Tuesday, August 30, 2016

not so clear (Blue Mountains)

Sal asked me about our CCD camera. Indeed, he could use it. A good reminder that I still need to get up to speed on it.

Remounted the Tele Vue 101.

8:47 PM. Monday 29 August. Finished homing. Headed to Saturn.

Rhea, Tethys, Dione were nearly in a perfectly straight line on one side of the planet. Titan was on the other.

It was cool this evening.

Sal dropped by. Ian D popped in. Seeing was poor. He pointed out the Cassini Division to Sal.

Dessert o'clock!

Had another look at Saturn. Spotted Iapetus. Briefly I thought I had seen Hyperion; no, it was a star.

9:15 PM. Rhea 9.8, Tethys 10.3, Dione 10.2, Iapetus 11.0. Random star 11.6.

Didn't feel like doing photography like last night. Maybe TTT, later. It would be dark. Good for galaxies.

We had an appointment to meet at the Dob at 10:00 PM. So to view HD 164595.

Almost at astro twilight. Turned the lights down.

Ian W poked his nose in.

Sal visited. Curious what everyone was doing. I asked his plans. Maybe star trails.

My impressions of θ (theta) Cygni. Yellowy bright star. Orangey star to the right or west. Actually, that was not related. It is HR 7465. θ is a quad. I did not think the primary was round. A and B were 2.9 seconds of arc apart, easy, but very different magnitudes.

Noted a completely different system to the left or east. Oh. That was R Cyg. Strange designations.

I looked for the 18mm ocular. Did see it. Assumed it was in the other 'scope.

9:37. Viewed with the 18mm. Seeing was bad. C was slightly further away that D. C was almost due south; D was north-east. Could not seem to split A and B.

ST3P showed a star marked as B way off to the east. When I hovered over it, the designation SAO 31823 appeared in the status bar. When I double-clicked it, the software said it was part of a double. With R as the primary. R was 91" away, to the south. Whoa. Very dim. I noted a triangle of dim stars, including GSC 03564-1114, further south. They were all between mag 12 and 13. R Cyg was dimmer. It was brighter than the mag 15.6 star GSC -1054. An amazing range.

Reviewed my old notes.

Looked again. Zoomed in with the software. The value on hovering did not correspond to the chart representation.

10 minutes to go.

Considered SAO 87428 from my View Again list. Slewed.

Headed out to the Observing Pad and chatted with Ian W.

He shared some interesting information on a new organisation.

We returned to the Warm Room to get some data about HD 164595. HIP and SAO numbers.

SkyTools produced an error when I tried to slew. Went to Sadr. Tried again. Same error. So I switched to TheSky6 and tried the slew. Error: "Mount is at a minimum or maximum position limit and cannot be slewed. This error may be the result of improper synchronisation..." Oh. I had synced before. That must of messed something up. Never let a telescope know you're in a hurry. Rehomed. That's just great. What are we gonna do now, man? Slewed. Didn't look right. Ian thought it different than where he landed with him imaging rig. Bad pointing.

The target star was in a triangle. ξ (xi) is 92. ν (nu) is 94. Slewed to 92. No joy. Gah. Parked. Slewed. That's where we were before. Parked again. Ian powered off. Up. Homed. Chose a known-good. M13. Ian centred. Then I synced. Searched for the star. Slewed. Different field this time... Ian said, "That's it." We wondered how many amateur astronomers were looking at that star right now. Only 95 light-years away.

B was a faint star to the right or east. A was mag 7, B was mag 13.

10:26. I considered a nearby target.

Sal set up his camera but he saw some clouds. He was intrigued by the audio confirmations from SkyTools.

Ian D said hello. Told him I was on the "alien" star. Discussed the "Where were you on..." scenario. Sal said he looked it up. Might be a natural phenomena.

Connected SkyTools.

I headed to a challenging planetary nebula. Campbell's Hydrogen Star. Again.

I have tried many times to view this object...

10:27. The 18mm was in the C14. The 27mm was in the TV101. That's why the FOVs were messing me up.

I wanted the 10mm. Not out yet. I looked for a 1¼" O-III filter. As I suspected, none. Wondered if someone else had one. Oh. I could use my 2" PowerMate...

Very interesting. I kept thinking I should image it. Why not?! Looked for my t-ring. Found the nose piece. Oh. Maybe I never brought it out. Yep. Mated the bits. Removed the lens. Mounted the adapter pieces. Set up the USB-ethernet 2.0 adapters.

11:00. Realised I should be testing Nicole's mount. This time I had an OTA installed with counterweights. So a normal or typical configuration. Crikey. I had install the tube the wrong way. Fetched a mirror (GBO) and eyepiece (mine). Initiated again a test on M31. After the calibration, it was bang-on: the centre of galaxy on the cross-hairs.

Sal returned. Noted my camera on the C14.

11:15. Proceeded with my imaging setup. Expected the software to launch. Tried manually. EOS Utility was not giving me options. Of course, the camera had gone to sleep. Crashed. Launched it again. OK. Took camera control. Slewed to a bright object. Chose Vega again. Ugh. Manual focusing. Oh boy. "If you wanna do it right..." I headed to the house and retrieved the laptop. Set up the computer control of the Optec TCF-S focuser.

Did a test shot. Image transfer was quick.

11:32. Imaged this elusive planetary nebula. Very interesting colour.

Campbell's Hydrogen Star in Cygnus

North is up; east is left. Canon 40D, Celestron 14 SCT, f/11, 30 seconds, ISO 1600, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused, DPP.

11:40. Tried longer exposures. Did a couple more at 30 seconds.

Checked on Nicole's mount carrying a Celestron 11-inch. Working well. Andromeda was on the edge of the field, not centred. But that was due to my rough polar alignment. Tapped and bumped. Did not jump.

Chose next target. Minkowski's Footprint. Often added from an auto-generated SkyTools observing list. Another tough visual object.

A funny shape. It was not round. A blob. No colour. Just white. Small. Very small.

Minkowski's Footprint in Cygnus

North is up; east is left. Canon 40D, Celestron 14 SCT, f/11, 60 seconds, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused, DPP.


Added the meridian line to the SkyTools chart.

12:05. Slewed to δ (delta) Cygni. Shot an image. I could see the C star no problem. A and B were not separated. PPM 58769 is to the right or west.

delta Cygni with the C component visible

North is up; east is left. Canon 40D, Celestron 14 SCT, f/11, 15 seconds, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused, DPP.

Went to 5 seconds to draw and expose the A and B stars. No luck.

Sal popped in. Showed me his light painting with the Milky Way in the background. Very nice! I too have wanted to do that. He was done.

Next up. SAO 87428. I have not been able to see the H star. It was not visible in my 5 or 10 second shots. It appeared when I doubled the shutter time.

B is above A. C is above and left of B. D is the faint star to the right of A and B. G is easily spotted left of A. Dim H is above G.

multi-star system SAO 87428

North is up; east is left. Canon 40D, Celestron 14 SCT, f/11, 20 seconds, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused, DPP.

More clouds.

Checked the CGEM. Again, not bad. Andromeda was still visible in the eyepiece (though it had drifted slightly).

What about Lyra? What about Sulafat, aka γ (gamma) Lyr? Another View Again. I had not spotted the B star. OK. Let's try.

Got it. Very dim compared to the primary. Fantastic. In-line with TYC 02643-1481 1 to the north-west.

double star Sulafat in Lyra

North is up; east is left. Canon 40D, Celestron 14 SCT, f/11, 10 seconds, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, RAW, manually focused, DPP.

Done. Tired. I began to shut down. Disconnected SkyTools.

12:30. A car drove up... A member arriving late? Was it Kenneth?

I closed the roof. Packed up some gear, thinking of the get-away tomorrow. The GBO equipment and Nicole's. Dehumidifier. USB-ethernet. Camera gear. Laptop. GBO eyepieces. My camera adapters.

Noticed red lights moving outside.

12:59. Exited the GBO.

Noted a vehicle driving along the road west...


Forgot to shoot darks.

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