Mark, Wayne and Leigh

Arrived: 8:00 pm

Temp: -1 C, Clear

Mark Wayne and I tried to take advantage of an unexpected clear night to try to finish what we had started doing on Jan 7.  We wanted to get the guide camera working and try out the new guide scope system.

I had brought along the cables and USB hub that I had purchased on the weekend to enable us to hook the camera and guide hardware to the PC in the office.  Mark and I ran the cables between the dome and the office and hooked everything up.

Wayne had brought his binoculars and camera.  He kept busy outside for part of the evening and then worked on his laptop in the office the rest of the night.

We then fired up the PC.  We got a “new hardware found” window as expected, however what we didn’t expect was a “drivers not found” message.  We both thought we had used a Meade DSI on this PC in the past.  At this point we were not worried as Mark had his wireless Internet device with him so he went to the office and downloaded drivers from Meade’s website.  We thought it would then work.  Unfortunately Meade had updated their drivers to Windows7 and deleted their Windows XP drivers.  Mark and I now regretted not bringing a disc from home that contained the drivers.  So much for testing the guider that night.

While Mark was downloading drivers in the office, I started the telescope up and moved it to Betelgeuse for alignment.  I used the Telrad that Mark had mounted on the telescope last visit to centre the scope.  Without adjustments to the Telrad I was able to find the star in the eyepiece of the telescope.  I was impressed.  Once I had focus and centred the star, I adjusted the Telrad to centre it as well.  At Mark’s suggestion I also put an eyepiece in the guide telescope and centred it to the main scope for now.  I had to use an old barlow barrel to lengthen the optical train long enough to achieve focus on the guide scope.

Once we established that we were not going to solve our driver issues we decided to take advantage of our clear sky and do some visual observing.  The eyepieces on hand left something to be desired, however we were still able to view M42, M45, Jupiter and the moon before calling it quits for the night.  I will put some better eyepieces on my shopping list for the upcoming year.  The different view through the two telescopes gives a nice flexibility as to the objects we can enjoy observing.

Next time up we will get the guider up and running.  Then we will try some imaging.

Depart: 11:30pm.

Temp: -1 C