunately my field of view is limited to North and East, with best view towards East:

This field of view is OK, I can catch many DSO in North and East during a year. And of course, the sight to North is very valuable for the polar alignment 🙂

On the road

If it is perfect weather and my next day is off, I drive to one of my favorite places:

  • Gurnigel in Bern (about one driving hour), 1608m alt.
  • Weissenstein in Solothurn (about 25 minutes driving), 1395m alt.

Then it looks like this:

My mobile observatory
  • Backpack for netbook, clothing, shoes, food and drinks
  • Small case for my lovely 400mm lens
  • Medium case for all the DSLR stuff
  • Medium case for Lacerta MGEN2 with 50mm Guide Scope
  • Big case for the Star Adventurer
  • SkyWatcher 17Ah Powertank
  • 2 tripods

Inside the cases every device has it’s own place. It’s enormously useful in the night: If everywhere something is in, all is complete 🙂

Almost overkill, but very well protected 😉

These are not Pelican cases. Conrad have a good and cheap(er) alternatives! Basetech Cases in different sizes.


In the field


To be honest, I don’t use the SkyWatcher Explorer 130P anymore… only from time to time in warm summer nights. So the waiting time during photography can be bridged by observing 🙂

And of course for Moon and Sun pictures (Sun pictures always with filter protection on the scope!!!). And Saturn… but for Saturn it has too less focal length, even with a Barlow 2x 🙁


  1. Matthias

    Thanks for your update. I am always enjoying your website. Go ahead with this great work 2017!

  2. JanD


    Just wanted to leave some good wishes here!
    Amazing picture with the cows by the way!


  3. TCFenua

    Such a wealth of information ! Thank you for posting all this on the Star Adventurer. I have one as well, but didn’t use it yet, haha. I’m still waiting on the guide scope.

    • star-watcher

      Thank you for the comment. What focal lenth do you use on the Star Adventurer? For me guiding became important as I started using the 200mm lens with the Kenko 1.4x converter at 280mm focal length… and now with 400mm focal length guiding is absolute indispensable. Clear Skies!

    • TCFenua

      I will use guiding for my 300mm f/4L IS lens 🙂 I really like how you place your guiding scope, very clever ! I might do the same, haha.

      Clear skies to you as well !

    • star-watcher

      Yes, this way mounted all is well balanced 🙂

  4. Romain

    Hi !
    Nice blog 🙂

    I’m based in Zürich and doing also astrophotography when the sky is clear enough. Unfortunately i do not have a car to go away from light pollution so I am quite limited, even though I recently moved out of ZRH city to live in a smaller town.
    Do you know of any gathering that could happen once in a while in the region ?
    Would be cool to meet to 🙂

    Clear sky to you.


    • star-watcher

      Hi Romain. Thank you. This weekend was the Gurnigel Star Party. Unfortunately the wheater was not good, so I was not there… Here more about swiss events: http://www.teleskoptreffen.ch
      Usually I photograph at home in Derendingen. If I drive somewhere during good wheater periods I go to Gurnigel or Weissenstein. Gurnigel is my favorite place. Very dark sky and I love the tank platform to build up the setup dirt-free… 😉
      CS, Karol

  5. Giuseppe

    Hi Karol
    congratulations for your job.
    I am a beginner of atrophotography.
    I have your own equipment.
    I would like to ask you how important it is to keep the telescope (orion 50mm) parallel to the camera lens(canon 400mm). I can not keep it perfectly parallel.
    This thing is important?
    Thank you

    • star-watcher

      Hi. Thank you very much. I think it’s not necessary to keep the scope and the lens parallel. It should be the same direction, but it has not to be perfect parallel. Hope it helps.
      Clear Skies, Karol

  6. Chris Alberts

    hi good site, also good pictures with simple equipment. Question how do you power your laptop in the field

    • star-watcher

      Hi and thank you! My netbook has a battery life up to 8 hours. So I don’t need power on the road, since I use the netbook only for orientation in the sky (Stellarium). And after I’ve found the object I don’t need the netbook for the whole session anymore. I use the MGEN to control my DSLR.

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