Feb 282015

The next eclipse of the Sun will occur on March 20th this year and here are some tips on how to use DSSR to guide your scope during it. First, here is a white light simulation of what the eclipse will look like from Inverness, Scotland. Note that this was created in CdC and is an alt-az view, which is why the Sun is rotating and the Moon follows a curved track.

General Tips

If your camera is in auto exposure mode the sky brightness will vary during the eclipse which is maybe what you want. I intend to use a fixed manual exposure which I think will look better in the time-lapse animation.

Do a dry run on the Sun before the 20th.

Use new or recharged batteries and have spares ready.

Use a remote release cable or intervalometer as a backup to DSLR usb capture.

Use DSSR’s recticle to centre the Sun before you start guiding.

White Light

I have tried to get DSSR to do a virtual guide on this animation but it breaks down near the point of maximum cover. What I suggest for WL is that you guide for as long as you can on a sunspot and then stop guiding. Then, right-click on the 6 or 12 o’clock position to begin monitoring. Stop monitoring and then right-click on the picture in the guider window to show the monitor box in the main video window. Then use your HC buttons to keep the monitor position lined up with the red box. You can start guiding again when a surface feature reappears (remember to click in the guider picture to hide the monitor box).

H-Alpha Light

You might be luckier in h-alpha if there is a prominence or surface feature in the uncovered portion of the Sun. DSSR should be able to guide right thru the eclipse on it. If there is no feature then follow the procedure for white light above.

Poor Man’s Guider

I don’t have a full disk video camera so I can’t use DSSR for the eclipse. My plan is to use a Canon 1100D DSLR connected to a NexStar 4SE and use Canon’s utility app to capture a full-disk WL still every 5 seconds. My guider will be a sheet of cling film over my monitor on which I will draw the dotted outline of the Sun in the Canon preview window. I can use this with the HC buttons to keep the Sun aligned.

Construct Time-Lapse Animation

Coming soon – how to use DSV to create a time-lapse animation with your results.

 Posted by at 12:10 pm

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