Saturday, May 20, 2017

Over the years I've hauled many different setups to solar eclipses - and this year is no exception. Each time I have some different ambition, requirement or constraint.

To photograph totality I want to use a 15 year old Borg 100ED F/4 refractor. This instrument isn't too heavy and is fairly compact. The camera will be a Nikon D300 - not state of the art, but this is what I have. I do have lightweight and heavy-duty tripods and mounts which I've used before. However, these are either too little or too much - resulting in either non-optimal images or very heavy luggage. So, this time I'll be optimizing the setup by buying a new tripod and telescope mount - here's what I just ordered yesterday from a German shop:

The Berlebach Tripod UNI 8 is a transportable tripod for astronomical mounts - best quality "made in Germany". The low height makes it ideal for Newtonian telescopes, 323 euro.

  • Weight 6 kg - 13.2 lb.
  • Minimum height 60 cm - 24 inch
  • Maximum height 83 cm - 33 inch
  • Transportation length 67 cm - 26 inch
  • Load capacity 60 kg (121 lb) with very good vibration damping
  • Stable accessory tray (37 cm)

The leg lock offers an even spread and prevents the legs from slipping, 58 euro.

  • Suitable accessory tray included
  • The legs are locked in a defined angle of 23°
  • The spread stopper comes readily installed with the UNI tripod

Berlebach tripod bag 24cm / 70cm length, 42 euro

TS AZ5 Alt-azimuthal Mount with fine adjustment in both axes. A very stable alt-azimuthal mount. Accommodates two different instruments in parallel. Features:
  • maximum load 13 kg, at full stability
  • fine adjustment with clamping in both axes
  • telescope mounting with robust quick coupling with area clamping
  • further attaching with 90° offset for binoculars or spotting scopes - up to 5 kg can be kept in balance
  • counterweight shaft included in delivery, can be attached in two positions
  • with versatile tripod connection
Berlebach Tripod Adapter from UNI to Vixen GP, Skywatcher EQ5 and similar. This adapter is necessary for using Vixen GP and SkyWatcher EQ5 mounts with the Berlebach UNI tripods.

For viewing the partial phases I have a 70mm refractor with a H-alpha filter - this can go on the same mount as the photography equipment since the mount can accept two scopes. Thereby I only have to bring a single tripod and mount instead of two!

Friday, May 19, 2017

I'm baaack.....

Hi world,

it has been three years since the blog was last updated. About time to get back to it! Since last time I have been on three eclipse expeditions to Ethiopia, Indonesia and Madagascar. Check out this movie we made from totality in Indonesia!

Ingrid and the corona - Indonesia 2016
Now I am warming up to the next total solar eclipse which will occur in the U.S.A. on August 21st, 2017. I am leading a group from Viktors Farmor to Oregon. In addition to providing a great experience for the guests I'll also attempt to photograph the eclipse using a 4-inch refractor and a DSLR camera. I have done almost all kinds of astrophotography over the years and a total solar eclipse is - by far - the hardest project to undertake. I have failed three times and succeeded once. Even with the one where I finally got the images the post-processing of these to yield a final result has proven so daunting that I haven't yet done it!

Still, I'm trying again. Follow this blog in the coming months to see how it goes.