Monday, August 26, 2019

wishful thinking (Bradford)

Wanted to sort some issues. Skies weren't great so it was a good time for experiments and little repairs.
Instrument: Celestron 8-inch SCT
Mount: Vixen Super Polaris
Method: Go To
Affixed the hook-and-loop bits on the back of the hand controller with Gorilla super-glue.

Checked the Allen key size for the Dec axis plate. 5mm, I think.

8:39 PM. I readied to get Polaris. I had moved the mount about 1 foot to the south. I had not yet raised the tripod height...

Raised it a bit.

Knocked the music stand over. Oops.

Moved the lawn chair.

8:44. Back to the computer. Kept waiting.

Could not visually see Polaris. Could not see planets to the south. Vega was fuzzy and dim.

8:48. Yesterday at this time I was able to see the North Star. Not tonight. Wondered if I should scrub.

8:50. Saw a bright north-bound satellite, blue-white, in the north-east. Really bright! Are there still Iridiums? [ed: No Iridium Flares are listed in Heavens-Above... Turned on the daytime option. Nothing in the Daily Predictions list... In Stellarium, I see that COSMOS 1500 was in the area. Also the FIA Radar 2 satellite was near but the path doesn't look right.]

Discovered that the latitude or elevation for the Vixen was close to 50 degrees! Wowzers. That's why I had significant drift! Dropped to 44.

Spotted Polaris through the finder scope, near the roof line.

9:00. Powered up the mount.

9:03. Eyeballed the polar alignment with the finder scope. Which I knew could introduce cone error.

Did a 2-star alignment with the visible points of light, Altair and Vega.

R.A. Axis report said:
15.1 higher.
69.9 west.

Quarter of an arc-minute in elevation and just over an arc-minute in azimuth. I thought that pretty good. For visual work.

With the hand controller, I slewed to Albireo.

9:05. The colourful double was visible in the eyepiece, woo hoo. At the edge mind you, of the lowest power eyepiece, but still there. I'll take what I can get.


Hooked up the computer.

Saw the flashing X right on Albireo.

9:11. Slewed to my new target, not far away in Cygnus, HR 7529.

Saw it on the edge of the field. Manually centred with the hand paddle.

9:12. Checked my notes, my double star life list pages. Lots of entries. I had not seen the C and D stars. I had seen B and F.

9:15. The bright pair was obvious. Noted a little arc thing going up, with TYC 02668-0477 1 at the end. To the far west. Magnitude 10.9. Equidistant from the middle star. Bit of a kink. Main bright stars were light orange and light blue. The faint star was a deep orange. Ah, that's the F star. F is orange. Kinda freaky.

Tried to increase the magnification.

Panned around but got lost.

Issued the slew command again. A little odd that the button said Abort Slew. But it worked...

Wanted the sky to get darker...

9:28. Couldn't do it. The C star did not emerge. The D star was way too dim. Drag. Oh well. Better than nothing.

Closed up. Tried to wipe down the inside of the observatory flap. Dusty, sandy. Oculars away. Fly back in place. Powered down the mount first (back accident, again). That killed SkyTools. Gah. Lights off.


Drunk neighbour lost control of his dog again. Not gettin' it.

[ed: Oops. Forgot the recorder. Captured night sounds for 10 hours...]

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