Log entry: July 4, 2011

Members: Leigh,Mark
Arrive: 9:10 pm
Temp: 15 C
Weather clear and dry, still blue sky.
Mark commenced to setting up his new Astrotrac on the cement pad as soon as we arrived.  He wanted to learn how to use it and give it a test drive on familiar ground.
It didn’t take long to notice that the local musquitoe population was hungery and glad for some exotic take out food delivery.  A change is as good as a rest they say.  Nice that we could be of help.
I went up to the dome and started to prepare for the night ahead.  I was soon joined my Mark and we started by synching the telescope to Arcturus.  We then slewed the telescope to Vega and again re-synched the telescope.  After connecting the telescope to Maxin DL we mounted the camera and started it up as well.
We then moved the telescope to Beta Lyra to work on obtaining focus.  We found outselves battling some poor seeing that night.  The quality of the air would come and go.  Sometimes we thought we had real good focus, only to have the image go to pot in a few minutes.  It would then get better again.  Something we have come to get used to at the west coast.
After trying to fine tune the focus for a while we decided to try a test image of M57.  Things started out ok, however the seeing took a turn for the worse and we decided to quit with the camera.
Mark had brought his Ethos eyepieces with him so we decided to do some viewing with the main scope to see what we could see.  We slewed the scope over to M13 and what a view we got of the beautiful Herculius cluster.  Wow!  We used Mark’s 13mm eyepiece and the view was the best I have ever seen with my eyes of this cluster.  It was as good as a lot of images I have seen of it.  It made my night.
Mark was using his Cannon DSLR mounted on his Astrotrac to take some wide field images of Cygnus.  I have not seen any finished images from the night so I do not know how they turned out.  I’ll let him report on that.
By 11:30 the clouds started to role in so we decided to call it a night.  After shutting down and putting away the telescope and closing the dome, I brushed off the few remaining mosquitoes that discovered the hard way that weight does matter in the physics of flight.
Departed: 12:20 am
Temp: 14C
Darkness meter: n/a