Monday, February 12, 2018

Supposed to be Clear Tonight

And very cold.   I figured out why the digital setting circles did not work the other  night by reading the manual.  DUH! 

I expect to hunt down the Whirlpool (M51)  tonight.

It turns out M51 was too low in the sky.  Still above the horizon, but my Dobsonian like many Dobsonans does not go all the way to the horizon.  Viewing conditions at or near the horizon are generally awful,  so why compromise the mechanical design for objects that low?

Still not tracking correctly.   Not sure if polar alignment is the issue,  but I realized my best way to get that is to roll out one of the telescopes on a Losmandy equatorial mount,  and do star drift alignment that way.   The Losmandy mounts are easy to polar align.  Once done,  mark the pavement.

I also think part the problem may be that the telescope is not perfectly normal to the Earth.  The recoating job I did last summer is far from perfect.  I plan to add one more coat of the thin surface material,  perhaps thinned a little so gravity flattens the surface to normal

I figured out how to actually find objects with Sky Commander.  You are supposed to align the first two stars at high magnification.   I cheaped  out by aligning using the finder,  which is at best within a degree.   Nor surprisingly, the results were less than perfect,  but demonstrated that it will work.  Just need to find some deep sky objects up at this time of year.

The positive to very cold is I slept very deeply; lots of calories burned.

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