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Doesn't time fly...



Busy night. Installed the Atik software on the society laptop and managed to take some grainy pictures. The installer has an ordering problem in that the apps fail to install correctly as the drivers don't install before them, and the driver install that happens after doesn't work or doesn't install the right version. Using the 'update driver' feature from Device Manager and choosing the unzipped folder directly installed everything fine.

A little later, after dark, I managed to get into the dome and get the C11 pointing at M13 using a low power eyepiece. I then swapped in the Atik and tried a few 1 second shots to try and get focus. After quite a bit of FF (focus fiddling), I started seeing some star formations, much more magnified than expected! I also saw a truncation, but the realised the dome wasn't in the right place either and was cutting a bit off. All in all, it proved that it works and I will have a more formal go at a later date as I had to leave at that point.

Also, I got a chance to see through a refractor, a Williams Optic FLT110. It didn't have a finderscope, so it was plonked on an NEQ6 on an outdoor pier and roughly polar aligned, kindly done by one of the other members. The planets looked great, as did the doubles we managed to snag, however I was underwhelmed by the visual aspect on the DSOs we looked at. I realise now by experience that there is no one wonder scope, and that these scopes might make fine imaging scopes for DSOs, but last night, it was nowhere near as visually impressive as the C11.

Also, a very old 4'' Tal was dug out of storage and set up as well, with some members going on long nostalgic trips meadering about Hercules.

Couple of ISS passes and all in all a great, albeit cut short night at the observatory as I had to get home. When I got back, I set up my Astromaster with my new Hyperion and set about double hunting and to find M13 to compare against the much more expensive refractor from earlier. Directly overhead is more trouble than one might imagine it seems. Albireo looked great as always and I am loving the new eyepiece. I am slowly getting to grips with my scope and the new eyepiece has come at a good time, as I really appreciate it now, as I probably would not have as much a few weeks ago. M13 was a big smudge when found, but at least I found it. Will do a more formal learning viewing of the heavens from 'Turn Left at Orion' on the next available night from my garden.

Happy days, aren't clear nights nice.

ps, i really really don't get on with the 130EQ starpointer. might invest in a laser pen or even more extravagently, a finderscope.


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