SharpCap settings for ZWO AS103MC and Lunt LS50THA

In preparing for the solar eclipse, I experimented with different SharpCap settings.  I settled on these settings:

  • Exposure – 1 ms
  • Gain – 45
  • Gamma – 25
  • Brightness – 0

Those settings resulted in the image below.  I also added the full listing of settings after taking the image.


Output Format=AVI files (*.avi)
Capture Area=728×512
Colour Space=RGB24
Discard Split Frames=Off
Turbo USB=80
Frame Rate Limit=Maximum
Timestamp Frames=Off
White Bal (B)=78
White Bal (R)=1
Auto Exp Max Gain=50
Auto Exp Max Exp=30
Auto Exp Max Brightness=100
Mono Bin=Off
Apply Flat=None
Subtract Dark=None
Display Brightness=1
Display Contrast=1
Display Gamma=1

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Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

I went to Madras, Oregon to view the total solar eclipse at Oregon Solarfest

I setup a couple of cameras.  The first was using a solar filter over a telephoto lens on my Canon.  I took a couple of shots during the first contact phase.  The main effort was using the Lunt and ZWO to try to capture totality.  The last was using the Canon to record a video during the event pointed at the horizon.  The results are located in the articles wiki for astrophotography events for the total solar eclipse

The video of using the Lunt and ZWO didn’t turn out.  The still images are great but the video needed some different type of exposure settings.  The view from the Canon was fine but the video of the event using the Canon was great.  Like I read, it was great to record the surroundings and our reactions to the event.

The total solar eclipse itself was incredible to see with my own eyes.  I am sure with more practice I could figure out the exposure settings but it was just incredible to experience though way too short.  I was also amazed by the temperature change.  Didn’t expect that.

Lastly, here are some news videos for the place we camped and nearby:

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Focus ZWO AS103MC on Lunt LS50THA

I connected the ZWO camera into the Lunt eyepiece holder but I wasn’t able to get it to focus.  So, did some research on the Internet.  The trick is to unscrew the eyepiece holder and screw the ZWO camera directly into the diagonal.  The pull the diagonal back from the telescope to get it close to focus.  Then use the focuser to fine tune.



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Pressure tuning Lunt Telescope

With the focusing figured out, I next tried on a perfectly clear day.  This time the pressure tuning worked fine.  It was a little hard to see much but I think might have been due to nothing on the surface of the sun.  But as I continued to try, I finally noticed something on the edges.  I don’t know my solar terms yet but something was extending from the surface of the sun on the edge.  It was very interesting. 

For the next try the next day, I switched from the zoon eyepiece that goes from 24mm to 8 mm to a 5mm eyepiece.  The results where better in general but also nothing really to see. 

Oh well, the Lunt was really purchased for the solar eclipse so figured out the general configuration.  I also used it for the first time on the Meade LX70 mount and the difference in stability was very apparent compared to the camera tripod.


Focusing Lunt Telescope

Since I had issuing on the first attempt at using the Lunt telescope, I had to wait until the next clear day.  This time I had a much better experience.  I read that you had to not push the blocking filter all the way in.  There was a holding screw so I opened it out and then didn’t push the blocking filter all the way in and then locked the hold screw in.  I also set the the focusing ring to around half way.

This time I was able to get a crisp image.  I didn’t have luck with the pressure tuning but there was some hazy so will try again on a perfectly clear day.



How to position a Lunt Blocking Filter

In the process of taking parts of the Lunt LS50THA apart, I wasn’t sure how to position the blocking filter.  Both sides had the same screw fitting.  So, I emailed Lunt and got clarification.  One side has a blue/green tint.  That side should go towards the scope.  The other side has a red tint and that goes towards the eyepiece.