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.