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Stu

Crescent Moon - 26th April 2020

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After observing the sun during the day, I decided to continue using the Tak last night to view the Moon and Venus during their conjunction. I used three eyepieces, 24mm Panoptic for widefield, Leica Zoom for mid range and the Nag Zoom for high power.

Starting at low power, the Moon looked stunning with bright earthshine, hanging there against the deep blue sky. There was a star visible, identified later as 105 Tauri, and as time went by quite a few others because visible which added to the overall view very nicely.

I did immediately notice the difference between observing through my little Telementor and the TAL Alkor vs the Tak (as you would hope!); the sharpness and depth to the blacks in the craters and sheer detail was gorgeous even at low power. The Tak is in my Vixen GP and whilst it is a little gemmed in, it does allow me to view the sun through most of the day, and likewise with the Moon and Venus. I don’t have to  reverse the scope on the mount but it does swing pretty low in the evening, never clashing with the tripod though. Despite appearances in the inage, the Moon was still visible through the scope at that point. Having simple tracking really does enhance the viewing for me, allowing concentration on what you are looking at, and being able to refer to the app easily with the target staying centred.

Similarly to my previous evening observing, I used the Moon Maps app and was able to identify each crater shown in the labelled picture. It really is an excellent way of seeing what is visible along the terminator each night. The valley down near Rheita was particularly good to view, and I then ramped up the power using the Leica to get more detail throughout. The views through the Nag started to tail off a bit as the seeing still wasn’t brilliant, but still the 6mm setting provided a useable increment over the 8.9mm on the Leica.

I took the attached images handheld at the eyepiece, when using the Leica. One is exposed to catch the earthshine which has come out quite well. Not my best shorts, but a nice record of the evening’s observing.

2F652163-5F77-49CD-83F2-278DF989AB03.png

7FC91B44-B1BB-404F-AE3B-4A1018D680DF.jpeg

D0BF04E8-32F8-4ED9-ABAA-60D856FE04B6.jpeg

A081BE6F-4837-4AF9-8C9F-3CD2B981A88B.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Last night's evening sky was fantastic until the clouds slid across the sky from the south west.

The moon is a nice easy target with plenty to look at and study without the need for dark skies or high end equipment. That illustration Stu is great btw.

The Skymax 102 and AZ-GTI combo worked very well. No alignment required, just the Synscan point and track mode which worked flawlessly.

An attempt was made to photograph and record video with a spare Samsung S6 mobile phone, but I find the hardest part is actually lining up the camera with the eyepiece. Any tips would be appreciated! (A photo below through a Celestron XCel LX 25mm eyepiece)

1713071375_20200427_2216116.thumb.jpg.d14691516969c9c636aa5dc7b39cd580.jpg

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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3 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Last night's evening sky was fantastic until the clouds slid across the sky from the south west.

The moon is a nice easy target with plenty to look at and study without the need for dark skies or high end equipment. That illustration Stu is great btw.

The Skymax 102 and AZ-GTI combo worked very well. No alignment required, just the Synscan point and track mode which worked flawlessly.

An attempt was made to photograph and record video with a spare Samsung S6 mobile phone, but I find the hardest part is actually lining up the camera with the eyepiece. Any tips would be appreciated! (A photo below through a Celestron XCel LX 25mm eyepiece)

1713071375_20200427_2216116.thumb.jpg.d14691516969c9c636aa5dc7b39cd580.jpg

Definitely a good night last evening. Clear as a bell here in the Isle of Man. Put the MAK127 out early evening to cool & went out around 9.30. Moon was the star of the show with a star just to the right side made a great view through the eyepiece. Details could be made out on the shadowed part due to earth shine. Myself & the wife took a few pics through the eyepiece, which is tricky as you say. The wife has ordered me a Celestron NEXYZ phone holder for my upcoming birthday, so hopefully that will help in the future.

1315D00D-3E32-47F7-889E-CC866B4EB018.jpeg

A594CE5C-BD96-4972-B32A-9B8EFF54083C.jpeg

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4 hours ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Last night's evening sky was fantastic until the clouds slid across the sky from the south west.

The moon is a nice easy target with plenty to look at and study without the need for dark skies or high end equipment. That illustration Stu is great btw.

The Skymax 102 and AZ-GTI combo worked very well. No alignment required, just the Synscan point and track mode which worked flawlessly.

An attempt was made to photograph and record video with a spare Samsung S6 mobile phone, but I find the hardest part is actually lining up the camera with the eyepiece. Any tips would be appreciated! (A photo below through a Celestron XCel LX 25mm eyepiece)

1713071375_20200427_2216116.thumb.jpg.d14691516969c9c636aa5dc7b39cd580.jpg

Nice shot. Focus is sharp which is half the battle! Have you got a Pro mode on the camera that lets you control exposure better? I used to use an S9 which allowed you to reduce shutter speed and ISO as need to prevent any areas from being over exposed. Better to be a little darker so you don’t lose the detail in the brighter areas, it can always be tweaked back up in processing.

The Xcel LX eyepieces have 16mm rye relief, so to get full illumination you need to hold the camera away from the eyepiece a little. If you hold it too close then you will get a smaller round image on the screen which is hard to hold in position. Try experimenting with twisting up the eye cups so you can lightly rest the camera in the right place. When you are in the correct place it is obvious because the image suddenly either fills the view or you see a sharp round field atop all the way around.

The NeXYZ Mount should work well for you as it has an adjustment to move the camera towards or away from the eyepiece to get it just right.

Have a look in the Smartphone Imaging section for more information and examples. Good luck!

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The Celestron smartphone holder is good but this cheap one also works well.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gosky-Binocular-Spotting-Smartphone-Adapter/dp/B075N8J438/ref=sr_1_11?dchild=1&keywords=smartphone+telescope+holder&qid=1588058369&sr=8-11

A good app like Open Camera lets you control the smartphone camera. 

An example taken with the cheap holder and Open Camera and an 80mm refractor.

CC1C7171-369D-495E-AFB9-4FA8B2CF3E91.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Stu said:

Nice shot. Focus is sharp which is half the battle! Have you got a Pro mode on the camera that lets you control exposure better? I used to use an S9 which allowed you to reduce shutter speed and ISO as need to prevent any areas from being over exposed. Better to be a little darker so you don’t lose the detail in the brighter areas, it can always be tweaked back up in processing.

The Xcel LX eyepieces have 16mm rye relief, so to get full illumination you need to hold the camera away from the eyepiece a little. If you hold it too close then you will get a smaller round image on the screen which is hard to hold in position. Try experimenting with twisting up the eye cups so you can lightly rest the camera in the right place. When you are in the correct place it is obvious because the image suddenly either fills the view or you see a sharp round field atop all the way around.

The NeXYZ Mount should work well for you as it has an adjustment to move the camera towards or away from the eyepiece to get it just right.

Have a look in the Smartphone Imaging section for more information and examples. Good luck!

There's a Pro mode but I'm clueless regards photography. I'll have to investigate... 

Nice piccies Sky-Searcher & John!

 

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