Friday, March 7, 2014

Woohoo! Clear Skies!

Not flawless, but I rolled out the telescope, and I am letting it cool.

UPDATE: I was primarily verifying that the digital setting circles are working correctly, because I have had some problems with these before.  At the same time, the user interface is different (and maybe not quite as good) as the DSCs on my equatorial mount. 

This was not a good night for deep sky objects -- a half Moon does a pretty good job of washing out almost everything faint.  I was able to verify that the DSCs worked for M42, which was bright enough that I could have found that without any help.  I told the DSCs to direct me to M42, and it put it right in the field of view.  But planets?  It was wildly incorrect.  Worse, the list of stars that is supposed to appear for setting the DSCs in the coordinate system starts with Polaris -- and that was not on the list.

I talked to Dennis Steele, who built this scope, and it turned out the DSCs were still set for equatorial mount mode.  I changed this setting, and now Polaris appears in the star list.  I'm hoping we have good enough weather tonight to verify this experimentally.

I also need to move the counterweight that slides and down the struts to be on the back of the mirror cell.  Putting the camera into position of course made the telescope nose heavy.  There is no way that a counterweight on the struts can fix that, because this just adds more weight above the balance point.  I had misassembled the front ring when I first put this together, so that the eyepiece and DSC controller are on opposite sides of the telescope.  I'll do all of this as one operation this afternoon.

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