Monday, October 12, 2020

ran the 74 during Mars Madness (Richmond Hill)

Rhonda and I travelled to the David Dunlap Observatory so to arrive around 7:00 PM. I wanted lots of time to set up. Denise was heading to the dome when we arrived.

I had her help me with dome prep, telescope setup, and camera steps.

We had a scare when I couldn't get the MallinCam Universe camera going. Had I damaged it? Had it been damaged during the previous test run? When Ward and started playing with it on the bench, it started working. He operated the TEC cooling switch. That was weird.

And then we were concerned when my computer would not run the OBS Ninja links. Wasn't just my computer, actually. The RASC laptop didn't respond either. Somehow, more black magic, the links started working. A few minutes before the 9:00 PM go-live. Crikey.

After that, it was pretty smooth sailing.

RASC DDO Mars Madness title card

Focus was off at the beginning but it was hard to improve upon with the low elevation and bad seeing.

Rhonda and I got Mars looking better later in the program.

I did live talking for the Mars Madness program. Four segments in total. Used three of my prepared scripts. Discussed orientation (got it wrong first time). Turned out that south was up. Discussed visible features. Did some flag waving and a plug for MallinCam.

11:30 PM. Wow. It worked with Denise shooting from the hip, Andrew in Calgary, Celia monitoring in the Warm Room, Ward up top with Denise, and Rhonda helping in so many ways (including centring and focusing). Intense evening.

The 'scope worked great.

After the show, I went to Uranus. It was pretty soft. But colourful.

We did a hybrid shutdown assuming a return in less than 24 hours...

Long night. I was exhausted.


Another first for me: having the OTA so low in the east, almost to the point of touching the dome walkway. Had to use the tallest ladder to work at the spectrograph.

I understand we had a decent turn out and good interactions in the YouTube chat.

I installed a ring into the MCU cooling grill for tethering.

During a break, I put a new larger piece of red film on the finder scope TV.

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