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24/08/2021. Quick session before the clouds rolled in First tryout of pushto with encoders. Some doubles...



First session for 12 days. A short one because I could see clouds slowly approaching and the moon would be up shortly (but not visible from my garden).

Set the telescope up far earlier than last time and allowed it to cool with the covers on. As it was still nice and light I attached the latest version of the encoder mount and zip tied the processor and power supply to it. I set up at the south south west end of the garden with the intention of looking at some doubles near and in Cassiopeia and giving the encoders their first real test and trying out my new book:


The book finder views are aligned to astronomical North which for some reason I am having difficulty getting my head around.  How else would they be oriented? Why am I finding it disorienting? 

Eta Cas:

Easily found just using the Rigel.

White primary - Orange (to me) secondary at 5 o'clock (dob view).  Wide separation - obvious at 24mm (53X).  Seeing not great - more magnification didn't really make things any clearer. Had a quick look at Jupiter (just visible) and that was a blurry mess - should I have given the scope more time to cool or was it seeing?

Sigma Cas:

First PushTo. Need to read the instructions again but couldn't align to Eta Cas after picking up a pointing error. But just moved scope to the same offset away from Sigma Cas and it was the brightest star in the 53x view. Cool but not ideal...

Tighter double - no split at 53x. In fact it was difficult to see it was a double at that mag with positioning errors over the eyepiece and coma if away from the centre of view masking the bulge in the primary. Split was clear by 18mm (70x). Stars similar white blue colour - primary maybe bluer?

Messed around with pushto and encoders for a while at this point testing. Feels like I'm wasting good observing time but I need to do it if I want to complete them.

Polaris: (In focus for once!)

Seeing seemed to have improved as was spotting signs of airy disk in the primary at higher mags and  the secondary a lovely sharp pinprick of light. Obvious even at 50x.

 Collimation looked loads better than last time (maybe more contrast?) but totally forgot to test in situ with the Cheshire.

Moon was up now and washing out the sky but was not visible from my location. I could also see clouds approaching...


Aligned again on Polaris and Caph and tried a pushto to M81. Was in view at 8mm (160x) Wow! Hope that's repeatable...  No real shape was visible (unlike in the past with this scope) due to the moon and probably Jupiter washing it out. It looked like a mini Andromeda. The sky was basically blue at this point!


Final Pushto to Kochab.  Lovely Yellow bright star - no visible Airy disk but nice symmetrical twinkle.


Dob action feels sticky. Not really noticed before but now I'm trying to do sub degree pushto moves it's more of a pain. Both Axis - seek advice!

Need to mask light from micro controller and power source.

Need to work out how to take decent notes - have a method and stick to it.

Book is excellent - need to work out finder views if I'm going to use it as a star hopping guide which looks like it would be part of the fun. Would be a bit of a waste just to use it as a list of interesting targets and use PushTo.  I'm really loath to mark it with pencil too - it's too pretty!

Moon and Clouds push me indoors:



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