Author Archives: Lee Sproats

Lee Sproats

Dr. Lee Sproats has been interested in astronomy since watching Star Wars in 1977 and has appeared on the UK Sky at Night TV programme. He then went on to study Astronomy where he obtained a degree and then a PhD in the subject at University College London/Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He has worked in Australia in radio astronomy and used optical/infrared telescopes on Hawaii and La Palma and Lowell and Kitt Peak observatories in the USA. After working for the University of Surrey to promote the use of computers for teaching in UK higher education and then as an IT trainer for a stock market company, he went on to work for Greenwich Observatory Ltd where he ran their northern branch and then worked for David Hinds Ltd dealing with our and Celestron products. He is often involved in flight excursions that take passengers to observe the northern lights, has led trips to see the great USA 2017 eclipse near Hopkinsville and was lead astronomer onboard a specially chartered 737 to view the 2015 total solar eclipse at 38,000ft. Lee`s astronomical interests include Lunar observing, astrophotography, photometry and pro-am collaborations.

Since David Hinds stopped operation in December 2020, Dr. Sproats works for Baader Planetarium as our UK representative/consultant and is responsible for looking after our UK/Eire dealers, dealing with Baader Planetarium/PlaneWave/10Micron product support, writing articles and also is involved in our large telescope and observatory instrumentation projects.


  • Here comes Venus...

    Its hard to believe that a year has gone by since our Solar System neighbour Venus seemed to be around for ages and riding high in our evening sky during the late winter and spring months. This year, after its superior conjunction on March 25th 2021, Venus will once again start to become part of our evening sky (which makes observation of the planet more "convenient" for many than when it is an early morning object) until towards the end of the year. Unlike last year's evening appearance, for many locations this coming "visit" the planet will not be as high in the sky and having a low and or flat western horizon would be beneficial. However Venus, which is similar in size to our...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): Simple photographic use example (Part 7)

    Photographic Use Example: We've been asked a few times recently on how to set up the Baader UFC for use with a DSLR and a range of wide-field imaging refracting telescopes. So we thought we would write a short blog on some ways this can be done. Let us start from the telescope side first. All the enquiries we have had, the wide field refractors have 2" barrel focusers, so there is our starting point. The telescope side of the UFC Base (to which everything else in the UFC system is connected to) uses Baader's S70 dovetail adaptors to allow the UFC to fit to telescopes. Looking at the UFC main diagram above Baader do a Baader UFC S70 / 2" SC-thread (f) Telescope-Adapter (optical height:...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): Visual use example (Part 6)

    Visual Use Example: Now that we have covered the main overview of the Baader UFC system in our previous blogs (parts 1-to-5), we thought it would be appropriate to give some examples of how the UFC system can be used. Firstly, this is not meant to be exhaustive as there are many combinations of telescopes and accessories. In this blog, we will consider an example of the UFC being used visually. One of the simplest ways of using the UFC visually is with 1.25"/2" eyepieces and with a suitable telescope that uses a 1.25"/2" focuser (or 2" focuser with 1.25" adaptor). If we go back to our first blog (Overview of the UFC system), we said that although the UFC system looks complicated, its actually...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): The UFC telescope-side adaptors (Part 5)

    The UFC Telescope Adaptors: This blog continues our series on the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC) system, with this one giving an overview of the telescope-side adaptors. Attaching a UFC system to a telescope may be done for example, by using a 1.25" or 2" push-fit nosepiece to go into a focuser drawtube for visual or imaging purposes, or to a focal reducer or field flattener for imaging use. The image below shows the current range of adaptors, as well as the spacers (extensions), that are available that allow you to attach the UFC Filter Base (shown below left in the pink box) to a telescope. There are ten telescope adaptors and four telescope-side UFC extension tubes. Except for the two RASA adaptors, all the...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): The UFC camera-side adaptors (Part 4)

    The UFC Camera Adaptors: In this latest blog on the Baader UFC System, we will look at the UFC camera-side adaptors. At present there are nine (9) different adaptors that will allow cameras to be attached to the (camera-side) of the UFC Base unit. These are shown in the image below. The image shows the type of fitment to the camera (e.g. T-2, FLI etc), the product code and also the optical path length (thickness) of the adaptor (which is important when using the UFC system with e.g. focal reducer where the camera sensor needs to be positioned at a particular distance from the reducer - we will cover this in a later post).   All of the nine adaptors have the following common features: made...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): The UFC Filter Slider (Part 3)

    The main component fo the Baader UFC system: In this, our 3rd part of the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC) system, we will look a little more closely at the UFC filter sliders. Below is an updated simplified diagram of the Baader UFC system. A general introduction you can find here, and the second part about the UFC Base here.   The image below shows the three UFC filter slider models available. More about these are individually discussed later. All the UFC filter sliders feature: a knurled (removable) aluminium handle for holding the slider. This allows the slider to be easily held, inserted and removed from the UFC base. a 4mm long x 3mm diameter brass pin : The brass pin allows the slider to be seated...
  • Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC): The UFC Base (Part 2)

    The main component fo the Baader UFC system: In the first part of this series of blogs about the Baader Universal Filter Changer (UFC), we gave a general introductory overview of the UFC system. In this second part, we will look more closely at the main component of the system - the UFC Base - and outline its features. In the UFC overview diagram below, the UFC Base is the component in the middle (between the two red arrows). The UFC Base is also known as, and sometimes referred to, as the UFC filter chamber. For the purposes of this and future blogs in this series, we will refer to the UFC Base as just the "Base". The Base has a number of functions or purposes. It allows: The...
  • Baader-UFC (Universal Filter Changer) – the ever-growing filter chamber (Part 1)

    Overview of the Baader UFC-System The Baader Universal Filter Changer (or UFC for short) is a very versatile simple system for using, mounting and changing (or swapping) filters in and out of a light path. The UFC can be used for imaging where you may want to swap different filters (e.g. LRGB) between a camera and a telescope but do not want the bulk, or expense, of a filter wheel. The UFC can be used between a camera and a Celestron RASA 11/14(36) or a Starizona Hyperstar system where the overall size and shape of a filterwheel causes issues. You can also use the UFC for visual purposes where you can easily switch between different colour filters between a telescope and an eyepiece. The image...

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