Members: Leigh, Rohit
Arrive: 9:20 pm
Temp: 14 C
Weather clear and dry, still blue sky.
While Rohit set up his 12″ Dob outside on the pad, I got on with opening up the dome and starting up the computer. Although it was still a blueish sky outside, I was able to pick out Arcturus to slew the scope to.
I had opened “The Sky6” and once I had Arcturus in the scopes eyepiece, I linked The Sky6 to it. I then tried to “synch” the scope position to Arcturus on The Sky6. I could not accomplish this at all. In fact I was unable to find the button on the program to allow this. I do not know what setting is wrong on The Sky6 that is excluding this feature as of yet. I will have to research this more and try to sort it out.
I opened MaximDL and after a few attempts I was able to link the scope to it. I first had to go into MaximDL’s setup and fill in the AOMO’s location and time in order to get the correct sky map. Once done I was able to link the telescope to the program and found the pointing of the telescope from that point on to be very accurate. I did not have time to test the tracking that night. As nothing has been changed with the mount I do not have any reason to believe that will differ any.
I then attached the SBig camera to the telescope. My aim for the night was to achieve focus without moving the primary mirror. After several attempts with various nose adapters on the camera I was able to achieve focus. I then moved the telescope to nearby Eta Bootes which is magnitude 2.7 to try to refine my focus some more. After some focusing and imaging and with Rohit’s help at the focuser controls I was able to achieve a FWHM of 5.8 with a count of 58000. When I tried to refine this some more the numbers started to go wacky on me and went all over the place. I was starting to get real frustrated when Rohit brought it to my attention that it had clouded over. OOPS, I hadn’t noticed I was so intense on watching the computer screen. We can now focus without moving the main mirror for several eyepieces, Canon DSLR, and the SBig camera.
While I had been up in the dome, Rohit was self teaching himself about collimation with his new 12″ Dob. He had asked for my help from time to time and my opinion on his achievement. I have to admit, I would be the last person that I would ask for help with collimation, but I was willing to critique his handiwork. I thought he did real well for a first attempt. I know like any other endevour, the more practice you get the better you get and Rohit will get lots of practice after driving his Dob up that road to view. Hopefully in the future he will have some better mentors than me to help him with his learning curve.
Rohit and I decided to give up once the clouds moved it so he helped me pack up the equipment in the dome and then we loaded up and headed down the hill. The sky was great while it was clear. It stayed quite warm and the bugs are not too bad as of yet. That will change as it stays warmer at night.
Though Rohit’s dob we viewed Saturn, & M57. Rohit will have to fill you in on what he viewed while I was occupied in the dome.
Things to do: find correct ASCOM driver for LX200 classic.
investigate Sky6 version and compare with others loaded on other computer.
Departed: 1:00 am
Darkness meter: n/a