Tracking Eclipse Viewer

So, thanks to timing and military movements or deployments, I’ve missed every solar eclipse since 1994.  Most recently in my mind was moving to Hawai’i about two months before the last east-coast US eclipse, and then getting moved back 11 days before the Pacific Annular a few years back.

So, even though I’m on the east coast and probably won’t get anything worthwhile, I’m not going to risk missing this one.  If my calculations are correct, even from here, I’ll get a little bit of the cookie-bite just before sunset, right around 8PM.  And even if I miss it, I still have this cool rig to use for other purposes (like the August 2017 total eclipse).

No full build thread on this one, just enough photos that anyone with a touch of the DIY gene can figure out their own adaptation.

Camera cradled on a bracket-reinforced piece of bent steel, mounted to my cheapo Meade Alt-Az tracking mount.

Cradle mounted to mount using the existing mount screws.

Optical setup is a Nikon D50, IR modified with the hotmirror removed connected to a Nikkor 70-300mm lens at f/5.6 and a Kenko Pro Series 3x multiplier.  Filtered through a Thousand Oaks RG mylar film.

 

The thing about this that excites me the most, though, is the thought of future wide-field night sky uses.  Here’s a parting test shot from last night in the general direction of the Sombrero Galaxy (skies weren’t particularly great with the Appalachian summer haze and nearby light pollution).  Nikkor 85mm f/2, wide open, appr 60 seconds (counted, not timed).  I do believe this will be my new setup for large/nearby objects and clusters.

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