Lloyd Merrill's Blog
Observation Logs

September 2008
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Spot On!
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 8:57 pm

My hand controller read Sept 10.  That was the last time I was at the scope.  Between the weather and the brightening moon I hadn’t been out.  It’s been a long day but I did what to get out and get in a few observations.  It’s great that its getting dark earlier.  I started out by syncing on Altair.  The initial slew brought me very close.  From there I went to globular M15 and then onto M2 which was slightly larger and brighter.  Next I slewed to the Saturn Nebular C55.  As with most planetary nebula’s they appear as a small out of focus star in the Nagler 17.  There was a distinct blue/green hue. Moving south I went to M72 which was very faint and hazy. Next was the open cluster M73 which appeared small but with stars visible. Next, I did a GOTO M31 and it ended up directly in the middle of the field of view.  One last object was M103 before parking the scope for the night.

Many times with this mount I have at least one or two problems. But tonight everything was spot on!  What a pleasant change.

Start time 8:25 End time 8:54. 

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Persistent Problem
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 11:56 am

On my last outing I parked my scope using the Autostar Hand Controller panel. It appeared to work but when I powered up the scope last night and slewed to Vega the scope headed a spot in the west and below the horizon.  I’m going to have to go to some of the Yahoo groups and see if others have had this problem.  After attempting a simple two star alignment on Altair and Deneb I received an alignment failure message.  I redid the procedure and received a 59′v and 8′> success.  I’m going to check my polar alignment using WCS on my next venture out.  I’ve just downloaded the DSI version of the program.

After that frustration all I did was to stay within Lyra and checked out Epsilon Lyra and M57. This time I parked the scope using 497 hand controller.


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Short night
Filed under: Astronomy
Posted by: Lloyd @ 11:14 am

Again last night was very clear.  I had only 2 goals last night. The first was to re-observe the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) in Draco that I had seen the night before and then view Mu Cephei in the Cepheus constellation.
My son Bruce reminded me that we had viewed the Cat’s Eye in 32 inch Dob at Stellafane the month before and the color detail were spectacular.  To get there I synced up on a star in Draco and then slewed over to the Cat’s Eye. I had started out with the Nagler 17MM that gave me 60X but I wanted a closer view at 105X.  The view was great.
My next target on this short night was Mu Cephei.  Over the last few nights I had been reading about the star in two columns in the latest Astronomy magazine. Glenn Chaple’s recommendation was to look at the white star Alpha Cephei first and then go immediately to Mu.  This allows for the best comparison and shows just how red Mu is. This was a very pleasing sight.

Just when I though everything was going right I commanded the scope to park from the Hand Controller panel of Autostar.  I though the scope was taking a little too long to park and looked over at it.  The scope was headed down below the horizon and the only way I could stop it was to turn off the mount. It had been working fine up until then.

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