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Thread: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

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    Default Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.



    I'm not sure this is the best place for this, but here goes...

    I'm planning a trip to the 2017 Solar Eclipse centerline (300mi. south of home) I want to watch the eclipse without worrying about a lot of equipment, but would like to image the phases of the eclipse and possibly use a scripted shoot during totality. I'm trying to pull together what I'd absolutely need to pull this off.

    What I have is an old C90 which I'd like to couple with a Canon Rebel T3 for some prime focus use.
    The scope/lens only has the standard photo tripod mount hardware. My guess is I'll need to put it on a EQ mount of some sort that has a solar rate tracking option. I've done no telescope modding, so I'm not really familiar with any way to modify the mounting hardware to put it on a tracking type mount of any kind. I have found a great looking program called Eclipse Orchestrator for the shooting script which I plan to run on a laptop hooked up to the camera.

    So unless I'm missing something, my biggest need is a sure way to couple the scope and camera and a really portable tracking mount. (Actually I have an old Meade tripod/wedge and the old LX5 drive system, but don't have the hand controller to select the solar tracking rate + it's damn heavy for what I want to do....
    So if anyone has any ideas, or needs to tell me I'm crazy, I'm all ears.
    I thought about posting this in the Solar viewing and imaging forum, but it seems pretty specialized stuff dealing with Ha filters and PST's way beyond what I'm trying to do.

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    You may be able to get away with a lighter mount (I'm not sure because of the magnification your scope will provide) but I would suggest a CG4 with single axis drive. I will be observing the event with a 90Mak (same as your scope) and an ST80, one of these being on my CG4. You should try your camera with the scope beforehand to see if you like the image scale, you may be better off changing one or both. I may be imaging through the ST80 which has a much shorter focal length than the 90Mak. The CG4 is a mount you will find useful for a great range of future scopes as well and capable of good short exposure AP with the motor drive and still one that is extremely portable for a solid EQ mount.

    By the way, where exactly is your destination for the event? I will be observing from my home in Hopkinsville Ky. (the site of longest possible duration in the country) with some friends, some of which are from here on the forum and traveling down (I can't wait!!). I also extend the invitation to you if you're planning on being in the area.
    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, and lots of astro stuff.

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    AUricle (01-18-2017)

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    I need to test the optics on the C90, as it's been sitting idle for awhile, and figure out what exactly I'll need to mount the camera to it, but yeah as soon as I do, I figure I have 6 months to test out how the images scale. From reading, the f/11 optics should give me between 13 and 18mm solar disk image leaving space for the coronal streamers. If I'm wrong, maybe I can fit a focal reducer between the scope and cam. I've never imaged the Sun, so I'm grateful for practice time to kep me busy.
    Honestly, I'm shocked by what looks to be a huge overcrowding situation along the centerline developing, so I'm thinking of more "out-of-the-way" locations. I had started out just looking for Illinois location that have the 2m40sec max. totality time, and thought maybe Land between the Lakes, since I want my two young grandkids to see this and I'll have sons and wife and daughter-in-law in tow.
    That's also a hugely generous offer, but with two vehicles and 8-9 people, I don't want to hog up your space and upset your viewing party especially with a 7 and 3yr old. You've got some might good luck living not only on the centerline but the point of max totality!!
    I'm going to check around for the CG4 mount. I also want to check another idea, since driving in one axis will be sufficient for these fast exposures.
    I have an ancient Criterion RV6 newt that came on a GEM pedestal mount with 1-axis drive. As far as I still remember, the drive still operates. I can get a new motor if it doesn't.....but I don't remember how accurate the tracking was, so again I'll have 6 months to find out.
    Thanks for the tips and the incredible offer.....

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    If your tracking motor operates at the correct rate, then your tracking accuracy will depend totally on your alignment precision. For this application, it does not need to be that precise. You shoot a short video at a very high frame rate and you just need to keep the sun in the field of view, so even a tracking alt/az mount will work.

    Land between the Lakes may be a good option for you, but you better make reservations quick. I maintain a yearly backwoods camping pass for there and they have already contacted me about limited reservations already. We are talking about a very large National Park with many, many large open areas and lots of camping grounds, but the available space is going quickly. You may want to check out Pennyrile State Park which is closer to my home and optimal location (it's my dark site), they have a camp ground there and there may be sites left, it would be a better location than the much, much larger Land between the Lakes and is much less known.

    I will be on vacation the week before and the week of the eclipse. If you do get down to my area, I would love to get together for a nightly observing session if your schedule would allow and an opportunity arises. Feel free to contact me at any time.
    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, and lots of astro stuff.

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    You're a good man "Oz".......
    If I manage to get down there a little ahead of time, I promise I'll look you up.
    Btw- most folks know me as "Chuck"

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    It's good to meet you Chuck, but I would still like a face to face where we can enjoy the skies together, so hopefully you will look me up.

    My first name is Todd, but my last name is a little hard to pronounce, so when I started school some 45 years ago, I became Oz. I'm just a simple uneducated country boy who happens to own a scope or two and really enjoys observing with those who love it too.
    bladekeeper and AUricle like this.
    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, and lots of astro stuff.

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    Default

    One reminder, if you're planning on using a script for taking photos - the exposure requirements are hugely different during totality. When the sun isn't fully eclipsed, you'll need a solar filter on the front of the scope. So scripting would work fine for that... But during totality you don't need - and don't want - the filter. You'll want to take the filter off when totality starts, and replace it as it ends.

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    jTC,

    Believe me, I've got THAT burned into my head already, so that I don't just go all slack jawed and stupid at the moment totality starts. REMOVE FILTER NOW!!!.......but thanks for the reminder

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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    Oz,
    I've been scouting sites between Carbondale and Hopkinsville religiously. Man some of the locals are trying to cash in BIGTIME......there's not much available out there.
    Best I can tell Pennyrile has ZERO campsites available, but it seems the lodge may have availability.
    I don't want to commit big bucks to a site, because weather is EVERYTHING, and if I have to move 100 miles.........
    Pssst.....AUricle's real name is Chuck...or "Ch-ahh-ly" to friends!



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    Default Re: Building an imaging platform using a C90 mak.

    Yeah, space around here will be at a premium then. Already very hard to find. And a cloudy day could ruin it all.
    LX200 ACF 8"SCT(Supercharged), Apertura AD12, Celestron C6A SCT, ES 102CF Apo triplet, ES AR102, ST90, Apex 90mm Mak, ST80(modified), ETX60, Oberwerk 25x100s, 15x70s, 8x56s, Celestron AVX, CG4, SLT, LCM, Obie HD Parallel Bino mount, Canon T5, Meade DSI2 Pro, Phillips webcam, Explore Scientific 30mm, 24mm, 18mm, 14mm, 11mm, 8.8mm, 6.7mm 82 degree EPs, ES 24mm, 20mm, 16mm 68 degree EPs, Baader 9mm Ortho, Meade 5000 SWA EP set, many more various EPs, Baader Moon&SkyGlow, FringeKiller, SemiApo filters, Celestron UHC, Meade 4000 Nebular Filter, Kson OIII, and lots of astro stuff.

 

 
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