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Desperately need help!

Eclipse Celestron
19 replies to this topic

#1 Kfain123


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:07 AM



I am desperate to be prepared for the upcoming eclipse and I have SOOOO many questions.


I have the following:


Celestron Nextar 4 Se (I know how to find the moon, but I'm not an expert on how to use all its features)


A Celestron filter kit (see photo)  I bought this to increase my knowledge and enjoy more from my Celestron, but I get overwhelmed and can't follow all the mounds of information out there on how to use it.


A Canon EOS 7D digital camera (I'm really good at photo composition, but again, I'm not super skilled on how to use all the features) *I do have the USB 3.0 Data Sync Cable Cord for the camera


HP Laptop


Here is what I need help with!!


Can someone tell me the exact item(s) I need to purchase to experience the eclipse to its fullest??!!


We are planning to go to an area of the longest period of totality and I'd like to connect my Celestron to my camera and possibly to my laptop so others can see the magnificence!  


I have 50 pairs of eclipse glasses and what you see in the attached photos.


Links, details and any other help would be greatly appreciated!!



Eclipse fanatic in Kentucky



Attached Thumbnails

  • Picture3.jpg

#2 mich_al



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:21 AM

The total eclipse is a very short often once in a lifetime event.  Don't waste the experience fiddling with equipment, ESPECIALLY if you are just coming up to speed with that equipment.

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#3 edsmx5



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:36 AM

Your two ( protected ) eyes are all you really need.
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#4 slepage


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:54 AM

I completely agree with the two post above.  Missing the awe inspiring experience of the event, because you were fiddling with equipment is just not worth it.   If you want to capture the event, then you need to figure out the simplest least time consuming way of doing it.  For me and what I did during the 2017 total eclipse was to set up my Canon full frame with a 150 to 600mm lens with a solar filter mounted on a good tripod and practiced like crazy to capture the sun before the event.  This way there was minimal effort required and I was able to fully enjoy the event and come home with great images.  This was my reward, but was only possible with having everything planned out including all my exposure times and a full plan on how I was going to do it.  I then got to the point where I could fully concentrate on the experience and never even had to look at my camera other then going through the motion of changing the exposure time.  Leave long focal lengths, complex mounts,  and labor intensive equipment at home.  They are not needed.  Best of luck, I'll be there too.



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#5 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:05 AM

Agree 100% with above recommendations as well.  We used the small (Celestron?) folding solar viewers, and then some regular binocs with solar film taped over the objectives.  And I also set up my videocamera (with a very long telephoto lens) with solar film as well.


During totality (ONLY!), remove the film to see the real beauty of the event.  And practice your rig a bunch beforehand.




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#6 JohnBear



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:28 AM

Unless you can gain "years of experience in solar photography" between now and the eclipse just KISS!  There will be many, many excellent pictures that professionals and amateurs will take available for free after the event, but Only You can actually See the eclipse in real time!  If you miss that, then everything will be waste of your time and effort. 



First and foremost, just make sure you will be viewing from a location that has clear skies at the time.  Once in a lifetime eclipses covered by clouds can be a real buzzkill!  When you are actually watching the eclipse, concentrate on the details periodically to really focus on and memorize what you are seeing because you 'biological visual memory storage system' will continue to reward you with those memories years and decades later - far better than a photograph.

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#7 bobzeq25



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:33 AM

Help.  Serious help from someone who's been there, done that.  Picture below.


The last eclipse was my first one.  I had good photo equipment (and, crucially, experience, this is a lot harder to do than you think), and I intended to photograph the eclipse.  At the point of totality I had problems.


But, I was prepared for that, had a plan.  I immediately stopped photographing and just watched.  That picture was my last one.


Do not let photography get in the way of observing the eclipse.  You have very little time to get the knowledge and the equipment together, and get some experience using it (an absolute necessity).  It probably would be a good idea to forget all about it.  But, whatever you do, do not let photography get in your way.


_Many_ people have ruined their total eclipse experience that way.  It looks a lot easier than it is.  There is NO possibility that anyone can tell you enough about how to do it in a post here.



Edited by bobzeq25, 25 February 2024 - 11:40 AM.

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#8 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:59 AM

Yes, I'm gonna re-emphasize the need for prior experience if youre gonna do video or photos. I've had decades of experience with my photo and video equipment, so I knew how to handle tricky things like exposure, motion, etc.

And I will say that the most memorable thing for me was to view it live thru binoculars. It is really beautiful to see that way. But remember, remove solar film ONLY during totality, which lasts around a minute or so.
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#9 kathyastro


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 12:05 PM

You've got solar glasses.  Good.  That and a lawn chair are all you really need.


Forget the scope.  Since you don't have experience using it with a camera, trying to do so will cost you your view of the eclipse.  You are guaranteed to have technical hassles.  Even astrophotographers with lots of experience using their equipment can have technical problems.


Also, the scope will be useless without a proper solar filter.  That filter kit you have will be no use, and any "solar filter" it might contain will be dangerous and should not be used.  At this late date, getting a proper solar filter for your scope could be difficult.


Binoculars can help enhance the eclipse experience, but *only* if you have a pair of solar filters for them.


This will be my first total eclipse.  I am bringing my portable scope and a camera, but I am not intending to take photos of totality.  Since it will be my first and last total eclipse, I plan to watch it from my lawn chair through my eclipse glasses.  If I need photos of totality, I'll get them from my friends.

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#10 rgk901



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 12:07 PM

a total eclipse isn't just about a dark disk coming in front of a brighter disk on some photos, the experience is all around you, the eerie darkness, the sudden cooling, the way the amimals react.. just the entire environment changes for these fleeting moments and that experience I'd not want to miss.

So, as mentioned, get something running that is easy and out of your way than enjoy the totality of the experience.

Edited by rgk901, 25 February 2024 - 12:08 PM.

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#11 Keith Rivich

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 12:18 PM

I would get a dedicated camera for this if you are looking to share the video. A nice one-shot color "planet" imaging video camera would work. Put a quality solar filter over the front of the scope during the partial phases and you are good to go. 


During totality you can remove the filter and capture your images for later processing. 

#12 bobzeq25



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Posted 25 February 2024 - 12:19 PM

One more IMPORTANT thing.  Pointing a telescope at the Sun is very dangerous.  The scope concentrates the light and that concentrated light can make you permanently blind in a fraction of a second.


You need to do a lot more research before trying this.

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#13 Echolight


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 02:28 PM

I'm sure it'll be on youtube.

#14 nicknacknock


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 02:30 PM

I'll move this to the Total Solar Eclipse Forum :)

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#15 geovermont


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 05:18 PM

Just watch it. Seriously.

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#16 sbsbbugsy


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 06:06 PM

The above advice is good, however, if you insist on photographing the eclipse:


Do you have an adapter to connect the 7D to the scope?


Get an APPROVED solar filter that also blocks UV and IR for the FRONT of the scope. DO NOT use a filter that attaches to the camera. DO NOT use an ND only filter. Make sure the wind will not blow your filter off.


Make sure you know how to set the scope up to track the sun.


Polar align your scope the night before.


Use Eclipse Orchestrator  or SETnC to control your camera. Get a GPS antenna or dongle that connects to the laptop so these programs have the EXACT time.


Have a reliable source of power (batteries or adapters).


PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. Get used to sharpening your focus as much as possible (use sunspots to check how well you are focusing). The more comfortable you are with your setup, the less chance of you making a mistake. During practice DO NOT remove the solar filter when the program tells you too. You could destroy your camera.



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#17 Echolight


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Posted 25 February 2024 - 06:45 PM

I'd just find a solar filter for your camera lens and attach a dovetail to fit your mount to the bottom of the camera. 

Forget the scope. It's field of view will probably be too small to fit the prominence anyway.

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#18 Kfain123


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Posted 26 February 2024 - 08:35 AM

Thank you all!!  

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#19 Cajundaddy



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Posted 27 February 2024 - 11:29 AM

Eclipse glasses, binos with solar filters, lawn chair, hat, water, and sunscreen.  Any gear that you are uncomfortable using or have not rehearsed with at least a dozen sessions with excellent results stays home.  You will thank us later.

Edited by Cajundaddy, 27 February 2024 - 05:09 PM.

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#20 BOSS3128


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Posted 27 February 2024 - 07:01 PM

I would just like to echo what others have said.  Do not worry about taking pictures, just enjoy the experience.  2017 was my first eclipse, and I took pictures, I will not make that mistake for this eclipse.


Obviously first and foremost is to have the appropriate solar filter for the front of the scope.  Also, leave the finderscope at home.  Just as the objective of your telescope needs to have a solar filter to protect your eyesight, so would the objective of your finderscope.  There are many ways to make a solar finder, or look online for something similar to this.


My homemade finder works well, plus you get the benefit of getting to eat some chips as well!!


Even if not taking pictures, practice, practice, practice.  Decide on your routine as you go from partial phase to totality.  Mine goes something like this:


  1. Just before totality set my Baader zoom to 24 mm and focus.
  2. When totality begins, remove the solar filter.
  3. After a minute or so, Replace Baader zoom with ES 28/68. Determine beforehand what the focuser needs to be set at.
  4. 1 minute before totality ends, just look up and enjoy with the naked eye.

Make a list of all that you will need to take with you.  Like I said practice, and make your list from your practice sessions.  Unlike observing in your back yard, you cannot run back into the house to get the thing you missed on your first trip out!!

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Edited by BOSS3128, 27 February 2024 - 07:31 PM.

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