Saturday, March 19, 2016

#28 - Saturday, March 19th, 2016 - Some mount issues

The sky cleared up rather nicely not long after sunset, and the moon was bright but the sky was transparent enough that the parts of the sky opposite the moon were still relatively dark. I aligned using Sirius and Capella, then added Pollux and Mizar as calibration stars (Mizar because I was going to image M81 and M82, which are in the northern sky). Then I did the polar alignment using Sirius [using Celestron's All-Star Polar Alignment routine], and then went to re-add the alignment and calibration stars. I re-did Sirius and Capella, and then went to do Pollux, and it was waaaaaay off, like it was pointing northish rather than southish. I told it to go find Sirius, and it was in the trees below and to the east of it. It was also sounding like it was super-struggling with moving, more than usual (there is some struggle because I balance it with the camera attached but align it with the 25mm eyepiece, so it’s not balanced during alignment. I’m told this is okay, and just to do a Calibrate Goto after I reattach the camera). I power-cycled it, checked the time and date, power-cycled it again, changed the time (it had gotten off by a few seconds, which is usual), checked cables, everything I could think of. I tried aligning it with its super-wrong guesses anyway, but it was still way off after adding the two alignment stars. And it also moved on its own once while I was finding Sirius in the finderscope. So we packed up and left. Agh I was so looking forward to getting great images of M81 and M82, the conditions were pretty good! Even the wind had died down. I did some research today, and it looks like it might be as simple as a power issue. I looked at the specs for the power tank, and its minimum operating temperature is only 32 degrees. That’s about what it got down to last night, if not a little below that. I also suspect I might need to add some grease to the gears, but one thing at a time. Next time, I’ll put the battery in the car to keep it warm, and see if that helps.

Side note, the collimation seemed fine for the northern sky this time. I’ll just have to keep an eye on that and check for it every time.

No comments:

Post a Comment