Eclipse Observing Checklist

For this solar eclipse I will be in the middle of central Oregon, a long way from any stores, much less an astronomy equipment store. I will have to have everything I need on-hand, nothing forgotten, nothing overlooked.

A checklist is certainly in order!

The checklist below was compiled as much for myself as anyone who might read this posting. Actually writing the checklist out is quite useful as a personal double check. I need to consider that we will be camping for several days prior to the eclipse, that time will be spent hiking, stargazing, or simply relaxing in the forest with family.

I will be assembling and testing the telescope and mount this weekend. As it has just been assembled from various parts, this rig has never really seen the sky before. I have little worry about it working, I have done this sort of thing a few times.

Telescope and Related Gear
The Hodgepodge mount assembled for the first time in preparation for the eclipse
  • TV-76mm Telescope
  • 2″ 90° diagonal
  • Vixen rail for 76mm
  • Finder with good battery
  • Solar filter
  • Spare Baader film to repair filter
  • Eclipse glasses
  • Electrical tape
  • Eyepieces (22mm, 12mm, 8mm)
  • UHC filter (2″ and 1.25″)
  • OIII filter (2″ and 1.25″)
  • 2″ to 1.25″ adapter
  • Telescope mount
  • Power cord for mount
  • Extension cord to reach vehicle
  • Wedge
  • Telescope tripod
  • Allen wrenches
  • All bolts for the mount
  • A few spare 1/4″-20 bolts
  • Star charts (Karkoschka, Sky&Tel Pocket Atlas)
  • Observing notebook
  • Observing lists
  • Red flashlight
  • Laser pointer
  • Pens
Photo Gear
Hodgepodge setup on the side of Mauna Kea with the TV-76mm and Telrad on the plate
  • DSLR camera
  • Lenses for DSLR (70-200mm, 24-105mm, 14mm)
  • T-ring adapter
  • Field flattener for TV-76
  • Backup camera
  • Lenses for backup (22mm, 18-55mm)
  • T-ring adapter for second camera
  • Camera batteries
  • SD Cards
  • Battery chargers
  • Remote releases/intervalometers
  • Spare batteries for intervalometers
  • GoPro camera
  • Charger for GoPro
  • Mini clamp mount for GoPro
  • Lens cleaning gear
  • Photo tripod
Other Items
Hodgepodge setup on the side of Mauna Kea with the TV-76mm and Telrad on the plate
  • Heavy jacket
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Hat
  • Water bottle
  • Toiletries
  • First-aid kit
  • Drugs (Tylenol, Tums, Sudafed)

Unfortunately I can not pack a 12V battery on the plane. This would be great to use with the mount. The mount itself has been setup to be airline transportable, fitting in a large suitcase. I will have to be careful of the 50lb weight limit, easy to stack up 50lbs worth of gear when it comes to a telescope mount.

As I hope to do a fair amount of observing in the nights leading up to the eclipse I have included a bit more gear. Eyepieces and filters, star charts and observing lists to take advantage of the dark skies. Looking forward to a little astronomy binge!

What does it mean when the telescope section of this list is three times longer than the personal gear?

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

3 thoughts on “Eclipse Observing Checklist”

  1. I hope you get some great shots of the eclipse. I am in Atlanta area and will be traveling for the eclipse myself. Though it is likely it will be visible just a short ways from here the weather this time of year can be somewhat unpredictable so I have chosen to stay mobile rather than reserving a room near the path. This way if weather is looking bad for the area I was planning to visit I can instead travel to other areas. As long as I can find a spot on the path of totality east of Colorado with clear skies in the forecast I will be in the path. I may have to sleep in a tent or in a vehicle for a night or two but it will be worth it. Hope the weather is good for you…

    1. Always the big question mark in an eclipse… Weather! The long range forecast now includes eclipse day, looking good for central Oregon. Clear skies to you!

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