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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LX70 Refractor and Canon DSLR

I decided to do some research on the options to connect my Canon DSLR to the Meade LX70 Refractor.  I had a special adapter for the ETX 90EC that allows the Canon to connect along with a T-mount adapter.  So, I first searched for adapters for the LX70 but didn’t find any.  I did find that Meade sold a camera adapter that connected to a DSLR and then went in the 1.25” eyepiece holder.  This sounded like a great idea because I could then use it will all my telescopes.

I did some more research and found a great article about taking lunar photos through a telescope.  The article mentioned three ways.  One way was afocal photography which I was aware of.  The camera adapter would enable eyepiece-projection photography.  This was interesting because it actual uses an eyepiece so would allow for different magnifications.  But the drawback in the images are dimmer.

The third option was prime-focus photography.  I guess this is what I am doing with the Canon and ETX.  The article mentioned you could buy adapters for many telescopes so started doing that research.  I found a number of options including adapters that already had the T-mount.  But, then I had a thought.  There was a part in the box for the LX70 Refractor that I didn’t know what it was.  I took the T-mount adapter and tried to screw it on to the mysterious adapter.  It worked.  I then put in on the diagonal and it all works.  I added the Canon and tried to focus on a distant power pole.  I couldn’t get focus similar to what happened on my Lunt.  I guess it was time to research extension tubes.

But, then I had a thought.  The diagonal was removable so I took it off and added the DSLR and adapter to the back of the refractor and it all worked.  I was able to get a focused.  So, guess I already have everything I need to use the DSLR with the LX70 Refractor.

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Finder Scope for Meade LX70 Refractor

The Meade LX70 Refractor came with finder scope but realized it would be difficult to use with the telescope was pointed straight up.  I remember purchasing an Orion Right-Angle Finder Scope earlier and it didn’t work out.  So, I found it and it easily fit on the LX70 Refractor.

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Purchased Meade LX70 Refractor

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I purchased a Meade LX70 mount to use with my Lunt solar telescope for the solar eclipse.  I was thinking about my next plans on the telescope models since I now have a reflector in the from of the Light Bridge 10” and a small compound in the ETX 90EC.  I had read before that small refractor is the best for astrophotography but feel that is a long way off.   But, I did some other reading that refractors are better for planetary viewing because they give sharper images then reflectors.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to get a small, cheap refractor to experiment with that type of telescope model.

I had planned to wait until Christmas for a sale but I looked at Meade’s website for the LX70 telescope and noticed the 5” LX Refractor was being discontinued.  So, I checked around on the telescope store website and found one still in stock and purchased it.

It arrived and of course mounted easily on the LX70 mount.  Definitely needed the counterweight unlike the Lunt.

 

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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.

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

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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.

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

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