Better Mount, Better Moon

I was able to get out tonight and get a few shots of the Moon before a hazy cloud layer streamed in. The temperature was 63º F with 88% humidity so a felt a bit warmer then Monday night’s 64º. Of course my son in his “PJs” was at the back door “I need to come out… I NEED to see the Moon!”

I cobbled together a temporary counterweight setup as I was getting SERIOUSLY worried about stripping the DEC axis of my telescope mount. The last two times I had the scope out with the Canon EOS 300D attached at prime focus I was seriously torquing the DEC clamp in order to hold the telescope in position… and then only barely. The camera assembly with the added right angle viewfinder adds 2.08 lbs to that end of the scope so it wants to pull the OTA back.

During the summer period — when the viewing here is at it’s worst and the jungle bugs are biting — I researched and ordered 2 of these counterweight sets from Astro Engineering (I mainly wanted the weights and the OTA screws and not the eyepiece mount) with the expectation of making something more permanent before this winter’s clearer skies arrived… I did not. So tonight I went into the garage and within 15 minutes emerged with these:

Clamped onto the dew shield they total 1.57 lbs. The telescope now holds in perfect balance with the DEC lock totally loosened. It will now pivot to any altitude and hold perfect balance without stressing the DEC lock in ANY way. I’m a happy camper! I will at some point fashion the design I originally had in mind which would allow me to easily add and/or remove weights in the dark. However in the interim, this works like a charm.

In turn the whole setup is now also stable against the camera’s shutter action, although I did STILL notice some wobble that needs to be addressed if I’m going to do exposures longer than fractions of a second. 🙁 But anyways as I started to say at the top of this post I was able to get a few shots before the clouds rolled in and nearly ALL of them came out better then the other evening. I’m still not quite “there” yet but I’m FAR more satisfied with the results I got against the effort I put in tonight.

While I’m here I thought I would point you all to this post on Space Photos that shows a time-lapse sequence of Venus taken over many months as it swings around to pass between us and the Sun. I get a weird “inspirational-our-place-in-the-cosmos” kinda feeling watching it. It’s VERY cool!

5 thoughts on “Better Mount, Better Moon”

  1. I was just looking at your scope with the DSLR and what appears to be a diagonal lens attached to the view finder.Does that help to pull in more light for focusing?.

  2. It is the Canon Angle Finder C

    You can adjust the viewing angle while providing a full screen image that also shows exposure data. It can also be switched from 1.25x to 2x magnification for critical focusing!

    It also has a built-in dioptric adjustment for variations in eyesight and comes with the adapter Ec-C and Ed-C to fit any EOS camera.

    I got it for Christmas really only so I would no longer have to be a contortionist to frame and focus objects near zenith. The higher magnification was just icing on the proverbial cake.

  3. that is an awesome setup

    you’ve inspired me to go down to the den and pull out my film stuff again and do some experimenting


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