Wednesday, July 31, 2019

tried for the ISS (Blue Mountains)

Wanted to try a tracked long-exposure of the International Space Station. Multi-tasking...

Prepared the Star Adventurer. Checked all the bits and bobs. Reviewed my notes.

9:35 PM. My reminder alarm went off for the ISS flyover. I headed outside to prepare the Canon camera and Star Adventurer.

Made sure the tripod was level.

Dismounted the ball head from the SA and uncovered the polar 'scope.

Grabbed the illuminator (with fresh CR 2032 battery) from the Warm Room. Installed in the little red mount.

Grabbed my phone and launched PolarFinder Android app. Waited for the GPS signals to kick in. Aligned on Polaris. Reinstalled (gently) the ball head.

9:43. Did test shots, 5, 10, and 20 seconds.

9:47. Jeff looked for us.

Relayed the flyover times. 10:13 it would start, run for 7 minutes. Mag -3. It occurred to me it would be in the northern sky, not the southern, going through the Big Dipper and heading into Cygnus. I was not aimed that way... I wanted to get Scorpius, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. I hoped the 180 degree field would include the trace.

Ed, hovering, asked about using the Star Adventurer. Yes, it was a small equatorial mount. For me, it was no more difficult than using my old Vixen Super Polaris equatorial mount.

9:52. Reframed and shot for 30 seconds.

Double-checked the ISO, f-stop, and intervalometer. Delatched the petals. Double-checked my checklist.

Everything was ready.

10:04. Ian D asked about the ISS. I relayed the numbers again. Showed him the diagram.

10:09. Paused double star hunting. Headed outside.

10:10. Started a 10 minute exposure.

southern sky over GBO and SLO

Canon 40D, Rokinon 8mm, manually focused to infinity mark, f/22, ISO 800, daylight white balance, intervalometer, 720 seconds, Star Adventurer, tripod.

Steve and Dietmar were filming in the Sue-Lora Observatory hence the stray light...

[ed: Didn't know until later. Dang! Missed it. I was aimed too far down... Should have aimed north!]

Risa and I watched the station. I picked it up low, about 10° up, in the north-east, near an airplane. Watched it climb and brighten. It split 31 and 32 Cygni!

We were scolded by the film crew team in the SLO for being too loud! Oops.

Let the camera continue shooting. So to stack some shots for the Milky Way... Considered 12 by 12. Put an entry in my calendar.

When I saw how wet everything was, I suspected the camera lens was dew-covered.

10:58 PM. Waited for a gap to check it. Yep. Soaked!

Shut down and brought the camera into the Warm Room.

11:02. Should have brought the dew heaters... I hadn't felt like bugging anyone.

12:26. Checked the camera shots. Missed the ISS. First shot was OK but second was completely fogged... Diffraction spikes.

[ed: Maybe I should keep a couple of hand warmers in astronomy case alpha primus.]

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