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What went wrong and what went right?

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#1 Borodog

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 04:09 PM

What went wrong:

1) SharpCap Feature Tracking really is not ready for prime time. My understanding, straight from Robin himself, is that many, if not most, people cannot get a completed calibration. For me it came down to different rates on the RA axis. I have never had a single mount that returns similar rates on the RA axis. One is always snappy, the other is always slow. Regardless of balance. Frustrating, especially since I could not polar align ahead of time.

2) Focusing and getting on-band with the Lunt LST50Ha in the bright sunlight was difficult. Admittedly I did not have enough time to practice before due to work and weather. It will be close enough though.

3) Relatively thin cloud and variable transparency the entire event.

4) SSD heated up and my write to disk rate went into the toilet.

4) Totally forgot about the meridian limit, which struck 5 minutes before maximum. Got it flipped just in time.

5) pressure tuner may have drifted off band during the event. Not sure yet. Too bright to tell outside.

6) Clouds got VERY thick near the end of the event. Possibly too thick to align and stack.

7) Realized I have no idea how to shoot H alpha solar flats. In retrospect I need a translucent diffuser.

What went right:

1) I have recognizable images of the sun with the Moon in front of it, so:

Verdict: Tremendous success!

Edited by Borodog, 08 April 2024 - 04:09 PM.

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#2 Tim in GA

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 04:30 PM

I used Eclipse Orchestrator Pro software with my DSLR and it was off on the timing. Stupid me for not checking for updates when I just installed it a month ago. Something changed with the calculations and I missed getting a lot of the good shots. Oh well, something to remember for the next one.


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#3 wxcloud

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 04:40 PM

Ended up with newton rings.

Tried to image through thin clouds.

Trying to image instead of just looking.

Views in h-alpha (also LUNT ls50tha) double stack where amazing even though we didn't see totality here :)
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#4 Szumi

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:02 PM

Solar filter didn't fit.  I had to print an adapter.

 

Yesterday trying a dry run I realized I had no idea on how to aim the scope.  Printed a solar finder that worked.

 

Lost communications while setting up today.

 

Never focused on sun before.  Figured it out.

 

Kept having to refocus as the sun warmed my scope.  I was doing a refocus as I saw the edge of the moon.

 

Things went okay until the sun got behind some trees toward the end.  I should have set the mount out  a few more feet.

 

Oh well, I wasn't in the path of the totality and got some experience using a white light filter.

 

I had fun.


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#5 Bugwubber

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:33 PM

WHEW! My neighbor couldn't get his phone adapter to work with his telescope so he took his solar filter off the telescope And held it to his DSLR.....

(During partial) His wife started to look through his unfiltered scope as I was walking by!

I blurted out NO THE SCOPE IS UNFILTERED! Caught her just in time. So I guess that went right?

Edited by Bugwubber, 08 April 2024 - 05:34 PM.

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#6 kfiscus

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:37 PM

On the beach @ Mazatlan.

 

What went wrong:  Wife tripped and fell, hitting her head @ 90 minutes prior to C1.  She refused a trip to the hospital and if they'd made her go, she was going to wait until after totality and let me see totality, too.  Priorities.

(BTW, she's fine and just sore.  She's tickled that she got to see her 4th total.)

 

What went right:  Thin clouds enhanced the beauty and colors of totality.  Clouds thickened later.  Showed at least 30 different people the eclipse through my filtered 80mm Frankenscope.  This made the whole partial phase fly by.  It seemed like 15 minutes.

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#7 Rick Kapela

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:48 PM

Accidentally hit airplane mode on my laptop and lost communication with the mount just moments before totality. Managed to fix it just in time.

Sent from my SM-S911U using Tapatalk
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#8 kfiscus

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 06:02 PM

WHEW! My neighbor couldn't get his phone adapter to work with his telescope so he took his solar filter off the telescope And held it to his DSLR.....

(During partial) His wife started to look through his unfiltered scope as I was walking by!

I blurted out NO THE SCOPE IS UNFILTERED! Caught her just in time. So I guess that went right?

Save of the day!  Situational-Awareness Award winner.


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#9 quantumgiggles

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 06:23 PM

I had trouble taking my solar filter off the scope at T-5 seconds to C2 as it has a rather tight fit. Managed to take it off while I kept my eyes focused up at the corona, mouth agape. But then I realize I'd applied so much force that I knocked the scope off track. I took about a minute to realign the barrel of the scope with the eclipsed Sun since I had taken my finder scope off during the partial phase. In hindsight, I should've been prepared to reattach the finder scope slightly before totality so I could find the sun easily.

 

Still, a major success! Got it fully aligned and in beautiful view at the 2 min mark, allowing friends and family to peer through and also leaving enough time for imaging. And honestly, even while I fiddled around for the first 2 min with my hands, my eyes were GLUED UP because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean to actually be there, to actually experience it... I had never felt this way in my entire life. Images truly fail to capture the moment. It was a spectacular scene like no other.

 

Not to mention just how COOL the 2 minutes were leading up to it. Shadow bands, eerie day light. Tremendous!!

 

Well, I am an amateur astronomer turned umbraphile! Here's to many many more eclipses for all of us.

 

Screen Shot 2024-04-08 at 18.54.51.jpg


Edited by quantumgiggles, 08 April 2024 - 06:57 PM.

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#10 sbsbbugsy

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 06:30 PM

Went to my backup site in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The primary was in Concan, Texas. Drove about 90 miles this morning to a rest area just east of Glenwood, Arkansas since the cloud forecast there was significantly better.

 

I made the right decision! grin.gif Just some thin high clouds, the lower ones dried up as it cooled during the partial phase.

 

Forgot to start my 360 cam, but still got some video of the crowd.


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#11 GiffS

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 06:32 PM

Had a hard time with Feature Tracking too. Wasn’t a terrible problem but it did require that I tweak the mount once and a while. At totality it was hard to react because I was emotionally compromised. By and large I am happy with the results so far. I wish I had had the presence of mind to adjust the mount during totality but I just couldn’t do much more than click on capture. Still have a bunch of data to process but here are a few quick ones.

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#12 Borodog

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 07:12 PM

It looks like my guess of 40s for a capture length was much too long; there's obvious motion of the Moon relative to the sun between the start and the end of each capture. I'm guessing 10-15s would have been better, meaning I probably could have avoided cooking my SSD, kept up my write speeds, and not have my time lapse speed up as a result. Oops.



#13 GiffS

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 07:41 PM

It looks like my guess of 40s for a capture length was much too long; there's obvious motion of the Moon relative to the sun between the start and the end of each capture. I'm guessing 10-15s would have been better, meaning I probably could have avoided cooking my SSD, kept up my write speeds, and not have my time lapse speed up as a result. Oops.

Live and learn. Maybe next time….oh wait for me there is no next time. Too old.


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#14 kjkrum

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 07:55 PM

I watched with my family at Ouabache State Park in Indiana. Getting there was smooth. The day was beautiful. There was a thin veil of clouds at eclipse time but it wasn't obscured.

I intended to snap a couple photos of totality and then just watch. I ended up feeling rushed and distracted. I don't feel like I really took it all in. But can you really?
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#15 twinion

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:00 PM

Things that went wrong:

Forgot 360 cam in the hotel.

Cloud cover during the entire event.

One camera lost focus for a while (still not really sure what the deal was)

Unknown error on one camera that required some troubleshooting and full PC reboot. (thankfully it was 15min after C3)

Alignment still not great, but very salvageable.

Not enough sun screen.

Didn't remember to look at much other than the sun.

 

Things that went right:

Imaging mostly went according to plan.

Both cameras in focus most of the time.

Whole lot of images captured.

Remembered to look up during totality.

Remembered to look at horizon during totality.

Remembered to hug/kiss wife during totality.

Was able to share images with people pretty quickly.

 

For my first total eclipse, I think it was mostly successful. Seeing pics online, it seems that it really was cloudy for most people, so it's hard to complain too much. Quite an experience.

 

dsc8027.jpg


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#16 reveilleoio

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:40 PM

1st time posting here!

 

Wrong: 

could not really get into full focus. It was good, but could have been better for sure

clouds. lots of clouds...

tracking was decent, had to readjust a few times during event

 

Right:

my house was in totality so i never had to leave! (Tyler, Texas)

got to spend the whole event with my wife and kids

never took pictures of anything through my scope, so i was impressed at what I was able to accomplisg with ZERO experience!

Was able to look at totality while keeping my finger on the dslr shutter button (2sec delay)

was able to witness the silence of the animals, and the eerie feeling of partial darkness during the afternoon

also able to keep the NASA livestream up on the tv to experience many different angles of totality

 

My rig is pretty old (from 2007, celestron 9.25 SCT on an advanced GT mount, .63 reducer, canon 1000d dslr), but it help up surprisingly well


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#17 No N in collimation

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:44 PM

I had a steady stream of grateful onlookers 

 

 

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#18 sbsbbugsy

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:46 PM

I'm back at my base in Broken Bow, Oklahoma after viewing in Glenwood, Arkansas. A thunderstorm is moving through right now (8:45pm). Thankfully this weather held off for the Big Event.


Edited by sbsbbugsy, 08 April 2024 - 08:46 PM.

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#19 rigel123

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 08:52 PM

The only negative was some high clouds that didn’t affect the visual experience but corona shots won’t be as detailed as I was able to get in 2017.


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#20 Bubbagumps

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 09:02 PM

I had low expectations given the questionable forecast, so everything went well for me because I got to see totality. 

 

The only thing that surprised me was crowd reaction - or lack thereof. I went down the street to a park on the lake and there was a decent-sized crowd assembled.  Perhaps 300-400 people. Not crazy crowded but a good number of people had accumulated.

 

 Based on videos I had seen of other eclipses; I was expecting perhaps some ooohs and ahhs or perhaps a cheer or two. It was silent and very little reaction. When totality was over, everyone just kind of quickly filed out like exiting a theatre. It was actually a bit strange. 


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#21 joofcorn

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 09:18 PM

I guess I won't know all of what went well until I finally start organizing and processing the photos. Other than a quick flip through the camera screen to see some of the pictures when taking everything down.

First and foremost was almost completely clear skies. Otherwise what I do think went well, had my automated setup working mostly as intended and I could relax a bit more and enjoy the eclipse. I think in 2017 I only looked up for 10-20 seconds, this year I got to soak it in a little more. I got to actually chase my kids around and play with them a bit through the event without needing to worry too much about the imaging setup. Had another telescope for viewing that I let others use at their pleasure, so that was good to share.

Not so well, got to our site later than I wanted and didn't get everything setup and running until 10 minutes before C1. Was really racing the clock for a bit. Related to that is I didn't double check and adjust my clocks and GPS to the location. I was able to correct this during partial phases though with no harm done. Last minor hiccup was almost forgetting up pull filters off, so 1-2 pictures of diamond Ring are blurry, but there's plenty more to spare.

All the the negatives were seemingly non issues, just little bits of the experience. Practicing all this thought the last couple weeks and all day Friday helped me sort out gremlins, and reduce some of my ambition.
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#22 amalmirando

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 09:18 PM

Had zero preparation before the eclipse and  brought in my 8SE to work place. Set it up and  managed to get moon tracking by around 2.30 PM. Thought I nailed it until my images went blank during totality.  Panicked and started turning up ISO and exposure time and realized a few minutes later that I forgot to take the solar filter off !

Witnessing  it live was one of the most amazing experiences I will cherish for a long time. Now I understand why people spend so much money and time on traveling to catch a glimpse of a total eclipse.


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#23 cheekypoo

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 09:30 PM

Bad:

 

Focal reducer was too far away from my camera's sensor and caused a vignette in the middle of the solar disk. The scope was purely for visual outreach on a monitor so I just up'd the exposure to get rid of that weird artifact. But that meant no sun spots and way over exposed frown.gif

 

Laptop battery died so had to switch to eyepiece. Then switched back to laptop later. The constant switching made it hard for me to get any good time lapse images. 

 

Ran out of solar glasses for everyone at my club's event. 

 

The UV rays didn't damage my eyes but they definitely damaged my skin!

 

Good:

 

Engaged a lot of people. Most people had eclipse glasses. Got some good sun spots when I took off the focal reducer.

 

Every time I take out the scope, I learn something new!  


Edited by cheekypoo, 08 April 2024 - 09:33 PM.

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#24 afd33

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 10:12 PM

What a day. I left at 5 this morning, got back at 9 tonight. Made it to where my Plan A was about 15 minutes before totality, stayed for about a half hour after. 15 hours of driving with just me and an audiobook. I was stressing getting down there. I should have left an hour earlier. Hit traffic in both Milwaukee and Chicago, then again well south of Chicago. I got stuck at a light for, no joke, 30 minutes because everybody was turning left. Had to be a bit aggressive because people kept cutting in line. The ride back was soothing though. No more rushing, but still a lot of traffic. Overall I'm glad I didn't spend $$$$ on a hotel room though.


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#25 Lentini

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 10:25 PM

Setup and stopped working at around noon. Great weather.

 

Sat outside, enjoying a beverage, testing camera setup, and browsing until it started.

 

Had a Tak FC-100DC on tracking EM-1S mount for visual, Canon 15x50 IS binos, and a Canon M5 for pics… all filtered and ready to go. 
 

Shared telescope views with several neighbors.

 

Pics turned out good. Views were great. Would have liked to get to totality, but this was all in my driveway… easy and low stress.


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