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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

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My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Partial Eclipse Leyland 20th March 2015

The eclipse has been and gone. The weather could have been better - most of the eclipse had some cloud - but still a good one. I set up my old ETX90 with my Sony camera yesterday and all was well then I noticed late last night  that there were some dust specks. I could see that they were actually on the chip and carefully tried to remove them - then accidentally tripped the shutter having forgotten to switch the camera off  - the result a damaged shutter! I will try to repair it if possible - otherwise I think a professional repair bill will exceed the value of an ebay replacement!! This is a shame because I had just fathomed out a way of using my modified Canon 40D camera for astronomy with my Sony fit 500mm lens that I use with my Sony Alpha for wildlife photography - I didn't want to have to buy a Canon lens so was quite pleased with that. I can still do that but I thought I had a nice solution to both Astronomy and Wildlife imaging! These things happen rarely thank goodness. So this morning I had to set up the Canon camera with the ETX90. A major advantage of my ETX is that I can flip the mirror to an eyepiece view to centre the Sun (using a white light filter) then flip back to the camera. Having the "Live View " option is a big advantage as seen in the images below, however the screen on the Sony can be flipped at right angles to the normal position which saves having to crouch down behind the camera which I have to do on the Canon. The hard bit is finding the Sun in the first place.t

Having done that a roughly set up tripod gives very reasonable tracking. This is the sky before the eclipse stared.

 Well - maybe I have darkened the sky a little! This is the setup:

 I used a mains to 12V dc converter to power the dummy battery in the camera and the telescope to avoid having to worry about batteries going flat during the eclipse. You will see from above that I used an f/6.3 focal reducer to fit the Sun onto the camera screen. 

I used SkyX software to let me see when the eclipse was due to start and how it was progressing.

The Canon camera worked well

This is the sequence of the eclipse from Leyland