Okay, because people have been asking me lately how I take my pictures, especially those of the Moon, I have decided to create a post detailing my equipment and procedures, etc.
First, my telescope:
This is my telescope. It has a Focal Length of 1200mm, of course the mirror is 150mm (6 inches). It’s Focal Ratio is 8.0. The telescope does not track, and because of this, plus its focal ratio, it is not the best telescope to take pictures with! I CANNOT do prime focus on this scope… I wish I could! The focus is too long. I called Orion Telescopes (www.telescope.com) to see if the had a lower profile focuser, but the only ones they had were 2″ focusers, and mine is 1.25″. I could have gotten the 2″ focuser, but I would have had to do some major modifications to my current scope, and since I am new to all of this (been doing this stuff for bout 8 months now) and plus the fact I don’t have a lot of money – to replace my scope when I screw it up! – I decided to play the hand I have been dealt… i.e. just go with what I got!
Next, my Camera:
Above, the three pictures show the adapter that I use. The adapter separates in the middle, and allows me to insert an eyepiece if I want. I have found, with my scope, the only plausible eyepieces to use are my 32mm and 25mm eyepiece. These are the only ones I can successfully focus – however, the 32mm eyepiece works best. Also not, on the very bottom of the adapter is a lens, similar to one found on a barlow lens. When I use the adapter with my 32mm or 25mm, I remove this lens, and it allows for a better focus. When I use an eyepiece any smaller then 25mm, the lens is necessary to provide focus.
Next, the adapter connected to the DSLR
The adaper connects by rings etc, and then connects to the camera just like a lens does.
Lastly, the whole thing together!
Again, I remove the lens on the bottom of the adapter before I connect it to my scope. Generally, most of my pictures are taken with the adapter fully extended. However, the Moon Background shots and those like it where taken with it in, to produce the wider view and enabling me to get the full half moon in the shot. Saying that, it is harder to focus the “full” moon then it is the closer in shots when the adapter is fully extended – plus, I like the close ups! I believe it is harder to focus because I do not have a flat field eyepiece… but, again, I am new to all of this, so I really don’t know!
I didn’t come up with this set up by myself, both Dr. Michael Covington from the University of Georgia (my school!) – http://www.covingtoninnovations.com and Andrew (my yankee friend from N.H.) at Above the Clouds (on my friends to the right) helped me get this all right. If you have any more questions, or advice, please let me know!!!