08-05-2017 01:59 PM
Get some practice in setting up your mount ... take advantage of any clear nights you have.
The magic of a tracking mount happens when the axis of rotation (for the tracking head) or the "right ascension" axis (for an equatorial telescope mount) is exactly parallel to the Earth's axis of rotation. As the Earth spins from West to East, the mount rotates from East to West at the same speed... and this exactly cancels out the perceived motion of the stars. Objects are held in place and you can take very long exposures.
Your mount should have instructions on how to perform a good polar alignment. Practice with that. If you have questions, ask, but mention which mount make & model you own so I can give specific instructions. (I've used a lot of telescope mounts).
If you are traveling for the eclipse, then you don't want to leave anything behind.
Fred Espenak (Mr. Eclipse) suggests you set up everything at home and do a test-run. Rely on only what you will have available at your observing site. In other words if your observing site has no power, then don't plug anything into your house power... it all has to run on batteries for the test run.
The goal is to be able to do a test run without having to run back into the house to grab something you forgot.
The other goal is to make sure your equipment will last (e.g. batteries wont die in the 3 hours of shooting... memory card will have enough capacity to hold all the photos, etc. etc.)
Once you declare success, Fred says to put a tarp on the ground next to your setup. Disassemble all the gear and organize it onto that tarp. Now... EVERYTHING on that tarp must go into your car. Take an inventory.
I did a test run and my home has too many tall trees to get a clear view of the Sun. So I setup at a nearby college campus. When I did this, I thought I had everything. I found that I forgot three items. Two were "conveniences" (would have made setup easier). But one was essential to photography (I forgot the teleconverter necessary to get the proper focal length for the Sun that I'll be using with my telescope.)
I took notes on the gear I forgot. I packed everything back into my car and drove home. When I got home I grabbed the three missing items and put them with the rest of the gear.
I then used a spreadsheet and some tags (they look like sales tags with wire twist-ties so I can attach them to soft-side bag handles, etc.) and tagged and numbered all my gear on the spreadsheet -- with descriptions. Now I have a list of "everything" that must come with me when I travel to the eclipse.
08-05-2017 05:11 PM
I have a generator and have tested it. Believe it or not all I can get at ground zero may or may not have power and I am not going to depend on batteries and is only 12' x 12'. I ordered my tri pod from Orion. I am going to go with what I got and work with what I get. I have all the software and can make the shots from my lap top. I plan to take as many as possible at least 200 and more if I can. I have and will continue to practice.