Friday, November 29, 2013

windy observing (Blue Mountains)

Around 11:00 PM. In the Geoff Brown Observatory. The Paramount was up and running.

Opened the roof. Jammed half-way! Huh? Probably I let go of the button... Damn. Looked for some tools. Found a small counterweight. That shocked the motor. Noticed it was very windy.

11:14. Realised I had not set the Sony voice recorder back to Standard time.

Turned the dew heaters on!

Headed to Jupiter. Pointing was off. Dramatically off. Nowhere near. Incredible. Why?

11:20. Used the UO finder scope to manually slew to the gas giant. At least it was well-aligned.

Moons equally spaced. The seeing looked really good. Thought I saw a shadow...

Really windy. And gusting. It made my eyes water. Not enjoyable.

Went to the house to check SkyTools. Also coaxed Grace and Tony out for a quick look at Jupiter.

Slewed to the Great Orion Nebula (Messier 42 or M42). It was fantastic.

Grace came into the Warm Room. She was really cold.

We wanted to close the roof a bit to block some wind. Ha! Roof drive didn't work. Finally, Tony was nearby. We did some diagnostics. In the dark we checked for sparks: none. We confirmed the contractor was working and supplying power to the motor. Tony used a flashlight and viewed through the vents at the bottom of the motor casing and located the switch. He was able to spot the switch. He let me have a look. I too saw the switch.

11:50. We completely closed the roof. Done. Grace headed to the house. Parked the Paramount.

11:53. Took some SQM readings. I operated the sensor and Tony recorded the numbers. Around 20.30. Not great. Temp was -3.

We talked about cold movies, like The Thing, and Apollo 13. Grace checked the temperature in Thornbury: -14.

It was time for snow beer!

Finally plugged in the USB hard warmers... A little late!

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