Log report, April 12, 2013

Log report, April 12, 2013

Postby john-macdonough » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:53 pm

There weren't any log reports left at the observatory on Satudray, so I'll post one here. I made it out to Columbus last night. I took me two hours from work. My new office is closer to Columbus than my house and it took forty minutes longer to make the drive! I hate west Houston, especially at rush hour.

High, thin clouds plagued the sky most of the night. The sky between the clouds was pretty clear, not murky as sometimes happens. Low in the sky, though, was murky all night. Scorpius and Sagitarius were fuzzy whenever I tried looking.

I've found I don't like star hopping with a Telrad. One of the things I wanted to do was get a little closer to completing the AL Messier program. So, I'm going to mount my finder scope on my new Parks scope. I was able to find three Messier objects (M65, M66, M104) before I got tired of star hopping. I'm closer to finishing the AL Messier program, though. I viewed M42 (too low in the west for a pleasing view, have to wait until next year), M36, M37, M38 and M35/ NGC2158. All of those objects at f/4. The optics in Newtonian configuration are really sharp. Open clusters look good at low magnification and wide fields. I also observed a few galaxies before going to sleep at about 11:30.

The alarm went off at 2:00. I changed secondaries to observe in Cassegrain configuration. I looked at a few galaxies in Coma/ Virgo and Canes Venatici. I also looked at M3. I spent some time collimating the Cassegrain secondary and got it pretty good. I'm convinced that what I'm seeing now is the combination of the diffraction rings from the secondary and the spikes from the spider. I'm not used to seeing the rings, I don't remember seeing them in any Newtonian I've looked through, including the Parks. Collimation is good enough form pleasing views of DSO at 250x, but still not good enough for planetary or lunar, as evidenced by a less-than-sharp view of Saturn at 3:00. More work to do.

If it's clear any time this week I'm going to work on the 200mm Cassegrain I've been building for the past three years (yikes!). I need to build a new baffle tube.

I've been thinking about ways to install dew heaters. Last weekend out there I got dew on the primary. I wonder if a heater installed around the primary cell would work by heating the air at the bottom of the OTA? I think it would be easy to install heaters on the secondaries since they are mounted with rings around their rims. I could disassemble the holders and put a heater directly behind the mirror with a "pig tail" for electrical connection. Of course, that's one more step required to change secondaries.

I've ordered a new Moonlite Newtonian focuser and am going to have an adapter plate made to mount the Moonlite I've been using on the C11 on the Parks. The Newtonian focuser will be mounted next weekend, I'm hoping to have the Cassegrain focuser mounted before May, too. I was looking a a pair of galaxies at f/4 using my 40mm Plossl and couldn't help thinking that the 22mm Nagler would have been wonderful for that view: twice the magnification and almost exactly the same TFOV!

(Yeah, OK, so most of this last bit belongs in "Gear".)
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Re: Log report, April 12, 2013

Postby rene-gedaly » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:39 am

Interesting reading; thanks for the report. Will let Bob Rogers know we're out of log reports. Don't ever recall anyone reporting that before. What a nice problem to have. :D

Rene Gedaly
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Re: Log report, April 12, 2013

Postby chris-ober » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:05 pm

I replaced with a stack from the observatory when I filled out mine.
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