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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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.

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Solar Eclipse

We created a Solar Eclipse Astronomy Calculator.

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Lunar eclipse

We created a Lunar eclipse Astronomy Calculator.

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Astrophotography with Smartphones

When doing visual observing at a telescope, I find myself wishing I could record the image.  I know some people sketch but sketching isn’t for me.   Astrophotography with a connected DSLR or dedicated camera is great but that isn’t visual observing.  So, I have been very interested in the concept of afocal astrophotography.  I earlier got an adapter for an old point-and-shot camera but was a lot of work to get the camera positioned and then figure out all the controls.  Again, I could use the DSLR.  But, then I found an article about using a smartphone.  So, I purchased a couple of adapters which sat gathering dust.  But, going to make it a goal to figure out afocal photography using a smartphone.

I first step was to do some researching on the Internet. A number of article I found are below.  Here are my takeaways:

  • Smartphones can take adequate images through the eyepieces.  This is partial due to the increasing technology in each new smartphone model.
  • An adapter is necessary to hold the smartphone steady over the eyepiece.
  • Something is necessary to take the picture to avoid movement
  • Dedicated apps will probably help with the process but curious how the native camera controls do.

The next step will be to re-review the two adapters I have.

Articles:

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