Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jovian exhibition (Mississauga)

Very fun evening.

4:30 PM, Fri 23 Jan 2015. Cut out of work. The lads wanted me to join them for a end-of-week debrief. Just one drink. Nope! I'm on a mission. Sorry. Have fun!

5:52 PM. I was very surprised to secure a local AutoShare ride. Not the closest, but still.

7:18. Arrived the dos Santos kitchen.

Almost immediately, I fired up SkyTools and started configuring telescopes. I added Tony's SCT, Elaine's big refractor, and finally the little refractor. Add camera details, finally, after scouring the web, and Yahoo!Groups, for specs.

Phoned the CAO. Gave a number where I could be reached, if they had any trouble.

Elaine reviewed the webcam operation and quickly demo'ed the software installed on Tony's laptop.

After a fantastic dinner by Tony and wonderful dessert by Elaine, we headed out back. He let me loose.

First order of business was dew preventing. I pointed out all the frost to Tony. He fetched the DSLR lens cap while I installed the dew cap on the SCT.

I aligned the Celestron CGEM 11's finderscope and Telrad, using the Moon. Used an eyepiece to centre on targets. Tony and I connected the USB Chameleon colour camera (CMLN-13S2C-CS) and started to play with the FlyCapture camera software. First exposure to this app. Adjusted the brightness and related settings. Set up a new folder. Verified there was lots of hard disk space.

The software was displaying the recording dialog but after setting it the first time, it was not letting me change it. After rebooting the Dell, I got the recording to work and played back the video test files to verify. 1200 frames per run. AVI video format. Mild drifting but it was OK. Seeing looked really good.

Tony spotted my 2" mirror diagonal and asked if he could use it. He put it on the TEC 150.

The seeing was quite good. The cloud bands were mottled with ragged edges.

9:44. Took a break. I participated in an e-vote, followed-up with new president (who seems unwilling to drive south), agreed to a new (sorta) committee member to the CAO, and asked a question about a CAO group event.

10:35. We spotted Callisto's shadow. Very nice. Down the middle, very nearly on the equator.

11:39. I spotted, in the wonderful TEC view, the little bite of Io's shadow appearing. It took a moment for Tony to see it.

Io's shadow also near the equator.

11:56. Watched Io merge into the planet's disc, then become a tiny bump, then disappear. Very good seeing.

12:11 AM, Sat 24 Jan 2015. During a warm-up break, messaged Katrina. Told her I too wanted to get to the CAO. Craving dark skies.

12:45 AM. It was super-cool watching Io's small fast-moving shadow merge into Callisto's. That was a first!

1:26 AM. The main event was coming up. Callisto merged into the planet. Clouds were holding off.

1:31 AM. Europa's shadow appeared. Woo hoo! Three shadows. Another first!

Europa's shadow was not in-line with the others. It was touching or very near the south equatorial belt.

It was fascinating seeing Callisto "parallel" to the shadow, looking like another shadow itself. It was in the north equatorial belt. Yet another first.

And then the clouds rolled in. What incredible luck. What incredible timing. We packed up, covered the gear.

Inside, I tried to figure out the AVI files. I could not seem to figure out what was going on. Registax 6 would not open, or at least display the frames, in some of the AVI files (the big ones, unfortunately, with most of the frames). That was a little disappointing. Tony really wanted to post something...

When they said it was 4 AM, I almost jumped. No wonder I was having so much trouble. We crashed.


Attempted assembly on 11 Feb. Artefacts.

Tried again on 28 Feb. Better.

Assembled an image again on 1 Mar. Best yet.

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