Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Preparing for next years Solar Eclipse

Next year on April 8th we will have a solar eclipse in the US. Since starting Arta, I don't have much (any?) time for astrophotography. But this is an event that I don't want to miss.


By the time, I got my act together, hotels and special start parties were sold out or were REALLY expensive. But Beth found a great place: Yantis, Texas. Population 322. 1.5 hours from Dallas. Almost exactly in the path of totality. Totality will be 4min 15sec (maximum totality time is 4min 28sec)!!


So, now I have to figure out what equipment to bring. We briefly considered driving, but that'd take too long. Which means I can't bring the Takahashi scope.

My initial thought was to buy/rent a long Nikkor lens that I can use with my Nikon D750 camera. But when I asked on the SEML mailing list about optimal focal length I realize that I have a pretty good one already: a few years ago, I bought a Takahashi FS-60CB refractor that I wanted to use as a guidescope. But it was too heavy and didn't yield better results than my simple ... 

So, it collected dust... But its focal length of 355 mm is almost perfect. It would be a perfect 600mm focal length with a the 1.7x Extender

But that was really difficult to get. Takashi US didn't have it. No vendor in the US had it. But Pierre Astro in France had it! Well, we will visit Germany in a few weeks, so I ordered it there and shipped it to my parents place! yei!!!


Similar to the FS-60CB scope, I have an AstroTrac 360 mount that I didn't really use yet and that I bought especially for light travel:

It can easily carry the FS-60CB scope and the D750. Now I just have to set it up. Unfortunately, one of the arms got bricked when I tried to update it to the last firmware!!! Well, there is enough time to send it in and get it repaired.

... and this mount can also carry my Pentax Imaging Rig. So, I can also take images at night - I expect Yantis to be pretty dark.

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