Observing Session–December 10, 2017

We had a series of clear nights so I decided to take the Meade LX70 Refractor out for its first light.  I was going to try to find the Andromeda Galaxy since I had noticed Cassiopeia overhead a couple of nights before. 

I setup the refractor and the first issue I had was getting it to point straight up.  I started to hit the tripod legs.  The next issue was I was looking in the wrong place.  I had used a reference in one of my books to do the star hopping to the Andromeda Galaxy but I got disoriented.  Once I figure out the region of the sky to be looking that solved by problem of the telescope hitting the tripod legs.  I also raised the telescope on it dovetail rail higher.

My next issue was using the finder scope.  I was very happy to have purchased the 90 degree model but still didn’t know where I should be looking.  So, I decided to just start over with the binoculars and find the galaxy first.  It took a while and a lot of misses but finally found the faint fuzzy.  With a more precise area of the sky to look at, I just scanned back and forth through the eyepiece and finally found it.

I tried a number of different eyepieces and the wide angle one was the best.  I was starting to get cold so really didn’t try of the eyepieces much more.  As I was picked things up and noticed that a lot of dew was starting to form.  First time experiencing dew.

Overall, it was both a good and bad experience.  But, I am still learning so that made the experience worth it.

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Observing Session-October 30, 2017

The night was looking clear so started the telescope cool down in the garage.  I had also read about the controls on the camera and found the feature to zoom in on the Live View to help with focusing.  So tried that and a much better session.  However, I am not sure if a dark or light exposure of the moon looks better aesthetically.


Full image located at http://clearskytonight.com/wiki/October_30,_2017


Observing Session–October 24, 2017

The night before was clear but I forgot to take out the ETX to cool before getting back from walking the dogs.  But tonight I took it out during dinner.  I connected the Canon after dinner and looked for Saturn.  It was in the southwest and was almost behind the tree.  I moved the tripod and took some images.  I struggled trying to remember the settings on the Canon and accidently erased the memory card.  Opps!! 

But, I did get images of Saturn and the Moon.  I looked at the images on the computer and Saturn was blurry but the moon wasn’t that bad.


Full image located at http://clearskytonight.com/wiki/October_24,_2017

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New Eyepieces

When I was looking at Saturn, my mind wondered back to an earlier topic which about eyepieces.  I had purchased a couple for the ETX but since never really used the telescope, I didn’t get an experience with the differences.  I received one eyepiece with the LightBridge, which was the included one, and it seemed like a low magnification.  In fact, I don’t even know the right terms for eyepieces other than I think the lower the number, the bigger the object displayed.  And now I have a 2” system with the Lightbridge. 

So, I started doing some initial research.  I searched on Google for article about eyepieces for the LightBridge.  I found this article (https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/157413-eyepieces-for-meade-lightbridge/). The article mentioned that 1.25” and 2” each have their own strengths and weaknesses but having both is probably the way to go.

The next article I found interesting was http://www.astronomyforum.net/telescope-eyepieces-forum/124172-eyepieces-meade-lightbridge-12-inch.html.  This mentioned a number of possible options and reminded me about using a Barlow.  I already have a 1.25” one.

Finally, I read this article http://uncle-rods.blogspot.com/2011/02/getting-set-ii.html.  The first thing this article reminded me of was Televue eyepieces.  I have seen some articles in the magazines about them so designed to look at them first.  Wow, they are expensive.  But, in the long term, that is fine once I know exactly what I want.  But, also realized that eyepieces aren’t necessary with astrophotography so need to remember that just for visual astronomy.  The article also gave a number of combinations that would make a good set, some recommendation on affordable vendors and why 2” eyepieces.  Great article. 

So, I decided I want to get a few more to try out especially at the August star party I was going to attend.  I decided to go with a better quality 1.25” then what I currently have and higher magnification.  I purchased a Celestron X-Cel LX 5mm

I also purchased a Meade Series 4000 set.  I had read another article that said all eyepiece sets are not the best purchase because of quality and things you don’t need like filters.  But, I am just starting out and really want to figure out some things for my self and having a bunch of choices will be helpful.


Observing Session-July 23, 2016

I was hoping to get a chance to try out the Lightbridge on Jupiter which was in the west sky.  But, a few clouds were always in the way and Jupiter would set below the horizon.  But, Saturday night was a clear sky.  I tried a couple of eyepieces and was amazed to actually be able to see some of the cloud bands on Jupiter.  This got me all excited that the Lightbridge finally amazed me.  I tried to get some photos through the eyepiece with my iPhone but it wouldn’t focus.  Oh well, more things to research.

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Observing Session–June 18, 2016

The eyepiece adapter arrived so decided to try again to see Saturn.  The adapter worked fine and Saturn was bigger but still a little disappointing.  I figured I should work on collimating next.  But, the moon was out so looked at that.  Wow, that was very cool to see it up close.  I decided to try taking some photos using the iPhone through the eyepiece.  Definitely need to do some more research but some images did come out.  I posted them on the wiki under observing sessions.


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