Well from 7:40p.m. tonight until around 9:15p.m. I spent the evening training at my club with a fellow member and our trainer (my club is the Salt Lake Astronomical Society or SLAS) on the 16 inch or 40cm Ealing Classical Cassegrain telecope that has CCD imaging capabilities (see the images below). At the training we reviewed the checklist that goes for using the scope, that allows any member who is trained on it to use it safely and effectively. We began by preparing the bay to be opened. and then opening the bay. There is a finder on the telescope that requires everything to be done right, or you could damage the finder or the scope itself because it only has about 2 1/2 to 3 inches of clearance on the scope.
After the bay was opened we were taught how to use the two clutches to moe the scope. We learned what was considered the neutral position for the scope and to make sure that the mirror was ALWAYS pointed to north so that it never was pointed down. Want to guess why we want that? While operating the cluthes to move RA and Dec. it was important to remember to put some tension back on each clutch so the scope didn't not move around freely. One cool feature is on this scope when you move it back into the closing position, if you try to move it too far for the RA or Dec. an alarm sounds telling you that you've gone to far. Very cool feature.
One of the key movements on this scope is Swapping the Meridan. This allows you to use the scope safely looking either east or west and to the NW, W, or SW or SE, E or NE. It is actually pretty easy to accomplish.
Lots of things on this scope to do while tracking, yes, it has tracking. You MUST make sure the clearance between the parts of the scope and the railing at the top ladder or the scope could be damaged. One has to watch while observing that if you approach a west or east to far, that you have to do a meridian swap to keep observing that object/target.
Here are the specifications for the Ealing. It comes from the University of Utah where it was basically collecting dust and not being used. The Ealing is a 16 inch Cassegrain on torque tube (German equatorial) mount. The focal length on this telescope is 200". The magnification is 168x with teh default eyepiece. Field of View is equal to 1/2 degrees with the default eypiece.
There is a 5" Maksutov that is used for correct and inverted images. The focal length on this finder is equal to 1540mm (60 degrees). The magnification on this scope is equal to 38 x with the default 40mm Plossl eyepiece. FOV is 1 degree with the default 40mm Plossl EP.
Finder for the Maksutov is for correct and erect image. The size is 6x26mm and the FOV is 6.3 degrees. There is alos a 15x70 finder for correct and inverted image with a FOV of 3.3 degrees. A 7x50 finder for correct and inverted image with a FOV of 9.4 degrees. Finally there are two telrad finders with the 5 degree bull's eye.
I'll load up the stock photos from the club here, but I will take my digital camera with me tomorrow to take some pictures and post here. Wonderful night it was and such a joy to use. I can't wait til tomorrow night when we are actually going after targets. It also means I can do astrophotography or better yet, sketch from here.
Bruce Grim for who the 32mm Reflector at SPOC (see below) is named after. I believe he is one of the key members who helped to restore the Ealing. Here you can see the Ealing at his house before it was taken to its current home. Now that is a nice size scope!
Here is the Ealing fully installed and ready to go on one of those cool or cold northern Utah nights. I'll take pictures and post tomorrow. You can see the bay here that was made just for this scope. I am SO looking forward to sketching the moon, planets and DSO's from this scope. I firmly believe that this is one of the most underused privileges and benefits of being a member of our club. Check out the link below to the 32 inch reflector also. That will be my next training. All this for $25 membership and then another $25 for a key to use these tremendous scopes when you want AFTER you have completed the training that is FREE that the club offers. So whether it is with SLAS if your a member or with your own local club that may have scopes for you to use, get out there and learn how to use em so you can get time on them!
Stansbury Park Observatory Complex or SPOC Think of the character from Star Trek, Spok. That is how you say the nickname. That link will show you the complex and the three scopes that are there. I am also trained on the Brandt 200mm or 8 inch refractor.
In case you don't see them, here is the Grim Reflector which is a 32 inch Reflector with the mirror made by SLAS member who owns a company called Nova located about 5 minutes from my home.
The Grim waiting for installation of its 32 inch primary mirror. Notice how tall this scope is. The second picture shows Bruce Grim (who is a tall man) looking at the scope at first light (I believe). This is my next project to get trained on!