Thursday, April 03, 2014

imaged Mars with doubler (Blue Mountains)

Slewed to Porrima, so to get closer to Mars. Always fantastic. Two equally bright intense shimmer golden stars.

1:33. Made some adjustments to SkyTools for the Mars imaging. Added 2x and 4x magnifiers to the C14 profile. Found the Canon was not available for the Tele Vue 'scope. Added it.

1:56 AM. Slewed to θ (theta) Virginis. Very close to Mars. Then some other nearby stars. Sneaking up. Creeping to, then across the Meridian. Finally to red planet. The mount did not do a meridian flip, yeh! Ready to track continuously.

2:00. Put in the 18mm. Then the 10mm. Beautiful. Very cool. Seeing was not bad.

2:04. Viewed at 391x in the C14. Pretty good. Noted the 8.5 mag star to the north, HD 116013. Sure I was seeing the ice cap and a dark ring about it. Elysium was straight toward us.

Slewed to Spica to focus. Headed out to the observatory floor. Connected the Tele Vue 2 times PowerMate to the special adapter, then to the t-ring, to the Canon body. Focused on the bright star, with the SCT control, then the Optec hand paddle. Pretty good.

2:16. Slewed back to Mars.

Repeated viewings. I kept thinking "triad." The ice cap at one point. But there were other bright white-ish points at the edge of the disc.

For all images: north is up; east is left.

2:37. After adjusting the exposure and touching up the focus, I started the imaging run. Still, it looked soft.

I think I spotted vibration from the camera mirror. RTFM. I enabled the mirror lock-up function. First time using it. It was clearly working correctly. I also used it with the Live View. But I was worried about the heat from the display. If I understand correctly (after reading the camera manual), a double shutter activation works, that is, fully pressing the shutter release once (either on the camera body or with the intervalometer remote) flips the mirror up, then the second full press opens the shutter. After the shutter closes then the mirror comes down. All that made me wonder how to program the remote timer...

1/125 of a second.

1/200. A bit better I think. Shot a ton of these.

Tried 1/320 and 1/400 but didn't like these as much.

2:56. Somewhat unsatisfying. Focus or appearance does not seem very good. Seeing was coming and going.

In the back of my mind, the whole, time I wondered about video recording. Couldn't remember if I had the Canon movie recorder app with me. On the netbook... It might be best to use lucky imaging on a night like this...

Also I kept thinking about the collimation of the SCT. I should hook up the camera and try to fix it. Oh, and check the mirror locks...

Viewed in the Tele Vue. Very nice. Stark, crisp, large disc. Very pleasing.

Very cold now. Brrr. Started shooting darks.

2:59. Recapped. Considered more targets. Over 60 items on my list. Nothing really grabbed me. Not in the mode. Caught myself yawning repetitively. Decided to wrap up. LIFO on the netbook software control

3:10. Shut down. Frost everywhere. Corrector was clean. Brought the hair dryer in from the observatory floor. Packed up gear for the house.

Shut the roof motor off. Roof worked OK tonight! Second night working well. Howled a bit at the mid-point with the deformed west rail. But the motor did not sound laboured.

Caught a bit of Scorpius rising. Nicole had told me to watch out for it!

3:18. Current conditions from the Davis console. Temp outside -5°C. Humidity 89%. Barometer 1024.1 and steady. Wind from north-west. Temp inside 20.

So, overall, happy with the evening's proceedings. Learned more about the blob in Auriga, viewed a few more RASC double stars, saw a few DSOs, and captured Mars near opposition. Thankful for the good conditions tonight.

No comments: