Thursday, September 26, 2019

#217 - Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - Smooth Sailing

After biking home from campus after my quantum mechanics class, I did the now-usual routine: drop off stuff inside, head straight to backyard, uncover scope and plug stuff in.  I also brought my DSLR on a tripod outside again for an other attempt at the all-night timelapse.  On the hand controller for my Celestron AVX mount, I set the slew limit in RA to be -5 degrees on each side of the pier so that even if my tablet dies or crashes, it will stop tracking before it goes far enough over for my giant filter wheel to hit the tripod, or the dec axis to slip.  Now it's (mostly) foolproof!

With the now-much-faster plate solving software, the first target of the night (Eastern Veil Nebula) was slewed to and centered, and autoguiding activated, before the camera even finished cooling down to -15C.  😀 My Surface 3 tablet was charging just fine this time, so Monday night's battery drain must have just been a fluke.  I was hands-off the system by 9 PM!  So glorious.

It ran smoothly and parked itself around 5:15 AM, when the waning moon was roughly 20 degrees high.  Even the passing clouds managed to stay away from where it was pointing.  

The timelapse went well too -- check it out!

If you watch closely, you can see the streaks of the raccoons and squirrels running across my fence 😮

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