The sky during totality and other views!

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The sky during totality and other views!

Postby wgater » Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:16 pm

Hi Gang,

I've just finished another montage of the total eclipse in Turkey (viewable on my blog). I've included a shot of the sky during totality because I think it conveys the atmosphere of the event and the incredible 'sunset' colours. Also Venus is visible to the top of the image. If you haven't already checked them out, Pete (Starman) has some amazing images [url=http://www.digitalsky.org.uk/solar/tse-20060329/tse.html]here[/url], and Jonathan (jjdemery) has some [url=http://jondemery.blogspot.com/]great pics[/url] of people observing during totality.

See what you think...

Will
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RE: The sky during totality and other views!

Postby jjdemery » Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:33 pm

Hi Will

Very nice montage, have a couple of questions,
1 How did you take these pics with the 300d and the etx (eypice projection or afocal)

2 I am thinking of trading in my 70 for a 90 or maybe a 105 what are your opinions of the 90 esp for astrophotography/travel

cheers

Jonathan
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RE: The sky during totality and other views!

Postby jsc248 » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:23 pm

Thanks for the links Will,
All three of you seemed to have captured the event with superb clarity.
Well done to you, Peter and jonathan and thanks for sharing the views.
John.
To me astronomy is looking up and thinking "What the heck is going on up there!!"
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RE: The sky during totality and other views!

Postby wgater » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:40 pm

Hi Jonathan,

The images were taken by mounting the 300D at the prime focus on the back of the ETX 90EC. I'm not sure you can do this on a ETX 70??.Then I could centre in the eyepiece, flip the mirror and focus in the 300D's viewfinder. Exposures were bracketed around key moments i.e. 'Diamond Ring', totality etc.

As for the ETX 90 as a travel/astrophotgraphy scope I really couldn't ask for much more. In Turkey it performed better than it had ever done in hundreds of nights of observing in the UK. It tracked the Sun for about 7 hours non-stop without the need for so much as a nudge from me. The Autostar aligned first time to stars which I couldn't tell where there (because it was daytime!). I tricked the computer and it worked superbly in Polar mode.

When travelling (on a plane) it fits snuggly/safely (inside the Meade hard carry case) in over-head plane lockers; the field tripod is light enough and small enough to fit in the bottom of a large suitcase suitably padded out with clothes. I had no excess baggage on the way out to Turkey!!!

My astrophotography experience with the ETX 90 has been very good. I've used a OM10, 0M1 and now a Canon 300D and they have all worked well with it. It's excellent for Lunar photography (I'm working on a libration animation) as well as Solar imaging with a filter. With the added piggyback bracket (and tracking in Polar mode) it can produce some really nice long exposure wide angled shots of the constellations, Milky Way etc. I would like to have had a focal reducer though for Turkey, as some of my totality shots have had the corona ever so slightly clipped at the top and bottom.

It's not so good for long exposure deep sky work through the scope though. It's [b]so[/b] difficult to get the tracking perfect that the images hardly ever come out good enough to use. The tracking is good enough not to notice in wide angled piggyback shots, but as I say not brilliant for through the eyepiece stuff. Saying that if you Google Mike Weasner's ETX site you'll see that some people have manged to get some images of the brighter/easier deep sky objects. Lots of image stacking I guess?!?!

Overall its a really great little telescope, light, portable, crisp clear views. The newer versions have had their finder scopes replaced with 'red dot' things, I'm undecided yet as to whether that's and improvemtent[&:]!?!
I would certainly recommend it as a travel telescope, someone (Hi Nigel!)had a 105 with us in Turkey and I don't think he had any probs with carriage etc. I guess the bigger the scope the more difficult it is to travel easily though.

Hope this helps.

Will

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RE: The sky during totality and other views!

Postby jsc248 » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:56 pm

Now that you mention it Will, there was quite a few largish telescopes on the Sky at Night programme that you and Peter were on. I'll have to remember this for the next eclipse as I fully intend to be there myself!!
John.
To me astronomy is looking up and thinking "What the heck is going on up there!!"
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RE: The sky during totality and other views!

Postby wgater » Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:13 pm

John,

Yes there were some larger telescopes at the site. I would guess though that they didn't get that [i]much[/i] bigger than 150mm apertures. Pete had a Skywatcher 80ED Pro refractor and I would say that was one of the bigger (sizewise) scopes there. Most people were either using large tele-photo lenses or short tube refractors! Certainly there were NO SCT's and the like! LOL[:)]

Will
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