This is the fifth in my Astrophotography series of articles. The first 4 were pretty much discovery and first use articles. This article is a bit more in depth. I will be using the most recent lunar eclipse of November 8, 2003. The night, for the most part, was cloudy during the eclipse. I was, however, able to get some decent shots during the beginning of the eclipse and the clouds parted for about 15 seconds during the totality phase which allowed me about 15 seconds to snap off 2 shots. The following is a list of the equipment used for the moon photographs:
- Canon PowerShot G3 4 MP Digital Camera
- Celestron Nexstar 8i 8" Telescope (Photo 1)
- Celestron 9.25 inch Telescope (Photo 2)
- ScopeTronix MaxView 40 Eyepiece (40mm)
- ScopeTronix Digi-T Adapter Ring for Canon G3
A little bit about calculating the "power" of the telescope and camera. Basically you take the focal length of the telescope (2032mm) and divide the focal length of the eyepiece (40mm) for a value of 51x. This does not sound like a lot, but the difference is noticeable when you double it with the camera zoom of 2x for a total of 102x. That is how I shot the eclipse images. I used 2 telescopes because the evening was not the best. There were a lot of clouds and I had already put up my telescope (the 8 inch) and one of my friends had let his out a bit longer so I stuck my camera/eyepiece in his and took the final shots.
One of the other somewhat unforeseen benefits to having the camera hooked up to the scope was the ease of viewing for others. With the LCD on, people could see through the scope without any eye contortions. It offered a great viewing platform for the kids around, who normally have trouble looking through the eyepiece. Plus, it allowed me to zoom in and out showing more detail than you can without switching eyepieces. Also, I used the camera's remote control to take the pictures and to do the zooming. It worked out really well.
On top of the viewing ease, it is also possible to hook the G3 up to the laptop and control the camera remotely. Soon, I will be helping out, with a few other fellow amateur astronomers, a Girl Scout troup achieve their merit badges in Astronomy. I plan on utilizing the Telescope/Camera/Laptop setup to make it easier for the girls to see the moon. Yes, the moon will be my area for the evening. It will still be mostly full. Later, when the moon is a bit lower, and Saturn comes up, it will be a great tool for viewing and shooting pictures of "ringed" planet.
As I said earlier, this is the fifth of the Astrophotography series articles. It was meant to be more of a setup and shoot article showing nice, successful results. I hope it helps some of you see different ways of combining 2 great, fun hobbies. Enjoy.
My Outdoor Eyes Photography Blog|
Red-Winged Blackbird At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
You can always hear the distinct “Cu-ca-ree” call of the Red-Winged Blackbird as you hike around Fort Hill. They are everywhere and so pretty. This guy was high in the Eastern Cedar tree along Nauset Marsh just singing away. Love his coloring… so bright and vibrant!
Pretty Purple Ground Ivy Along The Trails At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
Ground Ivy is part of the mint family and grows to about 6″ tall with 3/4″ blue-violet flowers which are tubular. They grow from April to June and you can see them all along the trails at Fort Hill in Eastham.
Belted Kingfisher At Goose Pond At The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary On Cape Cod
I love the cackling sound of the Kingfisher as he flies about. This Kingfisher landed high in the tree by Goose Pond looking for lunch below. I loved how he looks like a silhouette high in the tree. Love those feathers! What do you think?