Well, the weather somewhat cleared out today. There is a lot of high cirrus clouds so I am not counting on much observing. Perhaps in Ursa Major. My goal today was to fix my intelliscope not working. To do this I adjusted the altitude controller so the know and screw on the knob fit really well. I then did another encoder test and found the azimuth was coming in at between 130 to 135 so I did a slight adjustment and that is fine. So the intelliscope should work tonight if I can get two stars to align with . . . I hope.
I also picked up an Astrosystems Dob cover and an Astrosystems Dew Shield for my Telrad. The dew shield really makes the Telrad stick up on the 4 inch riser I use as seen in this photo:
The Telrad now reminds me of one of those droids that were on the Death Star that Chewie growled at and it sped away.
Anyway, here is the XX14i in the backyard if anyone is interested in seeing it from here. Yes, I need to mow the yard but it had snow on it this weekend and last night. It melted off today.
So it is from my fellow SLAS member Steve Fisher that I got the Telrad Dew Shield and I also got a Astrosystems Cover for the dob. It is rather large since it is meant to cover a rocker box but the drawstrings (can't see in the photo) I drew together after taking my pictures and it secured the cover around the base of the dob. Here are some photos:
I'm concerned about the bottom a little and will have to decide if this will work or if I should go down from the 14 to the 12. Lots of extra on the bottom but it does pull up so I'm not worried about dew or anything getting into the area. Its that particle board on the Orion based that I worry about. I'll have to think it over for a day or so. If you have a thought, please let me know. The one for our Obsession fits really snug in the observatory.
One item that I discovered today that could be an issue on the XX14i. On the truss poles where they attach to the lower OTA, the knobs on the poles are held in place by some split washers. I had a washer fall out at Pit n Pole but luckily I was using my rubber/carpet mat that is in these photos and it stuck out. I picked it up and today I was able to easily put it back into place. So not a huge deal, but I would watch for that in the field.
Edit/Report: Well, I tweaked the intelliscope and it worked like a charm tonight. Spot on. I think because I separate the top part of the base from the bottom part at times I will need to gently tweak the intelliscope in order to keep it running well. Is it necessary? Nope, I can and do star hop more but for those short sessions (like tonight, when the moon is out) it can increase my productivity.
I spent some time on the waxing gibbous moon tonight. Tyco in the the 7mm Pentax XW and the 10mm Pentax XW was thrilling. I enjoyed Copernicus, Clavius and I think, not sure, I need to look this up, Hainzel. It was early in the evening and I spent some time just gazing at these craters, moving the garbage to the street and coming back for another look. Here is my basic attempt to re-create it in GIMP. I'll post the actual sketch tomorrow in another edit.
One thing that amazed me is how washed out M-42 was. It has been a long and I mean LONG time since I have observed in a large waxing gibbous moon. I saw wonderful structure in M-42 in the Pentax XW 10mm, but there was only about one half of the nebula visible! Oh, well, I did see the Trapezium and stars E and F were there, though they would come and go if I looked away. It took direct vision to see E and averted to bring in F tonight.
So overall, I am very pleased. I fixed several things I need to on the XX14i. I tried out some new equipment and overall, I was out with a scope. Never a bad night when that happens. Well my son leaves on a trip with his choir organization in the morning (we have to leave the house at 4:00a.m to get him to the airport on time). Here's hoping all goes well with that.
I did find this article on observing Sirius B from the Winter Star Party 2011. Here is the link. The information and the movie on Sirius A and B is from Royce Optical. I think the movie is really rather cool!