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Never Solar Imaged before....only DeepSky/Planetary. Help!

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#1 mayhem13

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 09:00 AM

Hey everyone! I'll be driving out to Erie Pennsylvania for the April Eclipse and have absolutely no idea what camera or scope to use or what i need to buy. Here's what i have

 

Celestron CGX mount

 

Canon APS_camera with H Alpha mod

Canon FF Mirrorless no mods 

ZWO ASI 224mc

ZWO ASI220mm

 

Esprit 100ed

8" F3.9 Newtonian

9.25" SCT with reducer

10" manual Dobsonian f5 that can be mounted equatorially need be.

 

That's it....no filters for this kinda thing whatsoever or the knowledge or special tricks/tips. I image the stuff i might need is gonna get scarce as the event approaches so i'd like to get things together and do a few trial and error sessions ahead of time. Guidance to archive threads or other literature would also be appreciated.

 

Thanks for reading and the help!.



#2 CreatorsHand

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 11:26 AM

In 2017 I used a Canon 7DII and a 500mm f/4L lens to photograph the eclipse, and I felt that was an ideal combination; the camera allowed me to capture 7 bracketed images at up to 10 fps and the 700mm effective focal length gave me room to capture the streamers of the corona. I liked it well enough that I purchased a second identical camera for this eclipse. You want something that you are familiar with that you can focus in the bright sunshine. For me, a refractor or telephoto lens is ideal and much simpler than a reflector or SCT. I also don't know if there are special provisions that need to be made to have a large mirror pointed at the Sun, but even if not, large solar filters can get expensive fast. I think an APS-C camera with a fixed focal length around 400mm (Canon 400mm f/5.6(?), which I may also use) would be a nice package and be less unwieldy than a larger OTA. You do need to decide quickly, as solar filters are already getting harder to get, and I know one manufacturer (Kendrick Astro) have indicated that they plan to increase prices 50% on February 12th to pay for the overtime they are anticipating they will have to pay.

 

Another option you might consider, which has been recommended by many experienced eclipse chasers and eclipse photographers, is to just plan on watching the eclipse. You are running out of time to figure out how to photograph it and are in danger of missing this experience because of having to mess with a camera. I did not follow that advice in 2017, but I also spent a year studying and planning how to do it, and even with a plan and lots of practice ended up missing much of it because my EQ. tracking mount (that I purchased for the eclipse a year ahead of time) messed up just before the eclipse and I had to shoot off a gimbal mount on a tripod, which meant I had to regularly adjust where the camera was pointing. The excitement of the event makes even experienced eclipse photographers make mistakes; a rookie without a plan locked down and practiced many times may have significant difficulties getting satisfactory results. Doing that and buying a print of the eclipse from someone who has experience might give you the best experience.

 

Paul


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#3 mayhem13

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 11:47 AM

Thanks Paul! Sounds like my Esprit 100 at F5/550 mm focal length will do the job along with my Canon Aps-c

 

Now my Canon is H-Alpha modified.....i would imagine that would be ideal for this no?

 

and filter?.......i would assume the filter goes over the outside of the objective and not between the scope and the camera?


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#4 mayhem13

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 11:59 AM

This is available now and they're a few blocks from me

 

https://www.bhphotov...lar_filter.html

 

Will this get the job done?



#5 NickLandis2023

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 12:25 PM

Thanks Paul! Sounds like my Esprit 100 at F5/550 mm focal length will do the job along with my Canon Aps-c

 

Now my Canon is H-Alpha modified.....i would imagine that would be ideal for this no?

 

and filter?.......i would assume the filter goes over the outside of the objective and not between the scope and the camera?

Keep in mind an APS sensor with a 550mm focal length may not capture the full extent of the corona. Here's the comparison of a full frame vs APS.

http://astronomy.too...olar_system=sun

Rule of thumb for the corona is 5 solar discs across .

 

If you use a white light filter, which would be recommended at this stage, it needs to go on over the outside of the objective yes. Your solar filter should be the the sunlight's first interaction with your equipment

 

This is available now and they're a few blocks from me

 

https://www.bhphotov...lar_filter.html

 

Will this get the job done?

It will get the job done. Glass filters are recommended though as they are generally higher quality and you get less hazing. Check out this thread that's going on right now for a recent discussion
https://www.cloudyni.../#entry13252525

 

I picked up a Seymour glass solar filter last month and it looks great!
 


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#6 banjo1000

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 12:26 PM

Your 102mm refractor is good for outer corona, but I recommend you find a flattener or flattener/reducer. You will be happier with a full frame camera. If on a budget, look into used older full frame DSLRs.

Either of your big tracking scopes would work for prominences, the one with shorter focal length is better for inner corona. Look into a flattener.

You will want solar filters for any photographic scope and I recommend filters for finder scopes too. The least expensive and IMHO best solution is to make your own from Baader AstroSolar film, 5.0 for finders and either 3.8 or 5.0 for the main scope. Note that 3.8 will give the best results for photography, but it is NOT safe for visual use.

I have sheet metal skills so I make my own cells, but it is perfectly fine to make cells from cardboard. They are just less durable.

Unfortunately, Baader hasn’t had an Astrosolar production run so 50cm x 100cm AS is not available. A4 size can be found, but that wouldn’t cover your larger apertures fully. Prefab filters, especially the lower performance glass filters get very pricey.

You will need solar filters for centering and focusing prior to totality.

Joe
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#7 CreatorsHand

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 12:52 PM

Thanks Paul! Sounds like my Esprit 100 at F5/550 mm focal length will do the job along with my Canon Aps-c

 

Now my Canon is H-Alpha modified.....i would imagine that would be ideal for this no?

 

and filter?.......i would assume the filter goes over the outside of the objective and not between the scope and the camera?

That seems to me like it would be an ideal combination. I don't know how much benefit you will receive using an Ha modded camera, as I have never used one for an eclipse, but it shouldn't hurt, and may allow you to pick up additional detail in the prominences during totality. I have a 60D that is Ha modded, and am considering adding that with my 400mm f/5.6 for that reason, but for me the 7 bracketed images and 10fps is more important than the Ha mod (both 7DIIs are stock) so my main OTAs (500mm f/4 and A-P Traveler) will have 7DIIs on them. And yes, the filter has to go on the front (think burning things with a magnifying glass) to avoid heat damage. One thing that you will need to work out for the best result is daytime polar alignment and how to set the tracking speed on your mount for the Sun, not typical sidereal used at night. The app Polar Scope Align Pro has an option that will tell you the bearing and tilt of a surface, and you can use that to do a daytime polar alignment, but you may need to cut a piece of plywood (1/4" should work well) to place in the mount's saddle before you put your scope on to offset your phone away so the metal doesn't affect the compass. I would also recommend either having someone with you whose sole job is to keep you on track and remind you to remove the solar filter (people have been known to forget in the excitement), or get the app Solar Eclipse Timer, which will give you verbal reminders and warnings about what is coming up and to remove and replace filters.

 

This is available now and they're a few blocks from me

 

https://www.bhphotov...lar_filter.html

 

Will this get the job done?

That looks like it should work fine. I've never heard of that name brand, and they don't list the certifications it meets, but I buy most of my equipment form B&H (it would be dangerous for me to be that close to them...) and I can usually count on the things they sell being quality. You mainly want something that will protect your camera and sensor, be on securely, yet be easy to remove without affecting the focus or aim of the telescope. Make sure that it is not too tight. They also don't say what film is used, so I don't know what results you can expect with a camera; some are better than others.

 

Paul
 


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#8 mayhem13

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 03:03 PM

Your 102mm refractor is good for outer corona, but I recommend you find a flattener or flattener/reducer. You will be happier with a full frame camera. If on a budget, look into used older full frame DSLRs.

Either of your big tracking scopes would work for prominences, the one with shorter focal length is better for inner corona. Look into a flattener.

You will want solar filters for any photographic scope and I recommend filters for finder scopes too. The least expensive and IMHO best solution is to make your own from Baader AstroSolar film, 5.0 for finders and either 3.8 or 5.0 for the main scope. Note that 3.8 will give the best results for photography, but it is NOT safe for visual use.

I have sheet metal skills so I make my own cells, but it is perfectly fine to make cells from cardboard. They are just less durable.

Unfortunately, Baader hasn’t had an Astrosolar production run so 50cm x 100cm AS is not available. A4 size can be found, but that wouldn’t cover your larger apertures fully. Prefab filters, especially the lower performance glass filters get very pricey.

You will need solar filters for centering and focusing prior to totality.

Joe

Thanks Joe. i have a FF mirrorless i can use but it's not Ha modded.....i thought the removal of the Ha filter might allow more detail and color. I should probably start a separate thread on that



#9 geovermont

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 10:00 AM

I''m no expert on the photography aspects, but I will mention that the 2017 event was my first total solar eclipse and I am very glad that I was not too distracted by technology during the event. It really is a visceral and awesome thing to experience. You might consider just watching it all happen and skip the photo stuff for this one. Those precious seconds pass so fast that it would be really rotten to be caught up in the tunnel vision of getting the blasted camera to work and to miss out. At least for a first eclipse.


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#10 gdi

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 10:43 AM

I''m no expert on the photography aspects, but I will mention that the 2017 event was my first total solar eclipse and I am very glad that I was not too distracted by technology during the event. It really is a visceral and awesome thing to experience. You might consider just watching it all happen and skip the photo stuff for this one. Those precious seconds pass so fast that it would be really rotten to be caught up in the tunnel vision of getting the blasted camera to work and to miss out. At least for a first eclipse.

That would be my advice too,  in 2017 I took a Lunt 50 for visual along with eclipse glasses and a couple off pairs of Celestron eclipse binoculars to share with friends.  I set up the Lunt and everyone enjoyed the spectacular  show until about 10 minutes before totality. Then it was glasses only until the time to take them off and enjoy the amazing view.  


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