Saturday, August 17, 2013

headed up early

I wanted to be at the DDO early. For a few reasons.

I had decided that I wanted to try to image the nova. Wide field, piggy back. With my 'scope. Or at least my Vixen Super Polaris. So that meant taking my gear. The mount, the power tank. All the accessories. The camera. The OTA was only one more bag!

Now I had offered to fly one of the Dobsonian telescopes at the Dunlap. But I felt I could still do that. Once the SP-C8 was up and running, I could tent to the Dob. The Vixen (with the GoToStar) would track; I'd nudge the Newtonian.

Plus all the general stuff. Picnic table, bug suit, warm clothes, etc.

And when I remembered half the gear was already in the car—rather, still in the car, from Starfest—it was suddenly very attractive.

Charged the SLA batteries the day and night before. Charged AA and AAA batteries. Packed in the afternoon. Had an early dinner. Study the traffic patterns on Google. And hit the road at about 5:00 PM.

It was a little slow on the Gardiner. Humans going in for the baseball? The DVP was good at the bottom, sluggy around Eg, and then fine after that.

Gate was down when I arrived. Fished for the code in my palmtop. Noticed a man walking over just as I entered the code and the gate swung up. We chatted briefly and I then headed to the admin building.

Found a car in the oval. I backed in. Noticed the dome's upper door open.

Mr Mortfield said hello from the dome. "Oh. You brought your own." I told him I was still OK flying the Dob. I'd run two 'scopes. "Great." Before he left, he helped me move the 12½" Dobsonian outside.

I couldn't remember where north was. Slightly to the right of the dome? From the west side of the walk? Tried to find magnetic north. Had noticed this new problem before with my old compass—it has a bubble. Interfered with the needle. Could not figure it out...

I had the power tank ready. Decided I didn't need the AC extension cords.

At 6:46 PM, I finished the final main steps for the Celestron 8-inch. Ready to go. But not aligned.

Pulled out the portable weather stations. Not 12! The OneWorld weather station display was blank. Booted when I squished it. Loose battery contact? Shoot. Back to the case. Put the Oregon Scientific on the tripod triangle.

Put up the portable picnic table. Huh. Set up my binoculars on the big camera tripod. Put the glow-in-the-dark stars out. Realised I had forgotten my UV flashlight though. Darn.

Had the Off! bug thing fan ready to go. Still the original batteries! Fresh ones in my pocket. Bug suit ready. If needed.

OK. Next 'scope!

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