Astro 950 10/99

Last update  December 15, 1999

Here are some additional astro shots with the 950

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Ganymede, one of the Jovian moons, appears from behind the planet on the night of October 10th, 1999 This sequence was taken over an 8 minute period. 1.60 second at default ISO, 8" SCT. These were handheld at the eyepiece.

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Cygnus and the summer Milky Way. I took this shot with the 950 on a tripod in August 1999 under very dark sky conditions in Northern Wisconsin. The original shot is even better, showing more star colors, but is too big for the web. Stars down to 7th magnitue are visible. I was hoping to capture the Milky Way. The Milky Was itself was not visible in the photos, even though it was very bright to the naked eye.

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New Astro atachment. I bought some adapters to try to get some better shots than hand holding the camera.. From left to right,

CKC power 28mm to 37mm ring.

CKC power 37mm to T thread ring

Top of Meade eyepiece projection tube (Had T-threads.

An eyepiece. This goes into the bottom tube, far right.

Update, 03/16/2000. To get the eyepiece closer to the 950 lens, I ended up cutting 2cm off the top of the inner tube (picture above before the cut). This does not affect the normal operation of the projection tube, but it lets you get the eyepiece right up to the 950 lens and increases the field of view considerably. I might be tempted to cut off another 5mm, making it an even inch to get even closer for some eyepieces.

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Ready to go on the telescope.

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Jupiter on the night of 10/23/1999. I am still not satisfied with this, I need to get my home made cable release working again.

Saturn 10/24/1999

The main problem with the projection tube is that you really need to use a cable release to avoid jiggling the telescope.   Without a release, you have to use the self timer, That means that you can't lock the focus, and the camera has a very hard time focusing on these low-light blobs. With a cable release, you could lock the focus at "infinity" and do all of your focusing with the telescope. (It has now been pointed out to me by a couple of smart people that I could have put the camera in manual focus mode while using the self timer. This didn't even occur to me! That would be a good way to fix the camera focus).

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I resurected my old cable release. I made this out of a stereo plug from Radio Shack, an old piece of metal that used to be a port cover for a computer case, and some bits of plastic that used to be a wire nut. Construction hints: I just glued the whole thing together with a glue gun. The metal cross piece already had holes drilled in it for attaching to a computer case, so no drilling was required, the release just screwed right in. Look in your junk box, you probably have one of these.  The release plunger is attached to a "wire nut" (Used by electricians to join wires, use whatever you have) with glue gun glue also. I used a file to flatten two of the sides of the stereo plug so to get a better fit and to keep the plug from turning. This type of release is based on an idea by Denny Canon (his site).  I think that it is better than the commonly seen bottle cap release because you don't run the danger of pulling your power switch off; I've had enough trouble with mine already.

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Jupiter and Saturn on 10/24/1999, using the release instead of the self timer. Better, but still not as sharp as I would like.

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Center of the Orion Nebula. You just can't do much with only an 8 second exposure. November 8th, 1999