Friday, October 07, 2016

prepped for first big run

OK. OK. Let's do it.

I had noted that the mini Clear Sky Chart on my John Charles desktop was looking pretty good. Both Friday and Saturday. It was looking clear. Examined at the full one.

The CSC for Newmarket, as of 11:44 AM Friday, showed:

cloud from 11 AM to 1 AM: 10, clear
trans from 3 PM to 10 PM: 4, above average
from 11 PM to 1 AM: 3, average
seeing from 4 PM to midnight: 2/5. poor
from 1 to 2: 3/5, average

The Clear Sky Alarm Clock had sent me an alert for Toronto at 2:18 PM. Then one came in, at 3:24, for BWG.

Since I did not feel like going to the observatory...

Did I hear Rhonda in the hall?

I pulled the trigger.

I could complete many things. I considered some objectives:
  • test the Kendrick tent
  • air out said tent
  • test Nicole's mount, fully, properly
  • test the focuser (and spacer) from Phil
  • do some "deep" work in back yard
  • show Rhonda the sky, at last
Ian W had loaned me his Kendrick test to try in the backyard. I was curious to see if it could improve my backyard observing experience. While checking my notes or at the eyepiece, I was hoping it would block stray light from the neighbours porches and backyards. I also wanted to have a shelter to quickly cover and protect gear at the end of the evening (dew? light rain? intense sunlight?), when planning double or multi-night sessions. And if it could get things out of sight... that would be good too.

When Ian had showed me the tent at the CAO, I had detected it needed airing out. That had been on my list to do as well. Being able to set it up in the back yard for a few days should help.
Instrument: Celestron 8-inch SCT
Mount: Celestron CGEM
Method: slewing and tracking
I kept thinking about Nicole's misbehaving Celestron CGEM. It had seemed to work as required at the end of August, but I really felt I needed to try again. Do a full shakedown. A full field test. Under load.

It had been so long that I had used my C8. Once I had decided, I was excited. It would be fun to use it. Such a long time... Too long.

It occurred to me that I had never used the C8 with the Williams Optics focuser (and spacer). This evening I could test it, finally.

Found Rhonda in the hall. Asked if she was gonna be around tonight. Or tomorrow. I was going to set up the telescope. She was very happy to hear the news! Her daughter sounded interested too.

Asked if I could plug in at her deck. Grabbed my long extension.

I set up the Kendrick tent. Was mildly anxious as I unpacked everything, wondering how to assemble it. Had I made notes anywhere? Evernote? Where did the poles go? I winged it. I assumed the longest pole went at the centre line. The other two seemed essentially the same length. Actually, it went very well. Pretty easy to construct. No hitches. I decided to worry about the fly later. Again, I wanted to air things out. And I did not want the inside of the tent to get overly warm.

Found it a little odd that the inner flaps did not have ties near the top. When Rhonda shared that she did not have clothes pins, I dove into the cellar to find mine. Spotted the work tools squeeze spring clamps bag! Perfect.

Put my little camping picnic table in the sleeping end of the tent. Well spaced! It looked like it would be a good workstation.

Set out the special carpet Ian had provided inside the tent, the observing end, of course. For under the tripod. It fit nicely under the CGEM pod at the height I decided to use. Sweet.

Mounted the mount. Connected to my computer power supply unit. Borrowed some counterweights. Ready to go.

Does Nicole not have a data cable? Wow. I'd have to drive the mount by the hand paddle! Weird!

Readied to install the Celestron 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. My C8 was configured for the old Vixen Super Polaris of course, before dovetails, with the OTA rings. The rings are normally fairly close together. I grabbed the Orion wide-to-narrow dovetail adapter from Geoff's gear. Found a green Vixen plate or bracket. It was not a modern dovetail and not beveled. I saw that the wide-to-narrow adapter would not grip it properly but I tightened it down as best as possible.

Pulled off the corrector cover. It was tight. Oh yeah! Forgot about adding the artificial cork to the lid. It works great!

Observing chair. Pulled the dew shield from the tripod case (flocking paper is pealing away). Eyepiece case from the car. John Repeat Dance. Astronomy case α primus. Lawn chair—in case I wanted a comfy seat. Borrowed the Celestron 25mm E-lux.

Installed Kick-Me-Nots. Grabbed the LED ice cubes.

Kendrick observing tent in backyard, looking in the north door

Installed the Kendrick solar filter! Wow. Long time for this too!

Kendrick observing tent in backyard, looking in the east door

Wow. I like the tent.

It was a rather nice day. Warm. A cloudless sky.

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