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gaz81

Do you have those nights where it all goes wrong... and you just pack up for the night?

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So last night... thought excellent, weather kind of clears up later on and it’s weekend.. nice. 

I recently got a Baader modified 100D and a cheap Skywatcher filter to try out.  Also had remounted my guide scope in some little rings so it wasn’t sticking right out on the skywatcher finder one (the 9x50).  

First off found out my filter had a scratch... had it couple of weeks already, maybe I did it somehow.. Duno, but bit late now to send it back.  So thought let’s just see how it goes. 

So got set up outside... seem to be getting faster at Shapcap polar alignment with my AZ GTI, so that is always cool, try not to stop until I get excellent (garden is not flat, so always differnt when I set up). 

So after polar alignment was done... time for a little dark rum... 

Plugged in my little dew heater and all that jazz and turned it on

Now scope alignment time, tend to only need 1 star alignment. What a pain though, not sure if it’s a difference between the 50D and 100D but Vega seemed much dimmer in APT live view, so took ages.

As I had the camera and bits off and remounted the guide scope the focus was out of whack (as was aligning them in a terrestrial object in the afternoon), so took some time to get that sorted so I could see the stars in the first place. Doh. 

After all the messing though I got it aligned, flipped between Mars and Vega and Goto was all good. 

So... next fire PHD up. Here is where the next set of frustrations came. PHD just would not talk to the mount despite connecting  (had it working on my only other 2 proper imaging sessions).  Kept getting an error saying that pulse failed. 

So thought let’s try connect the mount in APT and see if that moans (I just use the SynScan app in windows for slew and Goto ). So APt connected to the mount... but failed to move it as it said it was ‘Parked’.  The unpark button just gave an error. 

In the end I had to uninstall the windows SynScan app and reinstall... then it started working.  

I think I broke it when messing with NINA, I pressed the park button and it didn’t work from there... but forgot I did that and didn’t think it would mess it up for other apps.

So thought ok... let’s go. My target was NGC7000. 

Started up PHD again... forced a proper calibration and guiding started. All good. 

Did a 200 second test... and it just didn’t look right. 

It seemed the focus was way out... which was odd as I used a Bhat mask to focus earlier. 

Looked at the scope... realised with all the time messing around with the software, the dew heater had turned itself off (was running off a USB battery... so next lesson it will run off the mains). 

So looking at the lens there was a whole load of dew gunk mess on it 😞 Maybe this was also giving me my dim stars also  

Then some bigger clouds started to drift over  

At this point... I thought I’m done for the night, was about 12:30am.  Didn’t want to start cleaning it at that time  

Put all the kit in the garage and went for another rum  

Checked the scope this morning, and the lens is a mess, so need to clean that 

So lessons learned 

1. Double check all the software is talking during the day... and while messing with ‘new software’ take extra care  

2. Maybe make a mark on the draw tube for focus

3. Pay attention to dew... in the past I must have been lucky with very dry nights 

4. Trying to get to peeved off when it all goes ‘tits up’


The set up was a SW 72ED, AZ GTI, Canon 100D, SW 9x50 finder with QHY5 guide camera (ye old one). 
 

Oh well.... will have to wait for the next clear night. 

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The other odd thing I need to play with...

with I pressed the ‘zoom’ button in APT (the one above the live view) it didn’t zoom

Think I might just reinstall everything from scratch. 

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Sometimes have a night where you forget just one or two things and it ruins the whole night. for instance one night I forgot the counterweight and scope balancing. I usually judge the counterweight position very well, but on that night my scope naturally had tracking issues all over the place, I didn't work out the reason until I was giving up, when I saw the counterweight bar and counterweight on the window sill in the conservatory.

It helps to have a run book of steps or a checklist...

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The one thing I have learned from this hobby is patience is essential.

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The thing I learned a long time ago is to keep my setups very, very simple. Therefore I don't image, I just observe with a range of very simple, low or no tech, setups.

 

 

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Oh well... all nice and clean again. 
 

Upgraded the finder shoe at the same time... as gave the screw right next to the focus wheel as just annoying. 

0079BA9D-7888-49F4-9CF6-4C8236EAB767.jpeg

888BF273-0F4D-41B5-B831-B47F94526029.jpeg

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3 hours ago, John said:

The thing I learned a long time ago is to keep my setups very, very simple. Therefore I don't image, I just observe with a range of very simple, low or no tech, setups.

 

 

Same here - no photos or equatorial mounts, although I do confess to liking the occasional use of GoTo since polluted skies make it hard to get started sometimes, and tracking is a boon, especially when you've gone up to higher mags.

And - re the original question - Yes.  Some sessions can fail dreadfully.  But the good ones more than make up for it!

Doug.

Edited by cloudsweeper
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On 11/10/2020 at 14:33, gaz81 said:

So last night... thought excellent, weather kind of clears up later on and it’s weekend.. nice. 

I recently got a Baader modified 100D and a cheap Skywatcher filter to try out.  Also had remounted my guide scope in some little rings so it wasn’t sticking right out on the skywatcher finder one (the 9x50).  

First off found out my filter had a scratch... had it couple of weeks already, maybe I did it somehow.. Duno, but bit late now to send it back.  So thought let’s just see how it goes. 

So got set up outside... seem to be getting faster at Shapcap polar alignment with my AZ GTI, so that is always cool, try not to stop until I get excellent (garden is not flat, so always differnt when I set up). 

So after polar alignment was done... time for a little dark rum... 

Plugged in my little dew heater and all that jazz and turned it on

Now scope alignment time, tend to only need 1 star alignment. What a pain though, not sure if it’s a difference between the 50D and 100D but Vega seemed much dimmer in APT live view, so took ages.

As I had the camera and bits off and remounted the guide scope the focus was out of whack (as was aligning them in a terrestrial object in the afternoon), so took some time to get that sorted so I could see the stars in the first place. Doh. 

After all the messing though I got it aligned, flipped between Mars and Vega and Goto was all good. 

So... next fire PHD up. Here is where the next set of frustrations came. PHD just would not talk to the mount despite connecting  (had it working on my only other 2 proper imaging sessions).  Kept getting an error saying that pulse failed. 

So thought let’s try connect the mount in APT and see if that moans (I just use the SynScan app in windows for slew and Goto ). So APt connected to the mount... but failed to move it as it said it was ‘Parked’.  The unpark button just gave an error. 

In the end I had to uninstall the windows SynScan app and reinstall... then it started working.  

I think I broke it when messing with NINA, I pressed the park button and it didn’t work from there... but forgot I did that and didn’t think it would mess it up for other apps.

So thought ok... let’s go. My target was NGC7000. 

Started up PHD again... forced a proper calibration and guiding started. All good. 

Did a 200 second test... and it just didn’t look right. 

It seemed the focus was way out... which was odd as I used a Bhat mask to focus earlier. 

Looked at the scope... realised with all the time messing around with the software, the dew heater had turned itself off (was running off a USB battery... so next lesson it will run off the mains). 

So looking at the lens there was a whole load of dew gunk mess on it 😞 Maybe this was also giving me my dim stars also  

Then some bigger clouds started to drift over  

At this point... I thought I’m done for the night, was about 12:30am.  Didn’t want to start cleaning it at that time  

Put all the kit in the garage and went for another rum  

Checked the scope this morning, and the lens is a mess, so need to clean that 

So lessons learned 

1. Double check all the software is talking during the day... and while messing with ‘new software’ take extra care  

2. Maybe make a mark on the draw tube for focus

3. Pay attention to dew... in the past I must have been lucky with very dry nights 

4. Trying to get to peeved off when it all goes ‘tits up’


The set up was a SW 72ED, AZ GTI, Canon 100D, SW 9x50 finder with QHY5 guide camera (ye old one). 
 

Oh well.... will have to wait for the next clear night. 

Been there, done that. Never bothered with the t-shirt. Just last night I noticed that the belt wheel of the RA motor in my AZEQ6 had started come loose (I had replaced it last week, and had probably not tightened it enough). To tighten it, I need to take the motor out, and that's definitely not a night time job. So, I just packed it in and will go out in a moment to fix it. I can just say that when you gain experience, the things that can (and will) go wrong tend to become trickier. Except for:

  • Forgetting to remove the Bahtinov mask after focusing (I never use a B-mask anymore, to avoid this. Now I have upgraded to an autofocuser that can mess up in stead.) "Where do those diffraction spikes come from?" -> "why can't I reach focus all of a sudden? It worked fine just last week."
  • Forgetting to plug in the dew heater. "Have clouds moved in over my obsy? It looks clear outside."
  • Forgetting to turn on the powered usb hub (mine has a push button on/off switch that is off in its default state) " why won't my camera connect? It worked fine just last week."
  • Forgetting to turn on the mount after maintenance. "my mount stopped slewing. It worked fine just last week."
  • Usb cables. "Where did I put the spare? Or is that the old cable , that I forgot to throw away? Last week."
  • Bumping into protruding parts of the mount/telescope while fixing any of the above, and throwing off balance or polar alignment. "Ouch! Not again."

Patience is not a virtue, it's a necessity.

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On 11/10/2020 at 15:40, PeterCPC said:

We've all been there ☹️

No, not all. I'm just heading there... ;)

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My personal experience now... when it does go wrong you learn from it. 
 

Thanka to my bad night I’ve learned a whole lot more and it’s fantastic!

Even doing more fettling this afternoon... more cable tidying and now toying with Remote Desktop. 

Edited by gaz81

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I have almost finished to complete my veeeery first rig (just waiting for mount and few other accessories). I have spent almost twice than I have expected. Reading posts like this as a newbie who is very close to start gives serious gooseflesh :D

Cheers

Edited by raf2020

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I once drove almost two hours to a dark sky site, only to realize as i was setting up that i left my eyepieces at home on the kitchen table.

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Guest

And this is why I'm purely a visual observer... 

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17 minutes ago, merlin100 said:

And this is why I'm purely a visual observer... 

Yeah, me too. I observe a lot of things going wrong. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about eye pieces. 😶 

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Reminds me of most sessions where I tried to use a goto or do polar alignment.  More times than not, I just gave up in frustration at it not working as described in the manual and packed up having not actually seen anything.  Since I ditched goto in favour of RA tracking only, just easy plain sailing all the way!  Except when I want to find that tiny faint fuzzy, then I'm often out of luck.

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On 19/10/2020 at 02:13, Sunshine said:

I once drove almost two hours to a dark sky site, only to realize as i was setting up that i left my eyepieces at home on the kitchen table.

I recall reading @Stu doing something similar...

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15 minutes ago, Captain Magenta said:

I recall reading @Stu doing something similar...

Well, I managed to lock my car keys in the boot along with all my kit, if that’s what you mean! 😱😱😭😭🤪🤪🤣🤣

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On 11/10/2020 at 17:22, banjaxed said:

The one thing I have learned from this hobby is patience is essential.

This. 

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I'm always carefully researching the weather pattern a week or two ahead of time as my car trips to dark LPZ (light pollution zones) take 5-8 hours and I'm going only once a month on a New Moon. As I have 5 preferred observing locations around my home (4 in California, 1 in Nevada) I can almost always follow the weather on the New Moon weekend into the most promising direction.

Only 4 times in almost 20 years I had major issues, which could potentially ruin my night and were tempting to leave:

Once I forgot to check local fires and been heading into the heavily smoked area,  but as I'm always connected, when spotted the huge plume on the horizon ahead, I've stopped and been able to adjust my route. So in 2 hours of extra driving got to a decent sky location a bit to the side form the original target.

Another time I've been researching the new dark location where I got a night breeze driving the moisture from a nearby lake which created an enormous dewing conditions (the water was swirling on the lower third of the 12" Dob OTA with distinct sound). Just packed quick (thanks to my cradle system) and in an hour already been setting up on the other side from it dry and cozy.

Once, during unusually cold January, I've ended up on the top of a kilometer high hill in a horrid windchill, so even my multi layered outfit, including the full skiing suit with balaclava) started failing on me. But the sky was decent as usual and in the car I had the emergency PVC storm-suit, and hand/feet warmers. That fixed the problem even though was quite restrictive to my pointing/observing flow.

Another time it was a major star party and 3 first nights out of 7 we had rain, so no way to fix that, but as I had the full scope cover I've been able to use every hole in the scattering clouds between pouring, and finally it cleared creating extremely transparent sky.

So, just be prepared and mobile.

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What a relief! I thought I was the only one messing up an imaging session due to my clumsiness. Worst thing that happened was that I dropped my Celestron C8, but that was during the day, so guess that doesn't count?

AstroRookie

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1 hour ago, BGazing said:

This. 

No, you mean this:

 

 

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Can't say I have 🙂 

 

 

But ......... I have had nights when everything goes wrong but I persevere to get it right, but it doesn't and I end up wishing I had just packed up and got some sleep.

As it has been said we have all been there, more than once. 

Only thing to take from it is that the next time things do go right is it a great feeling and makes it all seem worthwhile, those nights get forgotten.

Steve

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happened a few times, one recent where i set up my truss dob back to front. Any idea how hard it is centering a star when the finder is under the scope 🤣

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