Astrophotography by David Gares

Observing Tools

Solar System
Open Clusters
Globular Clusters
Double Stars
Image Index
Observing Tools
Imaging Tips
My Equipment
Plan your viewing and imaging sessions ahead of time to get the most out of them.  Object lists are typically sorted by right ascension.  Instead my observing list is organized in 2-hour swaths across the sky so that nearby objects are grouped together.  This minimizes needless slewing.  Here's my Excel-based observing list (click to open or right-click to download):
The list uses macros to estimate transit times across the meridian.  If you're afraid of web-based macros, simply disable them and ignore the last column. 
Here are text-based versions formatted for use with telescope control software programs and handboxes:
     AstroArt's GOTO control panel:      Observe.txt          (CCD users)

     Gemini Control Center (GCC):        (Losmandy, Mountain Instr. users)

     Meade Autostar Tours:        
            (Autostar, Autostar II users)

     Meade Epoch 2000sk:                       (Meade-friendly)

     ScopeDriver (S. Hutson):            (All Meade, Gemini platforms)
The Gemini, Meade and ScopeDriver downloads include an additional file of double stars.  Autostar users should also download the latest Meade tours.  Then you can restore the built-in tours after you erase them accidentally (like I did).  Each telescope driver above is unique, and all get "two thumbs up" (each for different reasons).  You can save your lists/tours to the Autostar and Gemini handboxes prior to your session, eliminating the need for a computer in the field.  Both GCC and ScopeDriver support Gemini downloads.  Meade's Autostar utilities are used to download user tours to Autostar.  Connecting cables are available from Meade dealers, Losmandy dealers (for Gemini), or can be made for you by Turner Instruments.
Since installation of my SkyShed POD I've found much of the sky is obstructed.  To keep me occupied without sliding the dome off, I've expanded my Gemini observing list to add more targets.  Most of these came from the Intelliscope listing for my Orion XX12 Dob.  Here's the expanded Gemini list (XLS and GUC files):   
Whether observing visually or imaging, it's important to frame your object as best you can.  Here's a handy Excel tool for calculating image scale for eyepieces, film, and CCD.  It also includes exposure time calculations for moon and planets:
I recommend polar mounting and a thorough drift alignment for all imaging, regardless of exposure time.  Here's the method I use to polar-align my 10" Meade LX200 "Classic" with the Milburn wedge.  For equatorial mounts, be sure to orient the diagonal toward the pole (emulate a fork mount). 
The Milburn Wedge and LX200.