Observing Session–July 26, 2018

Since another clear night, I wanted to try the ZWO camera with the Meade ETX.  There was a slight breeze which made it more comfortable and keep away the mosquitoes. 

I setup the power for the laptop and the DC adapter for the ETX.  I went to plug in the ZWO camera but it wasn’t detected by the laptop.  Then I remembered that I only installed SharpCap and forgot to install the camera drivers.  Simple fix.

I decided to try the moon since it wasn’t fully dark.  The moon was very large in the preview in SharpCap which was great.  The electronic focuser on the ETX was nice but never really got a crisp image of the Moon.  I would see the wavy appearance.  Not sure if the hot night or the fact I was at the driveway but still learning a lot.   I also realized I had forgotten all the settings for SharpCap.  I just set to auto and hoped.   I tried the Barlow too but it got way darker.  Not sure if I can fix in the SharpCap settings so something to try at a later time.

I then went to fine Saturn.  It was a very frustrating effort and took forever.  I realized the finderscope wasn’t aligned correctly.  I tried to compensate but swapping out different eyepiece but then realized that the higher magnification of the ZWO camera meant I needed to be perfect in the eyepiece before swapping with the camera.  A couple of time I got close but then realized the exposure setting on SharpCap might not be helping.  I had just set to auto.   Finally, I noticed a donut and thought maybe I wasn’t in focus.  But, we I focused, it move the telescope enough that Saturn moved.   I went through this back and forth for a long time until I finally got lucky and got an image of Saturn in SharpCap. I was able to manually move the telescope once I realized the slowest setting was too slow for the actual motion of Saturn.    I was able to get a few images but there would be no way to experiment with SharpCap settings.  I then realized I needed to have tracking turned on by the telescope and thus need to have aligned it.   It is all making sense and I guess trying makes you realize how much more you need to do.  But, again, learning a lot.

I decided to try Mars next.  It was slightly easier to get it into the SharpCap preview.   I played around with the gain setting and got it to be sort of red but realized never going to get anywhere without tracking so just called it a night.

All the images can be found on the wiki at https://clearskytonight.com/wiki/July_26,_2018.

ClearSkyTonight_mars_20180826_Capture_00110ClearSkyTonight_moon_20180826_Capture_00010ClearSkyTonight_saturn_20180826_Capture_00081

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Telescope and Camera image size test

I was doing some visual observing with my Meade LX70 refractor. I then tried connecting my Canon T3i and was disappointed with the results. I was looking at Jupiter and could make out some of the bands and the moon with the different eyepieces but the image was way too small on the image with the Canon. So, I did a test some tests. I tested all three of my telescopes (Meade ETX90EC, Meade LX70 refractor, Meade Lightbridge 10”) with my two cameras (Canon T3i and ZWO AS103MC).

The results are in this wiki article called “Image Size Test”.

The first thing that is interesting is of course the difference between the image with the 55 MM camera lens and any of the telescope images. But, the more critical comparison is between the telescopes themselves using the different cameras.

The ZWO camera results is significantly closer image than the Canon regardless of which telescope is used.

When comparing the ZWO images, I was surprised the ETX had a larger image even though it is a small diameter. I will need to do more research. The Lightbridge image is very puzzling. It is a significantly larger diameter and the image isn’t a similar order of magnitude bigger. In fact, the Lightbridge doesn’t look much bigger than the ETX.

Related to the Barlow, the image size is noticeably larger.

Though not related to this test, the blurry images are a problem but again the test was during the day going through a window.

To summarize, interesting results and will need another test using a night time object like the moon.

daylight test 55mmimage size test Capture_00005

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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.

ClearSkyTonight_7419_20171024_moon

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

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DSLR and Meade ETX-90EC

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.

 

dslr_etx_1dslr_etx_2

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Electric Focuser for Meade ETX-90

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.

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Finderscope for Meade ETX-90

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.

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