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!

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