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Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?
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Author:  KevinB [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I know these things have a preset to do this once properly calibrated and aligned. My plan is to follow the lunar eclipse next week with either a 200mm or 300mm lens on a 7D. I've owned one meade head already and it was junk. I moved in quick jerks rather than providing any sort of smooth motion. I posted up here regarding this and everyone who responded claimed that this was not typically characteristic of the things. So with a properly functioning head, how smooth of a track should I expect with a lens of either size?

What I'd really like to avoid is constant jerks. We're talking the moon here so I should be able to pop fairly quick stills but I just don't want to lose focus if the shutter hits during one of these quick jerks. I'm expecting to go frame by frame in AE for true stabilization since I'll be working on a black background anyway, but obviously I'd like to start with something smooth. Can the meade heads do this well?

I'm picking up another head tonight which looks like the older all black versions. Any issues there?

Thanks guys!

Author:  Antz [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I did a tracking shot of the crescent moon setting (traveling sideways) in Antarctica about a year ago using the built in settings, it tracked it well for about the hour of the shot.
I didn't do an accurate alignment job, because it was twilight and there were no stars to fix on, so I just made sure the physical location was set correctly, told it to go to where it thought the moon was, then manually aligned it by loosening off the lock bolts.

I don't know how it would do for a longer shot of a few hours, but it worked pretty well (and smoothly) for me for an hour or so.

Author:  KevinB [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

Yeah I'm talking like 6 hours here.........

It just sucks that I don't think I'll be able to test it since we've got some storms coming in this week.


You still on the base down there? Come across anyone named Grace Clark (might go by karen too)? Redhead nutty kinda girl.

I'm jealous of some of the shooting you have available to you.

Author:  Antz [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

Yup, back here for the southern summer.
About 1000 people at McMurdo in the summer, so a lot of unfamiliar faces about, normally I'm here for the smaller winter -over population of about 150.

I noticed the Meade is definitely voltage dependent when moving at 1x speed, as some shots I have done of the sun have been way off in tracking as the voltage of the battery dropped. It was initially moving too fast, then eventually slowed down as the battery got used up, making the sun effectively accelerate out of the shot.
Not sure if it behaves better when "tracking" as opposed to just moving or not.

Author:  KevinB [ Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I just got back from getting another motor head. Hopefully I'll get a night or two to try it out first.

I'm planning on wiring up another battery to run it since it's 12 volts with the double A batteries.


My friend just got a approved for the winter stayover. You guys may cross paths next season.


Thanks again for the input. As valuable as a resounding 'yes' would be, I also don't want to spend too much time beating my head over a setup that won't work. It's good to know what to expect.

Author:  KevinB [ Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I got lucky tonight. It snowed last night and then cleared up this evening. On a practice run, I set the head up to "go to" the moon. Then I moved the tripod and the head to center the moon. I figured I'd at least be close with the tracking.

So uh........the head moves in exactly the wrong direction, both axes :lol: It needs to rotate clockwise, it goes counter. It needs to pan down, it pans up. I gotta figure this out. I can only assume it was aligned incorrectly by the previous owner and that preset is still in there.

Author:  Antz [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

Yup, check your coordinates.
If you have a GPS, or you can use google earth to come up with the correct location, it should should do the trick.

Sounds like you have it set for the wrong hemisphere, positive instead of negative number (or vise versa)

Author:  KevinB [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I spent some time educating myself on programming the thing last night. From the looks of it, I might actually get another practice night tonight. Is there a viewer lat/long section in the programming menus? I don't remember seeing it.

Author:  Antz [ Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

I can't remember where it is on the menu now off the top of my head now. I mostly leave my location set as 90 degrees south so I can just turn it on for horizontal pans at 1x speed without any button clamp use if I want to.

It is worth noting the moon moves at a significantly different rate to the stars/sun, so 1x speed will not work for very long, you will need to tell it to track the moon. Be interested to see how you go over a few hours and how accurate it is.
Can't do it myself right now as we have another 2 months of 24hr sunlight here.

Author:  scottbuckel [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

Just wondering, if it is working backwards to what you expect, is the camera mounted 180 degrees differently than the telescope would be?

Scott

Author:  Antz [ Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

scottbuckel wrote:
Just wondering, if it is working backwards to what you expect, is the camera mounted 180 degrees differently than the telescope would be?

Scott


Ah yes, that would do it too.

Author:  cfortner [ Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Any success with tracking the moon with a milapse head?

scottbuckel wrote:
Just wondering, if it is working backwards to what you expect, is the camera mounted 180 degrees differently than the telescope would be?

Scott


So how would one go about correcting this on the controller? Finding a suitably opposite place on the globe to use as your location?

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