Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged

I reserve the absolute privilege to be right, wrong, misinformed, arbitrary, imbecilic and inarticulate.

Not quite as anticipated

I did get to do my bit for the ‘100 Hours of Astronomy’ thought I’ve little to show for it. Saw a little of ‘Around the World in 80 Telescopes’, before the laptop went ‘phut’ and got the whole panoply of kit out Saturday afternoon, planning to start with the Sun and go through into the evening. The weather put paid to the evening and the new kit failed to deliver in the afternoon, every last bit of it.

I got lined up on the Sun without too much squinting and had in sync to track the Sun as it moved around, and it was nigh on perfect. I focussed on the limb and placed it in the middle of the field using the Meade 15mm and x2 Barlow and it held it absolutely spot on for over two hours, but that was the only successful element of the whole afternoon. Once I was lined up I put the UV-IR Cut filter in, no visible change to the image at the eyepiece, which didn’t surprise me too much, and then added the Solar Continuum filter and everything when green, not just a tint but as green as a very green thing indeed and more significantly, no detail whatsoever. So I thought I would fire up the little Cannon and take some shots and see if Photoshop could find anything that the Mk1 eyeball was missing. Nothing doing. The Cannon has the threaded tripod mount at the extreme left end and the Microstage does not allow the camera to be moved far enough to the left to place the lens at the eyepiece. Also the knurled screw which secures the camera to the Microstage is so short it barely bites with the cable release wrapped around the camera, tilting it up at the right hand end. So no photos to examine.

I think I can modify the mount where it grips the eyepiece, forcing the pivoting arm further to the left and allowing the lens to be brought to the eyepiece. I was very disappointed with the Solar Continuum filter but when I got to the PC and emailed Baader, a possible cause of the problem occurred to me and I put it to the people at Baader and they have confirmed that this is the case. I do my solar observing through a 45mm cut out in the full 130mm end cover, backed by Baader’s Astro Solar Safety Film and it occurred to me that this maybe fine for most purposes but with the addition of the filter the light transmission may not be enough to show the detail which the filter should pick out. In a rather prissy reply from Baader, telling me to consult the supplier in future about such matters, they advised that the 45mm aperture may be enough to see sunspots, but that’s all, and there aren’t any at the moment as we are in a very quiet solar minimum, but that I would need the full aperture to be able to see any granulation. I have a very good friend who is a bit of a wizard on the woodworking and I think I will have to challenge him to produce me a couple of 130mm+ hoops to trap a layer of the Safety Film so that I can use the full aperture. As for the cable release I can’t see any alternative but to wrap it around the platform as well as the camera in order to get a secure fixing to the mount, I think there is enough length available but haven’t tried it yet.

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