Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

A tough night under clear skies

On Wednesday night, I took out the telescope for another shot at the sky, but this time it was a total wash.

Oh, the night was clear, all right, but some pretty frustrating realities made it a short night.

You have those nights with a GoTo mount, when all your time is spent aligning and all the attempts are futile. First of all, my first alignment star, Vega, was nearly at the zenith. That made aligning to it a tough proposition. I haven’t sprung yet for my 90-degree finder, so I had to scrunch down and center it.

My second alignment star, Altair, could not be reached by the mount. A German equatorial has a hard time when something is due south, it seems. Substitute stars didn’t work as well.

The biggest pain, though, is that I live in a condo complex and that means little privacy. One fellow insisted on blasting country music so everyone nearby could hear it. I was going crazy from the distraction. Another guy parked his pickup truck in the space next to my telescope, and explained that he lived on the other side but didn’t want his girlfriend to know he was home.

After multiple attempts to align, I just decided to throw in the towel and packed up for the night.

One thing I did discover is that the big doo-hickey on the tripod is in the wrong position. I had always worried that the mount was precariously balanced, and it turns out that the device that determines the facing of the mount should be screwed into the opposite hole. I made the change Thursday, but won’t have a chance to check anything out until next Thursday night at the earliest.

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October 15, 2010 - Posted by | Observations with Vinny | , , , ,

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