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About this blog

The trials and tribulations of the world's most cackhanded astronomer

Entries in this blog

 

Finally got the new mount polar aligned!

Three months ago I remounted the EQ8 in the observatory after my friend Chris made me a pier extension to raise the mount 15 cm. Unfortunately, a combination of cloudy nights, holidays, it not getting dark until early in the morning, and my lovely wife being ill has meant that it took until tonight to get the EQ8 re-polar aligned. SharpCap's polar alignment tool makes this pretty easy.  I used my Lodestar x2 mounted on a 60 mm finder/guider. I'll aim to try to see if I can get th

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

'Box of tricks' now installed and working.

The new combined 12v power hub/focus controller/USB hub is now installed on the mount head and all wired up.  I'm pleased as a really really pleased thing with it.   A billion thanks to my friend Dave Lloyd for all his help. The wiring to and from the mount now consists of just 4 cables. 12v power to the EQ8 USB to the EQ8 (EQDIR cable) 12v to the new power hub mounted on the mount head USB to the USB hub on the mount head   ount body an

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

New 'box of tricks' passes final testing

Before Christmas I decided to swap my perfectly good HitecAstro DC focus controller for an Ardunio-based system.  This would give me the flexibility to swap over to stepper motor-based focus motors at a later date.   I also wanted to bring my 12v power distribution up from the pier to sit in the middle of the dual mounting bar with my two refractors on one side and my SCT on the other.  This new arrangement should  lead to a significant reduction in the cable spaghetti I seem to constantly

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

EQ8 reinstalled with pier extension and extra counterweight

My new EQ8 mount is now back from my mate Chris.   Chris made a 15cm high pier extension to raise the whole kit and caboodle so that the observatory walls don't get in the way so much. Because the whole mount + cameras/filter wheel/focal reducer + counterweights weighs in at an estimated 82 kg, the pier extension is made from a solid block of 19cm diameter alumunium! With this concentration of mass, gravitational lensing will now swamp the punny effects of 9.25" mirror on the C9.25".

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

Pictures of new set up.

Since first posting details of my new set up on the Blogstronomy blog I've been literally inundated by an e mail from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales.  Mrs Trellis writes "Dear so-called Top Gear.  When are we going to get that lovely Ginger person back on Gardeners' Question Time?  P.S. Show us some pictures of your new mount, scope and camera." Who am I to disappoint my fan base?  

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

The new observatory set up takes shape.

Following an inheritance, I've taken the decision to carry out a major upgrade of the set up in my observatory. Gone is my venerable Meade 8" LX200 and in has come a Skywatcher EQ8 mount carrying a 2nd hand C9.25 and my 80ED and my 66mm ED simultaneously.  This is all held together using around 40,000 tonnes of ADM Losmandy dovetails and clamps.   Added to this is an Atik 460EX Mono CCD camera + a ZWO 8 position filter wheel with a full set of Baader RGB and narrowband filters and I am one

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

DSLR Cooler project finally started

DSLR COOLER FINALLY STARTS TO TAKE SHAPE. A couple of months ago a trip to my local tip to drop off some old batteries resulted in me 'liberating' an old mini beer fridge from the clutches of the 'Used Electrical items' skip.  Bringing it home I found out that it worked perfectly, apart from a broken door catch. After a lot of research (links below) I've ripped out the electricals and heat sink and have started constructing a DSLR cooler for my Canon 1100D.  I'll keep you posted on progress

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

Imaging from home - finally

After what feels like decades of cloud cover, last night the gods finally forgave me for whatever it was I did to displease them and I had a clear night! I decided to concentrate this rare opportunity on gathering some photons on Comet Catalina. I managed to get 17 x 120 sec guided subs at ISO 1600 (+ flats and darks) with my Canon 1100D shooting through my Orion 80ED.   The forecast for tonight looks good again. I think I'll take the opportunity to finally getting around to playing with Pla

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

 

My god, it worked!

This in the first in an undoubtedly infrequent series of ramblings from Michael Morris, unsuccessful amateur astronomer and prog rock fan. I thought I start off with a success story of sorts (lap it up now as there won't be many of these!). A couple of years ago my youngest daughter upgraded her old Windows Vista (spit) laptop to a Macbook. The old laptop sat around nontionently being a laptop for a few months before, in a desparate attempt to stop having to run Windows Vista, decided to start

michaelmorris

michaelmorris

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