Saturday, June 11, 2011

and some visual (Blue Mountains)

12:30 AM. Decided to do a bit of "regular" observing. After setting my location and telescope, I reviewed my Turn Left at Orion observing lists in SkyTools3. First looked at the spring list. Objects in Cancer were not possible now. Maybe Leo targets?
Instruments: Celestron 14-inch SCT, Tele Vue 101 refractor
Mount: Paramount ME
Method: Go To
Ah. There was the third galaxy near M65 and M66: NGC 3628. M65 and M66 were barely visible in the eyepiece, so close to the Moon. Found a bright star nearby, HD 98388. 3628 was barely visible in the MallinCam. Could not get all 3 galaxies in the camera field.

Oh! I could just faintly see the dark lane in the foreground of the galaxy! Just like how it appears in TheSky6!

This galaxy is large. 12.3 arc-minutes long vs. 65 or 66 at approx 8.9'. Mag 10. But spread out over a larger area.

Put the integration to 14. Turned on ATW but didn't see any change. Tried AWC (auto white control) and hit Set but it didn't do anything either. Went back to manual.

12:52. It occurred to me that the time on the voice recorder might be wrong. I checked the date/time stamps on files and confirmed it was on Standard Time.

Dropped the gain from 4 to 3 and it improved. Gamma still 1. Tried changing the priority between Sense and AGC without seeing any improvement. Went back to AGC.

Everything was too low... the bright Moon was in the way. I realised it would be better to use the TLAO summer list so to get targets in the east, as far from as possible from gibbous Luna.

Through the 55mm ocular, I just visually observed V Aquilae. Lovely! Beautiful orange colour. Busy area, lots of fine blue-white stars of the Milky Way in the background. The intense star is also known as HD 177336, which is how I located it in TS6. ST3 shows it as a variable star and double but the double is not splittable at 0.2 seconds of arc!

In switching to visual observing, I put the red filter film on the Dell screen (with painters tape) and the frame on the netbook. Installed the red LED keyboard lights. Dimmed the lighting in the observatory and warm room.

Looked the image in the MallinCam field. Spent some time trying to correlate it to what I was seeing visually. Better aligned the TV101 to the C14 so to get the eyepiece view to match the MCHC.

Noticed clouds moving in. Ugh. Saw them everywhere. Only Ursa Major was visible. Reviewed my observing lists for targets to the north. No options really.

1:30. Caught myself yawning. Decided to throw in the towel. With the Big Day tomorrow, it didn't seem wise to pull an all-nighter. Overall, I thought I fared well, particularly given that the conditions were not looking very favourable, accomplished more than I expected. Lucky.

Closed the roof and did a quick shutdown. Could not engage 2 of the latches. Turned the dehumidifier on. Headed to bed.

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