Cassiopeia Observatory logo

SkyShed POD Banner, Partial Solar Eclipse Dry Run

Posted: 22 October 2014

Cloudy skies returned on Wednesday, 15 October 2014. Even had a brief rainshower Friday morning.

Just added this SkyShed POD poster to our guest room:

Click or tap on image for larger version

Wayne Parker at SkyShed Observatories had sent it to me for display in the SkyShed POD booth at the 1st Annual "Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo" in 2012. He agreed to let me keep it for future use. I've had it rolled up since then, but decided to put it to use for the enjoyment and edification of our house guests! (By the way, Cassiopeia Observatory appears on the poster, top row, 3rd from the left.)

I and another Oracle Dark Skies Committee member attended a star party at Catalina State Park Saturday night, 18 October. My report is on the ODSC web site. Unfortunately, the night was cloudy.

Cloudy skies continued on Sunday, 19 October, including some light rain totaling 0.1". The clouds prevented observing Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring a few hours after its closest approach to Mars. The sky finally cleared on Wednesday, 22 October 2014, allowing me to do a dry run in preparation for imaging the Partial Solar Eclipse of 23 October.

Opened: Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 1408 MST
Temperature: 98°F
Session: 730
Conditions: Mostly clear

Attached the Orion full-aperture solar filter to the 8" LX200-ACF and the PST piggyback on the 8" LX200-ACF. Used the "Sun as Asteroid" TLE previously entered in the AutoStar II to GOTO to the sun. First viewed the sun in H-Alpha light using the PST at 15X. Good view of one large prominence, some long filaments, and the large sunspot AR2192. Then viewed the sun through the 8" at 83X. Seeing was not very good but the sunspot was very impressive.

Mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8". The sun's disk was too large to image it entirely so decided to get an image of sunspot AR2192. This slightly cropped image was taken using 1/800sec, ISO 500:


Then added the f/6.3 focal reducer and remounted the camera for this full-frame 1/1000sec, ISO 200, image:


I plan to use this setup and exposure settings for the eclipse.

I then mounted the iPhone 5s on the PST using my modified MX-1 Afocal Adapter. I first tried imaging at 15X without and with some digital zoom. I then used a 27X eyepiece plus some digital zoom for this slightly cropped image:


Using the iOS 8 Camera app manual exposure control really helped. This is the best iPhone PST photograph I've ever managed to take.

After taking a final look at the sun through the PST, I removed the PST, D7000, and focal reducer from the 8" telescope. Did some solar observing at 83X and 222X.

I decided to take a photograph of the sun using the D7000 DSLR, 300mm telephoto lens, and my ETX Thousand Oaks Solar Filter (using a homemade adapter). The sunspot AR2192 clearly shows on the full-frame, f/5.6, 1/1250sec, ISO 400, 300mm photograph:


I resumed solar observing at 222X and 83X. Seeing was not very good and the sun was getting lower in the sky.

I used a pair of solar filter glasses to view the sun using my naked eyes. Sunspot AR2192 was clearly seen.

1558 MST: took a final look at the sun, 83X. I should be able to image the entire partial solar eclipse on Thursday, 23 October.

Closed: Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 1605 MST
Temperature: 84°F

Speaking of the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo, which I did at the top of this page, I'll be helping out at the Oceanside Photo & Telescope booth again this year. I have enjoyed helping my friends from OPT the previous two Expos and I'm looking forward to being with them again. If you are attending the Expo, stop by the OPT booth and say "hi" (and buy lots of astro stuff from me!).

Comments are welcome using Email. If you are on Twitter you can use the button below to tweet this report to your followers. Thanks.

Previous report

Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page

Back to Top

Copyright ©2014 Michael L. Weasner /