Tuesday, April 28, 2009

flew an 8" Newt (Toronto)

Despite the thick afternoon clouds, Guy called a GO for the RASC Toronto City Observing Session and announced that he would come down to the High Park location. It had rained heavily in the morning and into the lunch hour. I was a little surprised. But, he saw the front moving across Ontario. It looked like it was going to clear. My Clear Sky Alarm Clocks were going off for Fingal and Toronto. Maybe we'd get lucky (again).

I wanted to help at the COS but I didn't relish the idea of transferring my gear down, by my car, with the high-voltage problem still unresolved. Or hauling by garden wagon such a long distance.

When Guy answered my phone call, I asked, "How many telescopes do you have?" He figured out pretty quick where I was going with this. But took me up on my outrageous proposal! He assured me it wouldn't be too much extra effort...

I walked to the park from home. Brought my big tripod, binos, a couple of eyepieces, a few star finders, two green lasers, etc.

We met at the park a little after 8 PM. I helped him unload all his gear, x2. And then I started to set up the second telescope. First the stainless tripod. Then the large heavy solid EQ-6 mount. Finally, we loaded up the OTA, a short-tube 8" f/4 Newtonian, via the dovetail. Balanced, with extension installed, we popped in my 2" baader eyepiece. In short order, I swung over to the Moon. It proved a very nice view and our early visitors, including Lana from the NOVA course, enjoyed that.

Later we turned to Saturn and tried to figure out the moon positions. My trusty old Psion palmtop software Procyon proved handy. That said, I mistook some field stars for wanderers. Guy corrected us. I did a sketch at 9:55 PM and in the end correctly identified Dione, Rhea, (Saturn) Titan, Tethys, and Iapetus.

The other two objects in-line with the ring plane were field stars.

The view through Mark's brand new Celestron 8" SCT was fantastic. Reminded me I should clean my corrector plate...

I helped Mark find Cor Caroli.

As we began to pack up, the baseball diamond floodlights finally switched off. We all groaned.

Guy offered me a ride home. What a trooper!

That was a lot of fun flying a different telescope. I learned a lot.

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