Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Observing from Gainesville – March 17

Observing setup

This is my observing setup in Gainesville. Behind the telescope is my car.

On Thursday night, I took out the telescope to get some more observing done.

Despite the nearly full moon, which was blocked by the trees, I was able to get great views of M42.

I ran into the old problem that afflicts nearly every GoTo user: alignments that are way off because of forgetting something so simple, it’s absurd.

My alignment efforts were coming up weird, and my attempts to GoTo M42 at first were way off, but then I realized. The last time I had the setup out, we were on Eastern Standard Time, not Eastern Daylight Time. Once I found the way to make the change in the hand controller, it was almost too easy.

One thing about the winter sky: There are so many great targets for alignment and calibration stars. You need to have the calibration stars on the other side of the meridian and that’s a lot easier during the winter, at least where I am. The trees take away a lot of good stars.

I got great views of my old “friends,” M36, M37 and M38 in Auriga, as well as M41 in Canis Major. I tried to get the old favorite supernova remnant M1 in Taurus, but the sky was just too bright. The prominence of the moon meant that I had to pack up for the night, but it was a brief but useful session.

Again, that ability of the hand controller to bring up objects of interest in a constellation and then GoTo them on command is great. I used it in Auriga, and it worked beautifully.

Lots of people write into the Yahoo group for the Celestron CG-5 mount complaining, but so far I’ve had no troubles.

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March 18, 2011 - Posted by | Observations with Vinny | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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