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Posts Made By: Robert Howe

November 7, 2004 10:45 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Jupiter Occultation November 9

Posted By Robert Howe

Hey folks

Jupiter is occulted during daytime by the moon on November 9, east coast, roughly from 11 am -12 noon. So today I have been practicing observing Jupiter in daytime, having set up my G11 last night. I put a 5 inch f/6 apo and a 5 inch f/10 Mak Cass on it and found the gas giant at 0500. Tracking Jupiter with the G11 allowed me to observe until 1 pm today, when the planet was lost in the trees to my west.

Thinking this through, potential problems are losing Jupiter during the meridian realignment (I went for the moon instead during this process and it worked fine), having a solar burn due to a mount failure (keep the cap on when not observing) and of course clouds (pray).

The sky being so bright, anything to reduce stray light will help see the planet. With this in mind, what telescope would make the most sense here? In my practice session today, the refractor did better than the mak-cass. Jupiter showed a very very dim image today, with little surface brightness--Venus was quite the fireball, however.

I'm thinking that a slow refractor with a big aperture would be the scope to use on the G11; I am contemplating using a 6 inch f/9 and extending the dew shield a couple of feet with heavy paper, thus making the blue sky as small as possible...

Similarly, a simply designed narrow FOV EP worked better in my trials today, ie a TMB supermono rather than a Nagler...the additional FOV only gets in the way (although it might be nice to have with the moon's limb in view).

Any suggestions or errors in my logic will be appreciated.

Robert Howe

March 13, 2005 11:17 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Annular Eclipse of October 2005

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am hoping to travel to the annular eclipse of October 3 and to record it, but I have not yet gotten at all into astrophotography. It seems to me that in an annular eclipse, there would be two iterations of Bailey's Beads, at the equivalents of second and third contact. Direct observation or a direct shot of these would be dangerous because of light coming from the contrary limb of the sun. Can we devise a way to place a mask over half of the solar image?

With this mask over the left limb of the sun, I could start a digital video camera going just as the equivalent of second contact is made, thus permitting a video record of the beads, and turn it off as the moon's disc slips inside the sun's. If I could then flip the mask around, I could repeat the process at the equivalent of third contact.

I presume this mask would have to be at the focal point. Would this not expose the telescope to excess light and heat? Would small amounts of stray unfiltered sunlight destroy the video camera or the telescope?

Can anyone guide me in this process? I have a lovely TeleVue 85 refractor to bring along but would be willing to buy a shorter, wider angle, cheaper telescope to use for this project.

I also intend to put a video camera on a Coronado PST and to record the whole event in H-alpha.

Robert Howe
WIlbraham MA


March 13, 2005 11:20 AM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

October 3 Annular eclipse

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am hoping to travel to the annular eclipse of October 3 and to record it, but I have not yet gotten at all into astrophotography. It seems to me that in an annular eclipse, there would be two iterations of Bailey's Beads, at the equivalents of second and third contact. Direct observation or a direct shot of these would be dangerous because of light coming from the contrary limb of the sun. Can we devise a way to place a mask over half of the solar image?

With this mask over the left limb of the sun, I could start a digital video camera going just as the equivalent of second contact is made, thus permitting a video record of the beads, and turn it off as the moon's disc slips inside the sun's. If I could then flip the mask around, I could repeat the process at the equivalent of third contact.

I presume this mask would have to be at the focal point. Would this not expose the telescope to excess light and heat? Would small amounts of stray unfiltered sunlight destroy the video camera or the telescope?

Can anyone guide me in this process? I have a lovely TeleVue 85 refractor to bring along but would be willing to buy a shorter, wider angle, cheaper telescope to use for this project.

I also intend to put a video camera on a Coronado PST and to record the whole event in H-alpha.

Robert Howe
WIlbraham MA

March 26, 2005 05:59 AM Forum: Mounts

Eclipse-chaser's mount

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am looking for suggestions for a tracking mount to take to solar eclipses in Madrid (annular) and Egypt (total) in the next year. At home I have a TV Gibraltar which I usually travel with, using a TV85 refractor; and a G11 for using larger telescopes. Has anyone used the Vixen mounts for this purpose, how portable are they?

I want a tracking mount so that I can just set up the camera or VCR, point the telescope at the sun just before first contact, and not have to worry about it for the next hour (except to take off the solar filter at second contact). Idally, I would use both my TV 85 and a Coronado 60 for hydrogen-alpha viewing, but this may be too much to put on one portable mount.

Also, given that Egypt is farther south than I usually get, I may bring a larger telescope, perhaps a Traveller or an Intes 503, and spend a couple of nights observing.

Many thanks

Robert Howe

July 25, 2005 08:23 AM Forum: Politics

March 2006 Eclipse

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am registered to join Travel Quest International (tq-international.com) for a 7 day eclipse tour in Egypt, March 2006. Things are looking a little hazardous in that part of the world right now, especially worrisome to me is that this eclipse is a predictable event that will lure large numbers of foreigners into a very small part of Egypt and thus may be especially inviting to terrorists.

I live a quiet widower's life with four children, my sons are 20 and 16, my girls 11 and 4. The present excursion is a Very Big Deal for us. We are using some of my late wife's legacy and I will be selling a couple of fine AP refractors (after Mars is gone for the summer, mind you) to finance this trip.

I took my sons, then 10 and 14, to see the eclipse in France in 1999, it was unbelievable but only a minute and a half. My older son is not coming on the Egypt trip as he is in college.

Any thoughts on safety, on whether I should go or not with my then-to-be 12 and 17 year old, (the older of whom wants to go despite the recent slaughter, the younger of whom never wanted to go), on how we can minimize risks? Would you go on EgyptAir direct from New York or AirFrance through Paris? How much pleasure does a 4 and a half minute eclipse carry relative to months of worry and the concerns of family back home?

All insights will be appreciated. I am posting this to several fora, perhaps the Current Events (comets and eclipses etc) forum would make a good place for everyone's replies.

Ciao

Robert Howe

July 25, 2005 08:24 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Egyptian Eclipse Safety

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am registered to join Travel Quest International (tq-international.com) for a 7 day eclipse tour in Egypt, March 2006. Things are looking a little hazardous in that part of the world right now, especially worrisome to me is that this eclipse is a predictable event that will lure large numbers of foreigners into a very small part of Egypt and thus may be especially inviting to terrorists.

I live a quiet widower's life with four children, my sons are 20 and 16, my girls 11 and 4. The present excursion is a Very Big Deal for us. We are using some of my late wife's legacy and I will be selling a couple of fine AP refractors (after Mars is gone for the summer, mind you) to finance this trip.

I took my sons, then 10 and 14, to see the eclipse in France in 1999, it was unbelievable but only a minute and a half. My older son is not coming on the Egypt trip as he is in college.

Any thoughts on safety, on whether I should go or not with my then-to-be 12 and 17 year old, (the older of whom wants to go despite the recent slaughter, the younger of whom never wanted to go), on how we can minimize risks? Would you go on EgyptAir direct from New York or AirFrance through Paris? How much pleasure does a 4 and a half minute eclipse carry relative to months of worry and the concerns of family back home?

All insights will be appreciated. I am posting this to several fora, perhaps the Current Events (comets and eclipses etc) forum would make a good place for everyone's replies.

Ciao

Robert Howe

July 25, 2005 08:25 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Egyptian Elipse Matters

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi all

I am registered to join Travel Quest International (tq-international.com) for a 7 day eclipse tour in Egypt, March 2006. Things are looking a little hazardous in that part of the world right now, especially worrisome to me is that this eclipse is a predictable event that will lure large numbers of foreigners into a very small part of Egypt and thus may be especially inviting to terrorists.

I live a quiet widower's life with four children, my sons are 20 and 16, my girls 11 and 4. The present excursion is a Very Big Deal for us. We are using some of my late wife's legacy and I will be selling a couple of fine AP refractors (after Mars is gone for the summer, mind you) to finance this trip.

I took my sons, then 10 and 14, to see the eclipse in France in 1999, it was unbelievable but only a minute and a half. My older son is not coming on the Egypt trip as he is in college.

Any thoughts on safety, on whether I should go or not with my then-to-be 12 and 17 year old, (the older of whom wants to go despite the recent slaughter, the younger of whom never wanted to go), on how we can minimize risks? Would you go on EgyptAir direct from New York or AirFrance through Paris? How much pleasure does a 4 and a half minute eclipse carry relative to months of worry and the concerns of family back home?

All insights will be appreciated. I am posting this to several fora, perhaps the Current Events (comets and eclipses etc) forum would make a good place for everyone's replies.

Ciao

Robert Howe

August 21, 2005 04:27 AM Forum: After Dark

Annular Eclipse Photography

Posted By Robert Howe

After dark comes light...an in October, an annular eclipse, which I hope to view from the roof of the Hotel Colon in Madrid (they have agreed, but will the weather cooperate?).

Did anyone out there view the annular eclipse in Central America recently, and can any of you give me advice on photographing an annular? I will have available a SolarMax 60 and a TV 85, either of which I could outfit with a video cam or I could buy a web cam or whatever...

Robert Howe
Wilbraham MA
arehow@verizon.net

August 21, 2005 04:34 AM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

Annular Eclipse Photography

Posted By Robert Howe

After dark comes light...and in October, an annular eclipse, which I hope to view from the roof of the Hotel Colon in Madrid (they have agreed, but will the weather cooperate?).

Did anyone out there view the annular eclipse in Central America recently, and can any of you give me advice on photographing an annular? I will have available a SolarMax 60 and a TV 85, either of which I could outfit with a video cam or I could buy a web cam or whatever...

Robert Howe
Wilbraham MA
arehow@verizon.net

September 18, 2005 12:23 PM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

Solar Photography Failure

Posted By Robert Howe

Hi guys,

Here is one of my first attempts at digital solar photography, I'm not happy with the degree of contrast nor with the resolution. This was taken last Wednesday with a Canon A85 (4 M Pixel) shooting through a Cemax 18 held by a Scopetronix DigiT system, on a Coronado MaxScope 60, double etalons. The image (prior to adding the camera) was perfectly focussed and the surface of the sun was very detailed. Focussed at infinity, 2 second shutter delay, on a fixed mount.

I'm having even trouble also with nocturnal photos of the moon, which I have posted on the DSLR forum.

All of this is preparatory to taking photos of the annular eclipse next month, I would like to present the sun with some surface and limb detail and the center obliterated by the moon.

Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Robert Howe