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Astromedia - Some questions
spacegalaxy posted a topic in DIY AstronomerI have stumbled upon a very interesting site, upon seeing their products I searched them on SGL, and they seems to have a good reputation, even FLO sells it! I am interested on many of there products, some will be asked in a other thread, so here are some of those questions: 1. Can I see details on the sun with this kit, if not can I see a solar eclipse safely without solar filter? (Link: https://astromedia.de/Der-Sonnen-Projektor) 2. Is this a good, useable telescope? I am going to observe widefield stuff with this! (Link: https://astromedia.de/Das-Newton-Spiegelteleskop) 3. This is a really stupid question, but can I project a bright space object (Such as star clusters) to a screen with this kit? (Link: https://astromedia.de/Das-Kleine-Galileo-Teleskop) 4. Can I create a eyepiece with these lens (specifically plossl's) Link: https://www.astromediashop.co.uk/Components.html, Look at the acrylic glass section) Other questions will be asked in a other thread, thanks for reading! Clear skies!
Solar Eclipse,21 June 2020
Rhushikesh-Canisminor posted a topic in Observing - SolarHello! I have been really inactive here, so apologies. Here are a few images of the Solar Eclipse, happened on 21 June 2020. It was annular, but partial from Mumbai region (around 60% covered). Maximum phase of the eclipse was at around 11:30 a.m. IST. This is actually onset of our 4-5 months of monsoon season, so getting decent skies was a tough part. Luckily got decent cleared patches here and there with occasional rains. I had to use whatever I had to make a comfortable view of the eclipse, thanks to the lockdown. I simply took a box, made a whole of the size of the eyepiece on one end, cut the opposite side and attached a paper. I had to do little bit here and there attachments for perfect angle. But was really happy with the results. One of the best experience was when I was seeing the Sun while it was drizzling at the same time. Thanks! -Rhushikesh Deshpande.
My objectives on getting a new Skymax 127 were purely visual observing having parked imaging for a far-off time when I have time on my hands but, on taking delivery of a Baader Hyperion 8-24mm Zoom and fixed Hyperion 24mm 68 degree, I noticed a photo on the box and was intrigued.. My DSLR hardly gets an outing these days with an iPhone camera always on hand but I thought it has to be worth a go so I ordered a Baader M43-T2 thread ring and a Nikon T ring to connect it all together, perhaps this could be quick and dirty way of getting into basic imaging at low cost. It all connects incredibly simply in seconds and although I'm only using the supplied SW plastic-bodied diagonal feels nice and secure when its on the 'scope. It makes quite a chunky load on the little AZ GTi mount but with the Vixen bar at its extreme balance point the mount performs fine at what I reckon is the very top end of its published 5KG payload. Initially I just wanted to establish if there's a decently bright and focusable image that makes it to the CCD & given the absence of stars due to current weather and this being a bit of an operation to put together, a daylight test seemed a good idea. I have a very handy church spire about 500m away (about the maximum possible distance from a church in Winchester) and poking it all out of an upper storey window in failing light on an extremely windy Saturday I captured the orb below on a 2.5 s exposure - (distance view included for scale, the spire is centre frame partially in the trees). Verdict: focussing is tricky, as you can see, but on the Skymax 127 there's definitely plenty of leeway either side with the focuser which answered my initial exam question, it just takes some focus to focus! I've ordered the Baader heavy duty quick release system pictured on the box which should make this much safer and more practical in the dark and cold, although it does make this not quite the bargain-basement option it is with just the 2 rings. Given the light & time limitations of the test Id say its definitely worth trying on nighttime targets, if the clouds ever clear... Will post any results up here but this looks like a really promising way of resurrecting a Nikon D90 that has been on the dole for a while (it shoots RAW video too!) Any hints, tips or suitable targets appreciated!
Project Write-up: DIY Sunspotter
orfest posted a topic in DIY Astronomer[A few more photos are in the imgur album] Made this telescope for observing sunspots. The Sun gets projected onto a piece of paper after bouncing from 3 mirrors inside the frame. It's compact, light, takes only a few seconds to point at the Sun, and sketching sunspots is as easy as circling the spots on a piece of paper. It can even project the Moon: The design is inspired by a commerically available telescope, but I’ve done all the designing myself, just for the fun of it. Sunspotter is full of little details that make it interesting. How do you fix the eyepiece in the exact place where it needs to be? How do you keep the lens in place and perfectly aligned? Building the telescope was a lot of fun, I’ve learned to use a jigsaw, X-Carve and a 3D printer. The plan is to use it to complete the Astroleague Sunspotter Observing Program, but unfortunately I completed it at the minimum of a Sun cycle, and won’t see any sunspots until next year. Telescope parameters: Magnification: 75x Size: 41cm x 41cm x 15cm Weight: 1kg Design: Keplerian Projection size: 75mm Materials needed: Lens: Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic doublet Mirrors: 1, 2, 3 Eyepiece: Baader 10mm ortho 1.5m² of 10mm plywood Wooden glue 5m of PLA filament 12 nails Compressed air Isopropyl alcohol Tools I used: Jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity X-Carve 1000 3D printer A laser pointer Clamp Learned modelling basics in: LibreCAD Easel TinkerCAD Fusion 360 Part 1: Choosing the lens The idea of a sunspotter is that the light goes through the lens, travels inside the telescope, bouncing from 3 mirrors, enters an eyepiece and the image gets projected on one of its sides. The distance the light travels before entering an eyepiece is the focal length and it determines the size of the telescope. I chose a Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic double. Observing the Sun doesn’t require a large aperture, 50mm is more than enough. I wanted a high magnification and went for the longest focal length I could find, which was 750mm. Achromatic doublet design is what people use in refractors. If it is good enough for a refractor, it’s definitely good enough for my project. With the focal length chosen I could design the wooden parts. A drawing showed that the frame needed to have sides 30cm long, but I wasn’t sure about the placement of the mirrors and went for 31cm sides, planning to shorten the light path as needed by adjusting mirror positions. This is the LibreCAD drawing of the layout of parts on a piece of plywood: Part 2: Building the base Having a drawing of the base in LibreCAD, I printed the drawing 1:1 scale on multiple A4 sheets of paper and glued them together. I transferred the drawing to a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Applied this cardboard template to the sheet of plywood, and cut out two parts with a jigsaw.. I’m not an experienced user of jigsaw, and couldn’t manage to cut half-circles accurately enough. Even worse was that the two parts were very different. I didn’t want the frame to randomly tilt left or right when adjusting its altitude, and had to spend a lot of time with sandpaper to make the halves as similar as I could. Glued the two large parts with three small parts in the middle. Additionally nailed the parts and the base was ready. Part 3: Frame The frame is simply a triangle made of three pieces, with short sides cut at a 30° angle. Most jigsaws can cut at 45°, but not at 30°. Had to buy a new jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity. Cut out three sides, cut short sides at a 30° angle, but didn’t put them together just yet. The lens needs to be perfectly aligned with the Sun-facing part of the frame, otherwise the Sun projection isn't circular but elongated. My solution was to carve a hole with a little step as shown on the image. The inner hole is Ø46.5mm, the outer hole is Ø50.8mm. The outer hole is the exact size to let the lens fit, but with a little bit of friction. Had to carve several holes to find the minimal size the lens could fit in. The step is just large enough to have enough surface for the glue to keep the lens in place, I didn't want to reduce the aperture too much. I used an X-Carve for carving and Easel for modelling. With all 3 sides ready, I could assemble the frame. It appeared that my 30° angle cuts were not very precise, but after some sandpapering the sides started fitting together alright. Glued the parts together and left them to dry for a day. To apply some pressure on the joints, I wound several twine loops around the frame really tight, made sure all sides fitted well together and left it to dry like that for a day. Part 4: Mirrors When selecting mirrors I was looking for the smallest mirror that fit the cone of light. Small mirrors are a lot easier to place, and they let me better control the length of the light path. I considered using elliptic mirrors, but they were bulky and really hard to place. All mirrors are first surface mirrors, otherwise planning their locations would be a lot more confusing. This was my original plan of placing the mirrors: As you can see, all the angles and distances were carefully measured, and I wanted to simply make mirror holders of those exact dimensions. This was clearly a bad idea. I 3d-printed some parts like this: And only later I realized that the frame angles are not exactly 60°, and that there are drops of glue along the edges that don’t let me fit the pieces deep enough in the joint between the sides. I cut angles from all the mirror holders: After I put the first mirror in place I realized the angles are all wrong, and that I needed to re-do the holder. Separating the mirror from the holder was a huge pain, which resulted in an accident. The mirror fell off the desk and got damaged. Luckily, only the back side got damaged, the front side was still working: The final designs of mirror holders looks like this: The holes in the front surface let me apply pressure on the back of the mirror if I ever want to separate it from the holder. The recesses collect the excess glue to avoid mirror skewing when gluing them. All other holes are simply to save the filament. Part 5: Placing mirrors What I learned is that you can’t plan positions of several pieces with high precision and just hope that it all comes together. I needed a feedback about the precision of mirror positions. I used a laser pointer to verify mirror positions at each step. In the picture you can see that the laser is firmly set in a hole in another piece of wood, with layers of isolation tape on the tip of the laser pointer to make it stable. A clamp holds the piece of wood in place, ensuring that the laser ray goes in the same direction as a solar ray would. A crosshair of black thread at the center of the lens ensures the laser goes exactly through the center of the lens. When placing each mirror, I marked the spot where I expected the laser to end up. While gluing the mirror holder to the frame, I kept the laser as close to that spot as possible. If for some reason, the laser couldn’t hit the expected spot, I did my best with placing the mirror, and recalculated locations of the following mirrors. I saw the first sunspots after placing all the mirrors and simply holding an eyepiece in hand. Part 6: Eyepiece holder I tried eyepieces of different focal length and liked the picture I got with a 10mm eyepiece the most. An eyepiece needs to be in a very exact spot to produce a sharp image. At this point it was obvious that my frame doesn’t match the model, and that I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong with the frame. I didn’t want to rely on the model and moved forward with trial-and-error. I printed several parts to hold the eyepiece, with different eyepiece locations: The part in the photo was a total disaster. It needed quite a lot of filament, at the same didn’t have enough surface area to be glued to the frame, and not enough surface area to hold the eyepiece firmly. The next iteration was a lot better: This part has a lot more surface area, and needs less filament to be printed. I intentionally printed the hole for the eyepiece too small, and had to sandpaper it a little bit, to make the eyepiece stay firmly fixed. Adjusting the focus is done by sliding the eyepiece up and down until the Sun becomes a circle with well defined borders. Part 7: Dust All optical parts should be kept clean. Dust on the mirrors and the lens will make the image darker. Dust on the eyepiece will show up as artifacts on the projected image. Unlike sunspots, the artifacts will not move with the Sun. To clean the eyepiece I used compressed air. To clean the mirrors I used isopropyl alcohol. Part 8: Fire safety Don’t leave devices with magnifying lenses lying around. Once the Sun happened to be in such a spot that its light went right through the lens, burning through the cap of the eyepiece. Luckily, nobody was hurt and no other damage was done. Part 9: Future work Build quality of the base is very poor. The frame tilts sideways when adjusting its altitude despite all my efforts. I’d like to build a new base, but leave all the work to the machines. I already have a model for an X-Carve to make both base parts, compatible with my current frame: A notch along the edge of the half-circle should eliminate the tilt. The precision of the machining should make the base very stable. Maybe next year, when sunspots become a common daily sight, I’ll get to this project. Thank you for reading this far! I hope you enjoyed it.
Solar projection - on a budget?
Phillips6549 posted a topic in Getting Started With ObservingWe have a fledgling Astronomical Society at my place of work and we're intending to have some telescopes available for colleagues to view the transit of Mercury in November. While the majority will use appropriate solar filters it would be good to have at least one set up for projection. However, we only have reflectors and Schmitt or Maksutov Cassegrain scopes among the members. I was considering buying a small refractor second hand to use for this but thought I'd ask for advice here first. Which is the best type of scope to use for projection? What do we need to look out for (overheating & fire risks for example)? What is the best umbrella to protect kit from the inevitable deluge on the 11th November? ☔ Thanks Mark
Solar Projection Screen
Teletom posted a topic in The Astro LoungeI've just finished making a projection screen for solar observation. What is the best material for the screen surface? Plain white paper/card has too many tiny specks that can be confused with sunspots. And is white preferable to black or vice versa? Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!
Solar projection: which way is up?
Teletom posted a topic in Getting Started With ObservingI was watching the Mercury transit yesterday and took a few drawings off the images projected by my Newtonian. I'd like to get the directions right on the drawings. Where do S and W lie? I thought I had it worked out but I'm not so sure. And where can I find an explanation of the optical processes involved in the reversing, flipping, etc of images in optical trains? Thanks!