However… I was fully set up for any opportunities that did arise and despite the cloud I did get 3 or 4 gaps where despite thin cloud the eclipse was visible enough to image.
Polar alignment is a bit of a pain in the neck – literally… With the HEQ5 Pro mount, you have to kneel down by the telescope and look through the polar-scope with your neck at an unnatural angle, while adjusting the altitude and azimuth controls to get the mount polar aligned. But there is a solution… a right angle finder as used on DSLR viewfinders! This can then be attached to the end of the polar scope and allows a more natural viewing angle.
I found this one on eBay for £31.90:
Cone Nebula and Fox Fur Nebula in Hydrogen Alpha. Started out as a test run as was having problems achieving round stars at 1200s sub-exposure times. The first one was good, and the sky stayed clear so carried on and got 5 subs before the moon rose and started to affect contrast.
Firstly remove the ‘focus lock’ screw, as 1) it will interfere with the bracket, 2) it doesn’t work very well (adjusting the focuser tension is more worthwhile), and 3) if you are automating an imaging set-up then you don’t want to have to keep locking and unlocking the screw before and after each focus change…