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Lunar Eclipse February 20, 2008

February 20th, 2008 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 7,549 Views


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Today’s eclipse is the last one until 2010.

Unfortunately I missed the beginning, but as soon as I got home I set up my rig and began shooting. I captured the full eclipse and the beginning of the end, when the Moon started to show a thin crescent. Another unfortunate thing about this photo session was that the night was cloudy, which makes it hard to focus the camera. I have done the best I could under the circumstances.

Equipment used:

  • Meade ETX 125 AT telescope
  • Canon EOS 20D digital SLR camera
  • Canon A620 digital camera
  • Canon 75-300 EF zoom lens with image stabilization
  • Opteka 3x AF High Definition Telephoto Lens (converter)

As you can see from the pictures of the rig, some pictures had been taken using Canon EOS 20D attached via t-ring to the accessory port of the telescope.

Some pictures had been taken using the zoom lens with the 3x zoom converter lens attached. In the latter configuration auto-focus is impossible. I had to switch to manual focus. Focusing the image is very hard because I can only look at the image through the viewfinder. Now I really appreciate newer cameras that have LCD screens that can preview through the lens and tilt. Anyway, since the image in the viewfinder is tiny, I can only judge about sharpness of focus by taking the picture and looking at the image. All that is very imprecise and takes time. Mind you that Moon is moving across the sky at an incredible speed, so the composition must be constantly adjusted. In this setup the telescope essentially becomes a very powerful lens, and the focus is adjusted on the telescope, not the camera. One of the advantages of using primary-focus adapter is that entire CCD of the camera is being exposed to light – nothing is lost.

Some pictures had been takes with a simple point-and-shoot Canon A620 7.1 megapixel camera. It was attached through a special adapter to the 26mm eyepiece. An advantage of this method is that I can use LCD of the camera to view the stars. This is called a-focus focusing method, if I am not mistaken about the terminology. It may even be possible to connect the camera to your TV and watch what telescope sees on your big screen TV! The disadvantage is that the image is surrounded with blackness. I can zoom the camera all the way, and it gets rid of the black surrounding mostly, but at higher zoom camera is harder to auto-focus and it becomes more sensitive to shake, which still is present even with the sturdiest tripods.

Here’s a sample photo: The end of the full lunar eclipse on February 20, 2008

The rest of them are here: http://public.fotki.com/MaxiMovieBlog/lunar-eclipse-feb-2/

And this is a photo of my rig: Meade ETX 125 AT, Canon EOS 20D, Canon A620

I’ve observed and photographed a previous eclipse that happened in summer. Read this post: Full Lunar Eclipse (Aug 28, 2007)

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 admin // Feb 25, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Luke, you can mount any [lightweight] digital camera on the eyepiece using one of the adapters sold at http://www.cncsupplyinc.com/digikits.htm
    There are three parts that you need to get, so if you are not sure, email and ask the guy [owner of the shop] first. It’s gonna cost you about $100 with shipping.
    The three parts are:
    1) the ring appropriate for your eyepiece
    2) the step-up ring that adapts the (1) to the diameter of your lens
    3) the (2) is attached to the lens adapter that mounts on the camera.
    Canon A620 is capable of having a converter lens mounted on it,like my 3x telephoto converter lens or 0.5 wide angle lens, and the (3) is mounted just the same way. The (2) goes into the lens adapter, thus converting the 52mm hole into 36mm hole, and then the little ring (1) goes into the 36mm ring to adapt to the eyepiece.
    What you do it take the rubber off the eyepiece, and attach (1) to it by screwing in the three little screws you will find on sides of the (1). Very easy.
    Be advised that you will have black surrounding on your pictures even at full zoom, but it’s easy to crop it off.

  • 2 Luke // Feb 25, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Reply  |  Quote


    Hi, can you please please tell me the attatchment used to adapt the canon a620 onto the meade etx 125? Been looking for this for a long long time. Email lukewelsby@googlemail.com

    GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!

  • 3 admin // Feb 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Reply  |  Quote


    Luke, you can mount any [lightweight] digital camera on the eyepiece using one of the adapters sold at http://www.cncsupplyinc.com/digikits.htm
    There are three parts that you need to get, so if you are not sure, email and ask the guy [owner of the shop] first. It’s gonna cost you about $100 with shipping.
    The three parts are:
    1) the ring appropriate for your eyepiece
    2) the step-up ring that adapts the (1) to the diameter of your lens
    3) the (2) is attached to the lens adapter that mounts on the camera.
    Canon A620 is capable of having a converter lens mounted on it,like my 3x telephoto converter lens or 0.5 wide angle lens, and the (3) is mounted just the same way. The (2) goes into the lens adapter, thus converting the 52mm hole into 36mm hole, and then the little ring (1) goes into the 36mm ring to adapt to the eyepiece.
    What you do it take the rubber off the eyepiece, and attach (1) to it by screwing in the three little screws you will find on sides of the (1). Very easy.
    Be advised that you will have black surrounding on your pictures even at full zoom, but it’s easy to crop it off.

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