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Not genius, but effective

Started by macdonjh, 06/06/2014 06:29PM
Posted 06/06/2014 06:29PM Opening Post
I tried something simple that turned out to be quite effective in increasing my observing time. Since I have space in a corner of my garage, I had started leaving my small mount assembled and covered. My next step was to make my normal observing spot in the driveway repeatable by drilling some detents into the concrete for the tips of the tripod to sit in. I know I'm not the first to think of this, but I'd recommend it to anyone who can leave a mount assembled. I can now be set-up AND polar aligned (well enough for visual) in five or six minutes. It's that I can interrupt observing knowing that whatever I was looking at before the home front crisis will still be visible in the eye piece when I return.

The process is simple. I set up my mount at dusk being careful to level it and get the elevation set as it's most comfortable for me. Then I did as accurate a polar alignment as is possible with my polar scope. Next I picked a star to track and started tweaking the position of the mount using the altitude and azimuth adjustment knobs until the star stayed centered for as long as I had patience to wait (about 30 minutes). By centered, I mean centered in a double cross hair reticle, I'd still get small star trails in a photograph. When I was satisfied, I marked the tripod legs' positions on the concrete using a permanent marker. When I returned in the morning, I drilled each position with a masonry bit, just 3/8" deep. Finally, I marked the mount with witness marks for altitude, azimuth and the length of each leg, just in case something gets changed.
Posted 06/06/2014 07:53PM #1
Your *witness* marks are a good idea, Thanks. My vintage 8" and 10" equatorial-mounted reflectors reside in the garage & are easy to roll out for use in the driveway or lawn and an extension cord supplies electrical power. They are covered when not in use with shower caps over the tube ends & plugs in the focusers. I too roll 'em out at sundown but my garage is detached from the house so the scopes are nearly temperature stable to begin with. Amazing how many people taking an evening stroll stop by after seeing those scopes out.