Friday, October 28, 2016

#68 - Friday, October 28, 2016 - More mount troubles

It was partly cloudy when I left the house, but since it was a Friday night and I was desperate to get out and image again, I decided to take my chances.  Club member Bob was there working on some maintenance, and I was chatting with him while I was getting set up, so it took a while.  Then, while I was trying to polar align, I accidentally touched the dec cable, and it started high-speed slewing due to shorting out the shielding, so I had to shut it down and restart.  Then I had to re-adjust the tripod because I wasn’t pointed north enough.  Then I was trying to find a good star to use; I wound up just using Fomalhaut, which is low but mostly south-southeast right now.  After finally getting it polar aligned and re-aligned, I attached the cameras, focused them, calibrated guiding, and at last started imaging NGC 7331 and the galaxies of the Deer Lick Cluster.  I thought I was going to be able to fit the little group down and to the left of 7331 in as well, but it was not to be.  The sky had partially cleared up; it looked pretty good up high and to the east, but crappy westward.  The north cleared up a bit by the end of the hour and a half of NGC 7331 imaging, so I moved to M81, but then clouds came over that.  Finally, after midnight, the Orion Nebula was high enough, so I figured I’d grab a few 5-minute exposures on it to see what it looked like, but then clouds rolled in, plus I tapped that cable again and it jumped.  Not far, but still it jumped.  It was getting cold, and I needed to get up at 8 AM on Saturday, so I covered it up and called it a night at around 1 AM, leaving it set up for Saturday night’s Member’s Night in case it happened to clear up.
The Deer Lick images ended up being slightly out of focus, had some high, thin clouds, and I forgot to take biases.  So I deleted them.

Also, the dec motor sounded kind of terrible – it usually has some ‘wee-ooo-wee-ooo’ sound, but it was much more severe this time, mainly as it flipped over, and then less so once it was closer to the horizon.  I understand that happening with an eyepiece attached – I balance it for having the camera attached – but even with the camera it sounded pretty bad.

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