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 https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/October_24,_2017
I experimented with connecting a Canon T3i to an ETX-90EC. I purchase the necessary T-apdater for the ETX along with the T-mount for the Canon. The connections all went fine. I focused in the eyepiece and the flipped the mirror. I add to refocus for the camera. The first images were okay.
I looked up in the Canon manual how to get the Live View not to turn off too quickly. I then read the section on Live View and learned how to manually focus. It was much better once I learned how to zoom in on the Live View. The automatic focuser was great but still not sensitive enough. Later, I found out there are speed settings on the focuser so will have to try that.
Overall, the configuration worked fine and ready to test on astronomy objects.
I noticed that one of the accessories for the ETX-90 was an electric focuser. I thought it would be helpful since it is hard to get a clear image when focusing manually.
I purchased a Meade #1244 Electric Focuser. The instructions were very straight forward to add it to the ETX-90. It was able to connect the AutoStar controller also.
When I had my last observing session, I was very frustrated by the straight-through finderscope on the ETX-90. I noticed there was a Meade right-angle finderscope but it wasn’t for sale anymore. It was out-of-stock at many Internet websites too. I monitored eBay for a while and one didn’t come up for auction. I did some research and found some forum posting for some options. One was to purchase an Orion Right-Angle finderscope.
So, I purchased one. After it arrived, I removed the default finderscope from the ETX-90 but the Orion finderscope was too big to fit in the mount. I then noticed that were mounts available from Orion for Meade telescopes. I had a chat session with Orion and found they wouldn’t work for the ETX-90. The only solution was to glue it to the telescope tube.
So, I decided to just live with the existing finderscope.
I did some research during the day and found I needed to train the telescope motors so the AutoStar knew about the telescope it was connected to. So, I did that. I had hoped to do it during the daylight but did it right before heading outside.
I did the AutoStar alignment and it did seem a little closer but still off. I tried going back to the Great Globular Cluster (M13) using the GOTO and it was nearby but still not centered. So, I was tired from this being the fourth observing night, frustrated with the straight through finderscope and my feet even hurt. So, I decided to call it a night earlier and re-evaluate.
One of my thoughts was maybe the telescope is just old. To be honest, it is over 14 years old and I had never really used it until now. Second, maybe my skies are too light polluted. Third, I didn’t give my eyes a chance to dark adjust. Lastly, maybe I just needed more aperature. I was planning that my next step would be to try some simple astrophotography but that seemed fruitless since I didn’t find any to photograph. Maybe the ETX would be fine for the moon and the planets. Since I figured out how to polar mount, the mounts should auto-track without the AutoStar which was one of the downsides when pointing the telescope out an open window.
I will need to do some thinking.
My goal for this night was to work on the precision of my alignment using the AutoStar on the Meade ETX-90EC. I decided to try a higher powered eyepiece so the center would be a smaller area. I did the first star and took extra time to center it. I did the next star and again, took extra time to center it. As an idea, I went back to the first star using the GOTO and it wasn’t centered. I had read in the manual that you could sync the object to help on the alignment so I tried that. I then went back to the second start. Since this was vertical in the sky, the finderscope was really a pain. I centered and synced and then went back to the first star. It wasn’t in the centered again. This was really getting frustrating and made me think it was one of the problem in finding a galaxy. I was sure the margin of error couldn’t be that much and I wouldn’t be able to see a galaxy.
My quit time was approaching so I decided to look for a galaxy using the start hopping method. I looked for a possible galaxy from the Left Turn at Orion book. I found the originating stars in the finderscope and then moved to the location of the galaxy but saw nothing. I was getting a more frustrated. I sat down in the patio chair and did a little thinking. My first thought was the galaxy was in the northern sky which was also in the direction of Seattle so maybe it was a light pollution issue. The next was maybe I was missing something in the alignment process that I should research further. This was my third night out and was getting a little burned out from the lack of relaxing nights after work.