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The Sky's the Limit

After this long stretch of rain—2.5 inches one night earlier this week—last night was finally clear enough to haul out the ol' scope and finally try some astrophotography. I've been meaning to try some new equipment—a Televue adapter ring, and a wide-field mount.

First up was the Televue adapter ring. Basically, that's a "filter" ring with three screws to clamp down on a telescope's eyepiece. Good news/Bad news. The good news is that the moon looks great through the Olympus C2100. It's just shy of the 1st quarter, and the terminator line looks really ragged; nice crater detail there. The bad news is that Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, all in a nice line along the ecliptic, didn't turn out quite as well. I'll need to fuss a bit more with that.

I then hauled out the Pentax 35mm to mount onto the wide-field mount. First up were a few tracked pictures of Orion; then I threaded on the Televue ring and tried some timed exposures of M42, the "Great Orion Nebula." Since these were with film, and not digital, I'll have to wait for processing. Oh well; how addicted we've become with instant review on digital.

That said, I'm all the more intrigued by prime focus photography now... that's where the eyepiece and camera lens are taken out of the picture (no pun) and the camera body is mounted to the telescope using a special adaptor. But that means I'll have to get an off-axis guider and reticule to track the photograph, and ... hmmm ... this could get quite expensive. Maybe I'll stick with the Televue ring for a while longer... ;)