C5, Thousands Oaks 2+, HEQ5Pro, Prime Focus, D90, ISO 1600, 1/250s (8:16am)
C5 + Thousands Oaks Type 2+ + HEQ5Pro + D90 (Close-up solar photography)
Lunt LS35THaDx + NexStar 4SE mount + ToUcam SPC900NC (H-alpha photography)
D80 + Lenses + Baader film (Wide field photography)
JVC MC500 + Baader film (Video recording)
Equinox 80ED + + Baader film + Porta (Visual observation)
10x42 Binoculars + Baader film (Visual observation)
Eclipse Shades (Visual observation)
This is a challenge for me to handle them all. I am not familiar with star alignment, especially in daytime. I tried once the NexStar 4SE mount once in daytime, but the tracking of the sun was modest. This was probably due to my green experience. The worst case is that I don’t have any daytime star alignment with the HEQ5Pro. Wish me all the best tomorrow. Unlike the deep sky objects, the poor tracking of the sun will not affect the photos a lot. If the tracking is good, I can free myself to enjoy visual observation. About the H-alpha observation, I think most stargazers, perhaps sungazers, will not use H-alpha scopes to do eclipse observations. This time I just do it for fun and see what will happen. Since the stock LS35T focuser cannot get the ToUcam in focus, I need to wait for the customized adaptor. The adaptor was arrived two days ago. I don’t have enough time to familiarize the combination of LS35T and ToUcam. Wish me good luck! Go to sleep and go to Clear Water Bay early tomorrow morning! Cheers!
Jupiter: 9-7-2009, 5:36, Tseung Kwan O, Equinox 80ED, Porta, ToUcam SPC900NC, 300 Frames, RegiStax 5, PS CS2
About the image quality, although I used C5 instead of Equinox 80ED to do planetary imaging, it does not mean Equinox is no good. The prime reason was that a high power telescope is needed for such task. While waiting for my Meade 8 ACF, C5 is now the instant supplement. Well! Doing visual observation and astrophotography are different stories. The Equinox 80ED gives excellent visual images. I can see color fringes on the Jupiter and 4 satellites. The images are crispy, high contrast and saturated compared with those visual images on C5. However, when the image is projected on the webcam sensors, it was too small even TV 2.5X was used. So the simple solution to planetary imaging is high power telescope. I guess this conclusion is known to most stargazers. But I learned this by experiencing it!
During the observation, I tried to push the Equinox 80ED to limit. The target was Jupiter. The seeing was average. I used a 2mm eyepiece making the magnification to be 500/2 = 250X. The image was blurring, but acceptable. I could see the color fringes on Jupiter. By using the TV 2.5X, the magnification was boosted up to 625X. The image was garbage. It was just a blur disc! No details or color variation can be seen. Next I used the 8-24mm Zoom eyepiece and the TV 2.5X. The magnification at 8mm was 500/8*2.5 = 156X. Apart from dimmer image, the details and the contrast of the image were good. Pushing the magnification of Equinox 80ED to 200X is not a problem to me. (Note: The factory claimed the highest practical power is 160X.) Ah! This conclusion tempts me to buy the versatile TeleVue 3-6mm Zoom Eyepiece.
The sky is exceptionally clear recently. Stargazing is my hobbit, but “family gazing” is more important. The compromise is home observation! Last night I shoot the Saturn. Early this morning I shoot the Moon & the Saturn. Since I am not familiar with Registax, I can only post the single shot here. I need to squeeze time to learn the Registax.
Shortly after the launch of LS35T, people found that it was not webcam focusable. It was basically the optical tube or the focuser tube was too long. Lunt didn’t give resolution for the first batch of LS35T, but will rectify the upcoming LS35T. Since the modification is very simple, either make a shorter optical tube or a shorter focus tube will make it works. Maybe this is a cheap solution that to let the local dealer to make the modification rather than ship back all the scopes and modify those scopes by Lunt.
The reason I bought the first batch of LS35T was that it was not simply a deluxe package, LS35THaDX. The lens of the first batch of LS35T was made by Carl Zeiss. I was told due to the mass production problem; Carl Zeiss could not meet the Lunt’s specification with a reasonable low cost. So the upcoming LS35T will not use Carl Zeiss lens anymore. In addition, the blocking filter of this special batch was B600 instead of B400. So I treat this special Carl Zeiss batch or prototype as a collection.
Well about the performance, today we got a beautiful sunny day, I tested the LS35T. Recently the sun is very claim. I was very lucky that I saw two sunspots and one prominence. The locations of the two sunspots were around 4:00 to 5:00 and the location of the prominence was around 12:00. I could see the details of the sun disc. Since I don’t have PST experience, I can only compare the LS35T with LS100T and LS100F. It is not a serious comparison because I only have limited experience of LS100T and LS100F. At the moment, I am not able to produce any photos because I am too green in astrophotography. Getting the sun in focus in daytime is another challenge. Anyway, the image produced by LS35T is bright. Although the 35mm aperture is small, the solar disc is bright and uniform. I was told by a Solarmax user that Lunt’s image is very uniform and no observable ghost image is found. Don’t expect you can see the filaments at once unless you are using larger aperture or double-stack systems. You need to stare at the solar disc and inspect it carefully. However, once you get use to it, it is obvious! The details of solar disc can be improved by fine tuning the Etalon. This is what I have done today. I will try my best to take some photos soon!
As it is a low end product, it cannot be compared with my friend's LS100THaDS. However, I am sure you will not regret to buy one! It is affordable and handy. But the bad news is that the local dealer only got four special Carl Zeiss version LS35T. He will ship one to China and keep one for himself. The other two were bought by another stargazer and me yesterday. So all the scopes gone!
There was no sunspot at all. The image was flat visually as the filter was basically light reduction. After some visual observations, I tried to take some photos with my D80. I found that the image was so big that it was hard to be captured by the sensors.
However, I was in rush to leave the school. I have no time to try out the reducer. Anyway the photo was something like this. Before the arrival of my Lunt’s LS35TDX, I will use C5 and Thousand Oaks for most of the solar observations. By all means it is good for eclipse & planetary transitions.
After having the dinner and disciplined my daughter, I went out at about 9:30pm. When I arrived Pak Tam Chung, the half moon was pasted the zenith. Saturn was almost set. I didn’t setup my stuff at once, but browsed around. A friend of mind got a new toy, 110ED. He was busy testing his toy with other stargazers. Their focus was the moon. I shared with him my Sky-Watcher’s 2mm and 5mm eyepieces. These two eyepieces pushed the 110ED to 770/2= 385X and 770/5 = 154X respectively. The 2mm eyepiece definitely drove the scope beyond its maximum practical magnification. (i.e. roughly 110x0.04x50 = 220X). In term of visual, the performance is acceptable.
I just got a Porta mount and Equinox 80ED last night. It was because I need to spare my boot to carry stroller next day. Well I star tested by Equinox again. Both the diffraction spot inside focus and outside focus were round, concentric and symmetrical. The bright star was pin-sharp at the focus. Actually I just repeated what Mirror God told me last time. However this time I examined the diffraction spots carefully. One funny thing I found was that when I used a 2mm eyepiece on my 80ED, the image of the bright star cannot be focused to a spot but a diffraction spot with several Newton’s rings. Which means the image of a bright star become a quite large diffraction spot. The diffraction spot was still round and concentric. This reflected the Equinox is a good telescope. Lucky me! I will try to do the same test on other scopes and see if this phenomenon is general. It would be interesting that for those known famous telescope, if one pushes the magnification beyond its maximum practical magnification, what would be seen for the bright star image visually.