Friday, May 18, 2012

uncrated the N11

Uncrated the CAO Celestron NexStar 11-inch GPS telescope from the JMI case. I wanted to inspect, set up, and assess the N11.

The big Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope on a fork mount had been sitting inside a large black case unused in the GBO for as long as I could remember. No one seemed to be terribly clear if it was functional or not. If it was working, I thought it would be good to make this known to supervisors. If it worked well, it would be a great 'scope for members to use.

After I found the tripod in the GBO observatory, I started to set up the N11 on the Observing Pad, beside Millie. With Phil and Millie's help, I mounted the heavy OTA and fork mount atop the tripod. Very heavy. I learned later that this element alone weighs 65 pounds!

I didn't see the stock anti-vibration pads in the crate.

Oooh. Fastar ready...

Found the mirror diagonal to be filthy. It looked like, to me, something had lived in it! Tim said that stuff could grow on the surface. I didn't have my eyepiece cleaning kit with me. Alas, I cleaned it with rubbing alcohol and cotton balls from the bathroom.

Found a silver-clad 40mm Celestron eyepiece. I wondered what the power would be. I couldn't remember the focal length off the top of my head (2.8m).

Attached the finder scope to the OTA. The adapter plate did not look to be stock. Aligned the finder.

Checked the JMI case for hand controllers. There was only one. Noted the hand controller had a sticker on the back. A hand-written note from Eric. I was hopeful that this one would work.

Didn't notice it at first but while I had a power cord for the mount, it terminated in a male CLA plug. Oh oh. Where would I get power? I asked Ian if I could hijack the power supply for the Kendrick dew heater inside the GBO.

I turned on the power. The hand controller came to life. Woo hoo! It worked. The altitude and azimuth motors responded. The Global Positioning System was clearly functional detecting our date, time, latitude, and longitude.

This telescope works! And its been sitting in the case for 5 years...

Onward and upward. I would fly it tonight. First order of business: aligning it.

No comments: