New Telescope Parts

It’s 24.5°F outside, which means I must have spent the last three hours outdoors with the telescope.  I can’t determine if the cold makes me go outside, or if it’s cold because I go outside.  🙂

I received a small shipment of parts from Anacortes Telescope today, which brought me parts to be able to mount my digital camera to the telescope.  I will say that my major lesson learned is that focusing is a bear.

image I went straight for M42, and couldn’t see it at all through the viewfinder in the camera.  This made focusing a challenge.  I would take a 5 second exposure, review the results, tweak the focus, and repeat.  After about 20 minutes, I got some decent pictures, but nothing great.  You can clearly see the dust cloud from the nebula, though, as well as the Trapezium cluster. 

After a while, I pointed the scope at Rigel and was able to focus the camera relatively well.  I’ve noticed some problems with the Meade T-Adapter for the LX50, though, and it results in the camera not sitting straight on the back of the telescope.  This means that the film plane in the camera isn’t sitting straight, which results in fairly bad focus overall.  I’ve got some ideas on how to solve this, and will work on that the next time the clouds are clear.  Of course, now that I’m sitting inside in the warmth with the telescope, I realize I forgot to attach the f/6.3 reducer to the telescope, which may have grabbed me some better photos.  Oh well, there’s always next time!

I spent the next hour or so trying to see M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy.  I could just make it out in the sky with my eyes if I could keep the streetlights out of my view, but I couldn’t get the telescope on it because the streetlights were interfering with my spotting scope.  No such luck.

Not much else exciting in the sky tonight, so I packed it up around 10:30pm.