It took a little bit of finagling, but I managed to get some photos of the sun with the Celestron EclipSmart telescope and my DSLR (Canon Digital Rebel XT).
Attaching a heavy DSLR (568 grams) to the back of a light weight telescope (456 grams) mounted on a light weight tripod definitely caused some stability issues. Aiming and getting the telescope/camera to stay in position was a challenge. If you’re going to use a DSLR with this telescope, you’ll want a solid tripod with some good locks.
They’re not the greatest photos, and pretty boring because it looks like there’s not much in the way of anything happening on the sun. Can’t see a whole lot of detail in them, but they’re good enough. These images are cropped (1k x 1k) from the original 3456×2304 pixel image.
This is my first time with telescopes and DSLRs, so I still have a fair bit to learn about the process. Astrophotography is something I’ve wanted to get into for a long time. I suspect there will be some new telescopes and camera upgrades in my future.
I came across the Celestron EclipSmart Travel Scope while browsing around B&H Photo looking for more things to lust after. For $100 I was intrigued, so I decided to pick one up along with some adapters to let me attach my camera to the scope.
I’ll admit it. The main reason I picked up this little budget scope was for the 2017 eclipse. The other reason is that while I’ve been fascinated by astronomy and astrophysics my entire life, I’ve never had what I would consider a real telescope of my own. I’ve had chances to use them and look through some pretty decent ones (8″ and 12″ reflectors on top of the U of A Physics building). When I saw the EclipSmart, I thought to myself that maybe I should change that. Even though this one is only for solar viewing, I figured it would be a decent place to start. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at managing my expectations (at least I think I am).
First impression when I saw the box was that was a lot smaller than I expected. Everything comes packaged in a 45x28x13 cm box. The Celestron EclipSmart travel scope is a 50 mm refractor telescope with a 360 mm/f7.4 focal length. Comes with a 20 mm eye piece, tripod and a backpack to carry everything around in. It’s all light enough to be easily portable, and sets up pretty quickly.
The telescope is about the size of a large spotting scope. The solar filter is permanently installed, so it’s a bit of a uni-tasker as far as telescopes go.
The telescope will attach to any tripod using a standard 1/4″ threaded screw. The tripod that comes with the scope is lightweight with three extendable sections on each leg. A little bit on the flimsy side, but it does the job. Easily knocked over, so not something you want to set up where lots of people are running around. Fully extended, the tripod stands just a little over 1 m high which puts the eye piece of the telescope at a reasonably comfortable height for viewing (unless you’re really tall).
Handy aiming sight lets you get the telescope pointed at the sun without having to look at the sun or try to hunt for it through the scope.
So far, it seems like a decent little scope for the price. Lightweight, very portable and easy to carry around. Focusing is easy and fairly smooth. With the 20 mm eye piece, the image of the sun is a pretty decent size. Doesn’t fill the entire field of view of the eye piece, but the image of the sun is large enough to see sunspots.
If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive scope for solar or eclipse viewing, this one fits the bill nicely.