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Which scope to take to the 2024 eclipse?

21 replies to this topic

#1 pierce

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 06:22 PM

So , I have a few scopes that have white light solar filters, and my wife and I are going on an extended Mexico road trip ending up near Durango in the path of the total eclipse...   the trip is an organized RV caravan, we'll be traveling for 3 months culminating ar the eclipse.

 

Scope 1 is a Celestron/Vixen 80mm f/11 refractor on a SP gem mount

Scope 2 is a vintage Meade 80mm f/10 refractor on one or another EQ mount, probably the SP

Scope 3 is a Celestron C8-SP with a 2" diagonal, on a SP gem

Scope 4 is a Meade LX50 or something 8" SCT on a wedge, same 2" star diagonal fits it.

 

I have eyepieces from 32mm to 4.7mm for whichever, all 82 degree apparent ES.  The 2" ones don't fit the refractors, that's the 18,24,32mm.

 

I may also be able to borrow my club's Oberwerk 25x100 45 deg binos on a fork mount, I fabricated a solar filter holder for these for the last ellipse...   the binos also have 40x 82 degree eyepieces

 

I have a steamer trunk footlocker that could hold either SCT, but the tripod would be free loaded in my SUV along with the rest of the stuff we'll be carrying for this 3 month road trip...  said SUV is a Ford Expedition 4x4 with 2nd and 3rd rows folded, so 7 ft of flat cargo space.   We'll be traveling about 8000 miles total.

 

Choices, choices...

 

PXL_20230831_200421745-X3.jpg

 

PXL_20230909_180114309-X3.jpg


Edited by pierce, 07 October 2023 - 06:25 PM.


#2 rockethead26

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 06:28 PM

I'd probablt take the 80mm refractor. Small and all you need to enjoy white light an totality views of the eclipse.


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#3 Jeff Struve

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 06:31 PM

I'd plug the specs of the gear into Stellariums occular functionality and decide what gives you the FoV you like.
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#4 carolinaskies

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 07:09 PM

The 80mm are a good basic setup for the eclipse. 

I used an ED80 on a Sirius mount with a NEX5r doing live video out HDMI to a screen.  
2017Total Eclipse telescope prep (2).jpg

Then for total overkill I had my 16" LX200(in background) for visual of the eclipse. 


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#5 Wolfwatcher

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 07:48 PM

I have two, one somewhat unorthodox, recommendations. 1. Whatever you choose, make certain you can operate the scope/mount as easily as starting a car and driving off. The more you have to fumble with the rig, the more you miss! Second contact for example is quick and there you are with a solar filtered scope that now sees nothing! I know, I lost half a minute trying to figure out why that happened in 2017 (which, BTW, was an 80mm wide view). 2. The unorthodox recommendation: forget the scope during totality and take it all in with your eyes, or at least part of the whole viewing experience. Land, sky, animals, people's reaction, etc. It's an awesome event unassisted!


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#6 MJB87

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 08:07 PM

Moving to an appropriate forum.



#7 pierce

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 08:20 PM

yeah, we used the binos and the C80-SP at the 2017 total eclipse, worked quite nicely
 
OTOH, the SCT's with the 2" eyepieces give the same sort of FOVs

 

these are my eyepieces, the 4.7-14 are 1.25" while the 18-30 are 2", all are 82 degree FOV

 

i-2rPtz7D.jpg



#8 havasman

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 08:26 PM

Only because I'll be watching from home, I will set up the 80mm Lunt rigged for Ha to observe the approach and departure of totality and to maybe check briefly for prominences during totality. The only other instrument I expect to use will be my 10x50's, probably on a parallelogram mount. During totality I hope to use them briefly to observe the comet that will be a few degrees from the sun. Outside of that I plan to be busy listening to the birds' silence, noting the temp, seeing the leaves' shadows and looking at the other core phenomenon of this event I'll not see again. Experienced total solar eclipse veterans warn against losing focus and missing the event. I plan to heed their advice.


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#9 pierce

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 08:33 PM

I have two, one somewhat unorthodox, recommendations. 1. Whatever you choose, make certain you can operate the scope/mount as easily as starting a car and driving off. The more you have to fumble with the rig, the more you miss! Second contact for example is quick and there you are with a solar filtered scope that now sees nothing! I know, I lost half a minute trying to figure out why that happened in 2017 (which, BTW, was an 80mm wide view). 2. The unorthodox recommendation: forget the scope during totality and take it all in with your eyes, or at least part of the whole viewing experience. Land, sky, animals, people's reaction, etc. It's an awesome event unassisted!

 

We'll be RV camping right on the observing field at least the night before and after...    We did the same in 2017, we observed from right behind our RV.

 

in 2017, totality in Madras OR was about 2 minutes, so I gave my wife the first minute, I took the 2nd, the instant totality started, I whipped the filter off the front of the scope and gave my wife her minute :)   as totality ended, I slapped the filter back on ....   I think I was running the 14mm 82 degree eyepiece, so the total FOV was about 2.5 sun diameters, this worked out quite nicely.

 

I'm remembering now, that the 25x100 fork mounted binos were a bit of a pain because they don't track, and the solar 'finder' I rigged didn't work at totality and changing finders wasn't practical.   IIRC, the 25X eyepieces were 70 degree, while the 40X eyepieces were 82 degree, either way close to a 2 degree FOV.

 

I do have to check out the SCTs with the 2" diag when it gets here, I'm remembering wide fields with SCTs aren't always that satisfactory.   I'll do some driveway testing with the moon over the next few months.   I also need to shake down the 2nd SP mount I acquired, as my first one has gearing thats kind of beat up.   Both have ra and dec slo-mo motors, so they can track if they are reasonably polar aligned.


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#10 pierce

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 08:40 PM

btw, the RV Caravan we're joining, the Yucatan 90 day trip is full with a long waiting list, but they have some openings for their shorter mazatlan trips, these start/end in Nogales, AZ.
 

We still have spaces on short eclipse trips and some of our longer ones as well. We have to firm up our reservations by mid October, so this is the last chance.

The short term trips are 17, 19 and 24 day leaving Nogales, AZ on either March 31st or April 1st. The 19 day trip has 2 extra beach days. The 24 day trip includes the train to Copper Canyon, hotels & meals up there. You may find the prices and schedules at https://www.mexicoca...om/eclipse.html . There is also more info at https://www.mexicorvcaravans.com. There is an 80% chance of clear skies in Mexico, elsewhere from Texas on north chances are 50% or less. This eclipse is the last total solar eclipse in North America until 2045. It is a long one at 4.5 minutes. We will have a physicist (Dr. Joseph Izen) and eclipse expert along and glasses will be supplied. I should mention that children are OK. There is a reasonable surcharge for them that varies on number and ages.

If you are interested, you may book at https://www.mexicoca...s.com/book.html You need to pay a deposit to secure a spot.

Remember that Oct 15th is the cut off. We may be able to handle 1 or 2 more, but that would depend on us being able to increase reservations. I may be reached at 604-852-1342 until late October if you have questions or you may email me at beddows1@telus.net .


I have no financial interest in this, I'm just passing this opportunity on. This company has been successfully running RV caravans for many years and came highly recommended when I researched them



#11 AstroPotamus

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 10:56 AM

Totality is over my backyard and I plan on using a SolarMax 60mm Ha scope for approach and if there are proms during totality. That's on a good tracking mount with an ASI432 and APT taking pics so it's set and forget.

I'm also doing a 100mm f/7 with white light filter on tracking mount with Astroberry for the classic approach/retreat series of 17 shots. That's also set and forget.

Then I've got Celestron 20x80 nocs on a tripod with white light filters for just staring at the sun manually.

Old iPhone on an umbrella stand on top of the sun shelter to take 20 minute centered on totality for ambiance.

I may hook the C8 up with a reducer for natural light video recording just during totality, as well as a 100ED f/11 for same, just because I have spare cameras that can do that.

There's an all sky cam in the works, too, which I think will be exciting.

Lastly, the Bebop drone is being programmed to head up as fast and far as it will go and hover while slowly rotating to record HD video from 400m starting about 5 minutes before totality. Will let that go until it lands for lack of power.

Wife has an 80mm cheap Meade eclipse scope that I'm not allowed to touch that she'll be using as well.

The bad part is I'm in upstate New York and I'm just as likely to be taking pics of clouds as I am eclipse. 2023 was a beautiful day on April 8, so I'm hoping for sake next year.

#12 mikemarotta

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 11:18 AM

No telescope: telescopes are for globular clusters and double stars and stuff like that.

 

If you can set it up to take pictures for you while you look at the eclipse naked eye, that would be best.

And you really must know your telescope well so that you can do this by muscle memory. You do not want to miss the experience of a total eclipse while fussing with your telescope.

 

I am taking a 4-inch sun filter.

 

Explore Scientific Sun Catchers.png

 

Clear Skies!

MIke M.



#13 yuzameh

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 01:54 PM

No telescope: telescopes are for globular clusters and double stars and stuff like that.

 

If you can set it up to take pictures for you while you look at the eclipse naked eye, that would be best.

And you really must know your telescope well so that you can do this by muscle memory. You do not want to miss the experience of a total eclipse while fussing with your telescope.

 

I am taking a 4-inch sun filter.

 

attachicon.gif Explore Scientific Sun Catchers.png

 

Clear Skies!

MIke M.

Mostly concur.

 

However, as your transport appears to be not budgetary, and your mobile home truly mobile and likely not your primary domicile, you probably have something with a good drive on it.  If it can be set to follow the Sun, and you have time to buy or make a projection box, yes, visually enjoy that, I have twice with a 99% eclipse and a 95% eclipse (didn't want to go to Cornwall for the former, and it rained there anyway, well, duh).

 

Look up the duration of full totallity, of course never look at the Sun directly without full protection, but you want to see totality without fathing with kit, you want to enjoy the birds going quiet and the stillness, the encroaching dark, the sudden temperature drop, maybe be even one of those looking ones to see the atmopheric gravity wave band things coming towards you on the ground (site dependent), all in what may only be a few minutes.

 

You may also, which in your country is a possibility, have to jump into your vehicle and drive a couple of hours prior to the eclipse to a non-cloudy site, as informed by your device, with no ticket for speeding and no time wasted chucking expensive kit in the your overgrown caravan, with aircon now less by the looks!

 

A few minutes of totality, full diamond ring effect lasting seconds, Bailey's Beads not lasting long, etc, etc.  You don't want to be messing about.

 

Get your smartphone on a stand, your video camera on a stand, setting 'em up and pointed in the right direction, you want to watch the eclipse, batteries charged, exposure times on automatic if you're afraid of burnout, not like folk nowadays who stare at things via on lcd via their smartphone, which you can do from home on livestream, put the phone down and look at the bloody thing!  Through appropriate and fully protective glasses of course!!!

 

You've probably left it a bit late to organise properly/fully.

 

But remember even if you have learnt to setup and use kit really fast it ain't necessarily true at an unfamiliar remote site.  Even if you have it all fine, some overgrown idiot may likely stand in front of you unless you've rented half the state for your exclusive use.  Or maybe wanna look through your kit if you have a filtered setup, which they can't do of course if a camera is attached to the eyepiece end.  he he.

 

Dunno why folk are so fascinated with taking piccies of stuff.  We've got folk here whining because some idiot cut down some tree somewhere, an invasive non-native species to boot, because it was all photogenic like.  Yeah, get over it, worry about why so many food banks are needed in a purportedly wealthy country instead.

 

Enjoy the sky while it is still free, and I don't mean monetarily free, whilst you're still allowed to look at it and afore you end up having science banned as an offence against some deities or other.

 

But most of all, take care of your eyeballs, everything else is tertiary, not even secondary.



#14 AstroPotamus

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 03:18 PM

Such cynics. By all means, take pictures. I remember both of my eclipses' visual magnificence, but I still love looking at the pictures. And if you want to stare at it through a telescope, do so. You have free will and you're alive; you've earned that right
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#15 Alan D. Whitman

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Posted 08 October 2023 - 04:01 PM

I have only rarely seen anybody take as large a scope as your two 8-inch SCTs to totality, and they did not report seeing more detail than the rest of us saw with small apo refractors. The obvious use for an 8-inch would be for observing the splendours of the southern skies from Mexico. Most RV parks have some areas on the edge that are somewhat less light-polluted, if you can arrange to be assigned such a spot.

 

As for the April eclipse, at 4.5 minutes this is a longer than average total eclipse (unlike 2017 which was shorter than average). There will be enough time for good views with the unaided eye of both the corona and the surroundings such as bright planets and stars and the 360-degree sunset colours; with binoculars for the widest extent of the solar-maximum corona (it will be a very different shape than the 2017 solar minimum corona was); and a telescope for details of swirls in the inner corona and prominences. With the maximum portability afforded by an eclipse that you can drive to (compared to international ones that you have to fly to), I plan to use my Canon 15x50 image-stabilized binoculars, and my 80mm apo refractor. Both are excellent for totality; neither get used very often for anything other than eclipses.

 

I would suggest automating any photography. If you are fooling with solar filters for cameras at C2 and C3, you may miss the chance to visually experience the phenomena that occur almost all at once at C2 and C3: any shadow bands, the approach and then rushing away of the lunar shadow in the atmosphere (easiest to see if there are distant clouds to suddenly darken), the chromosphere, and the Diamond Rings.

 

Baily's Beads are much better viewed at next Saturday's annular eclipse because there are many more beads, and much longer-lasting beads at an annular eclipse than at a total eclipse, especially a longer than average totality like 2024 will be.


Edited by Alan D. Whitman, 08 October 2023 - 05:04 PM.

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#16 BOSS3128

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 11:36 AM

I am going to take my AT72EDII.  It travels well.

 

I plan on using a Baader zoom for pre-totality, and my ES 28/68 for totality.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 72ED and filter.jpg
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#17 Bob W4

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Posted 03 February 2024 - 09:20 AM

If you will be observing the eclipse from a populated public spot, bring 2 telescopes if possible.  Once the non astronomy crowd sees you set up a telescope, you may become swamped by people wanting a look.  


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#18 Cajundaddy

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Posted 03 February 2024 - 01:15 PM

I plan to use an AT72ED for imaging and C-90 for visual to share.  Light gathering is not so important so I see little benefit in bringing a lot of aperture.  



#19 Ohmless

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 06:28 PM

I would personally go with an 80mm scope(both are quality) but buy a 32mm plossl asap for a larger fov if you feel the 82 degree one isn't enough. 

 

i am poor and disabled so inexpensive and portable are the two main reasons I chose to go with a celestron firstscope for me and a pair of binoculars for the public.  I obviously sacrificed quality for the other two priorities.  YMMV and GL with the trip!


Edited by Ohmless, 11 February 2024 - 06:30 PM.


#20 RNSpeed

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 08:51 PM

For the 2017 TSE I traveled with a Meade Adventure Scope 80, a Coronado PST, a Canon 70D and for a mount I used a Celestron CG-4 eq mount.   

 

As for this coming April TSE I want to travel light so I will travel with my AP Stowaway, an OM System OM-5 micro 4/3 camera and for the mount I'll use my iOptron HAE 29 mount on a CF Tripod. Also considering on taking my Daystar Quark with a SvBony SV165 40mm guidescope for full disk partial phases but still evaluating If I'll use it or not. 

 

 

Regards

 

Ray



#21 R Botero

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 08:18 AM

Stowaway + 92TCC + ASI2600MC on a Sky-Watcher SolarQuest on their way to Mazatlan from London soon!  fingerscrossed.gif fingerscrossed.gif fingerscrossed.gif


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#22 Astroman007

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 10:41 PM

Definitely one of the 80mm refractors. Smaller scopes seem to excel at solar. That and a good glass solar filter (I like those by Spectrum Telescope) are all you need for very satisfying white light viewing.

 

Edit: no hassle at all to set up/take down/move about means more time spent looking up. Small scopes for the win! waytogo.gif


Edited by Astroman007, 15 February 2024 - 10:43 PM.

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