Friday, October 23, 2015

Getting set up for a polar align (again)

With the mount now oriented on the pier close to the true north/south line in azimuth, Jonathan and I seized the opportunity of what looked like the first possible fine night in what seems like weeks.

Jonathan was opened up and powered on before I arrived, and it looked like we might be ok despite a few gathering clouds.  having had the OTA off the mount (and the mount of the pier!) it looked  like we'd managed to get the finder misaligned too.

Having spent far too long on previous sessions trying to align the finder with the OTA using the CCD (when the alignment was so far off it was just about impossible to work out where we were pointing,) the first order of business was to swap the CCD for a good old eyepiece.

Utilising a handy local house with it's lights on, we quickly got the finderscope aligned with the OTA and switched back to the CCD.  After cooling the CCD we soon confirmed that Jonathan had managed to get the finder spot on as we could get a star right in the centre of the CCD chip by moving the scope so that it was in the finder crosshairs.

All looking good, we noticed now that the drift of the stars was markedly reduced across the image - a good sign that we were now much closer to alignment.  We also noticed that the clouds had started to roll in ....

Whilst the clouds rolled over, we took the opportunity to tidy up a few of the cables more and also install a safety wire on the CCD - hoping that the weather would clear enough to have another crack at the polar alignment

Unfortunately, a look at the satellite image of the clouds confirmed there was more to come so we called it a night - warmed up the CCD, closed the dome and shut everything down...

Encouraged though by the discovery that the star drift was definitely smaller we were looking forward to coming back again at the next clear opportunity.


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