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Revelation 5x barlow and the problem with imaging

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I was looking for something that would pump up planets for imaging using the EOS 1000D (video stream AVI capture to laptop). I found the 2x barlow I had was giving me too small an image on Mars, and while the image of Jupiter was OK, I'd like larger.

So, I settled on an inexpensive 5x Revelation barlow from somewhere-or-other, just to see how it would go. Since getting it I've had only two opportunities to image Jupiter before it ducks down behind the trees at the end of the garden. Not been able to extract any detail, even though the image on the EOS LCD looks quite good (better than the image on the capture program for some reason).

Then on Xmas day, I set up the ED80 f6.3 instead, and found that I managed to capture a couple of AVIs of Jupiter before the cloud rolled over, and seemed to get a better image than with the SPX (but smaller). It's hard to judge, though - the seeing has not been good, with lots of atsmospheric fringing, and the sky between clouds must be hazy, because stars look dimmer than usual.

Anyway, I woke up about 4-ish, and seeing clear sky threw on warm togs and set up the ED80 f/6.3 on the Celestron Nexstar mount (rather than the HEQ5) for speed. Did a quick 3-star alignment, and had a look at Mars - very bright tonight. Then I went to Saturn, and while there thought I'd give the 5x barlow a go. I was quite surprised. I tend to use a 32mm Celestron EP I got from the USA. I'm not sure the series, but I liked it so much I got a 15mm in the same series. These are the only two EPs I use now. The 32mm EP with the 5x Barlow gave me a good view of Saturn, allowing me to see the narrow ring (still not managed to see the division yet), including where it runs round the front of the planet. I tried the 15mm EP as well - but that was pushing things too far, and found the view uncomfortable and difficult to focus.

I was tempted to try some imaging, but I am half-way through setting up a 1/3" colour CCD camera to work through a HDD/SD/DVD I no longer use with a portable monitor - and didn't want to drag the laptop & EOS out. So, I put the barlow away, and tried using the Nextstar tour. As I have found previously, most of the things it wanted to show me were below the fence/tree/house-line. However, I did manage to get a look at the Hercules cluster. The Hercules cluster stood magnification using the 15mm EP. I then set the Nexstar off towards M102 - when I realised that cloud had rolled over, and I began to notice drops of rain.

So, there was a scramble to get the cap on the refractor (as the optic was facing 'up'), and disassemble as quickly as possible and get everything into the dry before the drops turned into a shower. So, I'm pleased I did choose the Nexstar mount (as it is so easy and quick to put away as well as set up), and not to image (which makes packing up more complicated - and takes longer to set up), because it gave me the opportunity to look at some things I'd have missed otherwise.

When it works, the Nexstar mount is great - and this morning it was on good form, plopping things into the FOV not only of my 32mm EP, but the 15mm EP as well. It is a shame I had to break and come in - as it did look very clear tonight for about half-an-hour. It also reminded me that I need to just look and am still finding my way around, and don't have to take pictures of everything I look at - which itself limits the time I have for looking.

A dilemma. To know when to image, and when just to look.


Edited by MishMich
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