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9/02/2013

Equipment Tune Up

I've decided that Labor Day from now on will be my astronomy equipment tune up day.  So sure enough, I took time this afternoon to tune up my equipment. I started with my mirror and it was in need of a cleaning. Using Dave Kriege's method, I did it with the mirror in the cell.  I started by putting a drop of dish soap in a gallon of distilled water. I then poured the distilled water onto the mirror which was out of the rocker and leveled, and let the water sit on the mirror. I then used some sterile cotton and swished the solution around using the cotton. I then tilted the cell and allowed this solution to drain off the mirror. I then rinsed the mirror with two gallons of distilled water, and then laid down paper towels soak up the water and then allowed the mirror to air dry without any spots! Worked like a charm and the Zambuto looks great now!

Next, on the cell and rocker I noticed a couple of dents in the wood so I filled them up with putty, and sanded and re-sealed with polyurethane after the putty dried.  Next I adjusted the base of the scope and applied some Sailkote on the azmuith and a little on the altitude. I cleaned the rocker and the mirror cell wood areas and got the dust gone and put some lemon oil to restore some of the shine. I cleaned up the Alt bearings and after cleaning the upper OTA and lower OTA, I put the scope up. It looks good and is in excellent shape for some fall and winter observing.

Next, my observing chair was in need of some lovin after two years of use. I began by re-gluing one of the dowels on the seat that had come lose back into place. I then cleaned the chair and applied a new coat of Helmsman Clear Satin polyurethane coat on the chair and seat. I hung the chair from the long metal shaft on my garage door with some string and it made it easy to make the chair look like new again. Since in August I had cleaned my eyepieces there was no need for that put I updated the batteries in my Telrad and cleaned the glass on the Telrad and cleaned my 9x50 RACI finder glass.  I got my fall observing lists ready which were printed off and decided on my strategy for where I am going with my the Herschel 400 II list and sketching some less known and better known objects.

After this I was finished with my tune up and started looking at my winter gear to make sure it was all put together. I have purchased a pair of wool pants to go with my base layer and also a new snowmobile bibs.  I check my other items, both sets of base layers, pants, wool sweaters and hoodies. Yep, I am ready to go! Boots are in shape as are the my socks and my silk base layer for my feet. Oh, I checked the thread on my tires on my Pathfinder, good to go and tuned it up today.  Now I am ready to go and I recommend to others that September is a great time to tune up your equipment for the fall and winter observing season!



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