Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

The day for the conjunction (December 22, 2020) we actually had it snow so no way to see anything. The day of the conjunction was clear so I did a test run using my binoculars. I was able to see both planets in the southwest.

The next day was a clear day so in the afternoon I got the telescope and camera ready. I moved everything outside around 4:00 PM and starting getting everything connected. Unfortunately, I forgot how hard it was to focus on a planet. I finally remembered to focus on a distant land object. So, I was able to get the planets in the camera live view. Also unfortunately, I couldn’t get the focus exact. After about 30 minutes, I was too cold to keep going.

The full image is available at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/Dec_23,_2020.

Comet NEOWISE

I tried three times to capture an image of the comet. The first night I took out the Meade ETX90EC and Canon T3i. Unfortunately, I didn’t put the finderscope back on after storing it. This made it hard to find the comet. I was able to find the comet but couldn’t focus since the live view on the Canon wouldn’t show the comet. Eventually, I just took pictures and checked the focus. I run out of time before the comet set behind some shrubs.

The next night, I setup everything early. Earlier in the day, I had added the finderscope. I was able to find the comet easily but still had the focusing issue. So, I pointed the telescope at a bright star to get the focusing close. I moved back to the comet and start focusing. The electronic focuser broke. So, brought everything inside. I took the focuser apart expecting to find a broken gear. Nothing was broke and put it back together and it all worked. So, I took everything back outside. I tried some more shots before behind the shrub again.

The third night I just took out the camera. I was able to find the comet so starting trying different exposure settings. Then, I tried different focusing and just shot a bunch of images. The best image is on this post.

The full image is available at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/July_20,_2020.

Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse

The day started out with a lot of clouds so I didn’t think would get a chance to see the eclipse.  But, the clouds moved out right before the start.  I setup my Meade ETX90EC and connected my Canon T3i.  I was a little out of practice so didn’t get the best focus or exposure but it was a great sight to see with the naked eye.

The full image are available at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/Jan_20,_2019.

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Comparison of Smartphone Adapters for Telescopes

I spent some time with both the Carson Hookupz 2.0 and Orion SteadyPix Quick Smartphone adapters on my Meade ETX90EC.  I wanted to test them inside before trying outside because I had issues focusing and zooming in.  The major issue I had the first time I tried was the iPhone case I use.  Once I took it off, the smartphone adapters worked much better.  I will try them outside next.

I created an article called Smartphone Adapters with more information comparing these two smartphone adapters for telescopes.

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NightCap Camera app for iPhone

I forget exactly where I learned about NightCap Camera.  I think in an astronomy magazine.  NightCap Camera is an app for the iPhone that helps with low light situation and sounded like a possible solution when using the iPhone and an adapter for astrophotography through an eyepiece on a telescope.

I read through the articles on the NightCap Camera website and identified some things I would like to try once I settle on an iPhone adapter to try.

Specifically, the modes for the moon, star and star trails.  It had some options to image galaxy using a telescope but not sure.  But, maybe that would work for planets.

Polar Scope for Meade LX70 Mount

I purchased the Meade LX70 Polar Scope for my LX70 telescope mount a while back.  I previously created a blog post about the initial installation.  The next step was the follow the instructions to align it.  The manual first mentioned to point the mount at a distant terrestrial object during the daytime.  I found this confusing since the mount points up.  I decided to interpret this as something higher then where I was as there was nothing in the distance that was high.  I selected the roof of the next door house.  I then rotate the mount the 180 degrees as mentioned and the object I was pointing at moved a great distance.  

So, I went to adjust the reticle adjustment screws.  The first problem was finding the right size allen wrench.  I went through my telescope parts and found it.  The process is to tighten or loosen three screws.  I tried but didn’t seem to make much difference.  I keep trying and got worried I might be striping the screws.  The manual warned not to do too much.  It also warned that if you loosen to much it might fall in.  Of course, as I got more and more frustrated, I did just that. 

I unscrewed the polar scope and started looking at it.  I realized the long end would unscrew and did that.  I tilted it up and out came the screw.   I also realized the other end would unscrew as it was for focusing.  Once everything was apart, I found a better idea of how it worked.  It appeared the part of the polar that had the image of the North Star wasn’t being held in place by the screws.  I positioned it and tightly all three screws.  I checked the alignment and better.  I did one adjusted and still not correct but decided to just let go.  I would try to align at night with the motor drive and then see the real affect on something like the moon or a planet.