Fighting the Summer Weather
I like to use this time of year to tinker with new things so when the weather finally starts to turn cooler and drier in the fall I’m ready to go. In years past I tinkered with simple imaging platforms like my little ETX-60, this year I’m getting some of my visual gear some TLC and upgrading my imaging kit.
On the visual side of things I’ve been refurbing my homemade 16.5” f/6.5. The scope itself is now in really good shape with a new coating on the mirror (thanks Clausing!), new setting circles, 60mm finder, and laser pointer. I’ve also modified my classic Meade 2045S with a laser pointer and mounted it on a spare DS-2000 mount. The idea is to use the GoTo on this scope to point its laser at a target in the sky, and then to match it with either the finder or laser pointer on the 16.5”. I’ve been star-hopping since the 60’s, but the narrow field of view of this big scope (about 0.4 degrees) makes it a challenge. I’m curious to see if a laser-designator helps.
On the imaging side I did a silly thing; I went out and bought an Atlas EQ-G. This is really outa my price range, but I was dying of curiosity and since I bailed on my attempt to buy a Lightbridge 16 I took the dive. The Atlas is a beast! On the day it arrived I managed to get it all set up and even took a series of test images with my DSLR and SC8 riding on it, but I really need to take a step back and spend some time getting it ready. I bought Starry Night Pro for controlling the mount from inside my house and I’ve got that up and running (at least it slews around sitting next to my computer inside). Long story, but if anyone needs help doing this let me know as there are a few wickets you need to pass through. Last on my short list is making sure that the polar scope is aligned and modifying a small hand truck to help me move the mount in & out. On my slightly longer list is setting it up for autoguiding. I’ve got the GPUSB and interface cable on order from ShoeString and a spare DSI Pro for use as a guide camera, so I’ll soon have all the parts.
Now all I need is a dry, clear, cool night!