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Posts Made By: Charles Stevenson

March 3, 2015 07:59 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Homeless Observatory

Posted By Charles Stevenson

I thought it might be fun to share three photos of my current homeless observatory or should I say Observatoryless Home? The snow has forced me to setup in the front yard just off the path. I haven't noticed much issue from the street lights and cars. But I'm not very discerning at this stage. It takes me a million years and almost getting frostbite to get aligned and calibrated. I'm still slow at all this and make many mistakes. Last night it took me an hour to realize my tripod wasn't even close to level. I must have looked at the bubble level from a weird angle.

I cleared some additional snow away this weekend after finding myself in the snow bank trying to align with stars in the west.

~ Charlie

March 9, 2015 12:07 PM Forum: Celestron

Broken Clutch Knob :(

Posted By Charles Stevenson

I'm not sure if it's because it was really cold last night or the knobs are just cheap but... I was tightening the DEC knob with my hand and it snapped in half. It's some sort of metal. There are two products listed on the Celestron site and I'm not sure which is compatible with the CG5 mount. I submitted a help ticket. I'm wondering if anyone has put an alternate type of knob on there? I was thinking even something from the plumbing section... these tend to rub on the motor housing... I think the inside might be 5/8"?


March 17, 2015 06:11 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Sony to Discontinue all CCD Sensors in March 2017

Posted By Charles Stevenson

I guess this shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering people have been saying CCD is dead for awhile. I wonder which CMOS chips are good for deep sky?

March 18, 2015 06:58 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Starlight Detectives

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Last Saturday, Aldrich Astronomical Society hosted Dr. Alan Hirshfeld, Professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an Associate of the Harvard College Observatory. He gave a presentation based on his book Starlight Detectives that really grabbed me. I immediately bought a copy of the book because I wanted to know more of the story. It's really well written and I feel compelled to recommend it in this forum.

The only astronomy book I've attempted to read prior to this was The Observer's Handbook, which is like reading a cookbook. I like the idea that William Bond, a clockmaker's son, saw a solar eclipse in Boston and was so moved that he ended up dedicating his life to astronomy and arguably brought the science to the USA. I laughed at the thought of Bond being approached by a local photographer requesting to attach a daguerreotype to the largest scientific telescope in the country! And to think that almost a century later, it's hard to imagine astronomy without cameras.

The reviews on Amazon do more justice to the book than I can ever attempt. Check it out! :-)

March 19, 2015 10:50 AM Forum: After Dark

Counting down to 2015's 1st Total Solar Eclipse

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Anyone going to be physically in the path of totality? I might watch one of the live webcasts...

March 23, 2015 09:57 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

M56 / NGC 6779

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Last night I opted for the Basler A102f Firewire camera on the C8. It will only do a 5 second exposure so I decided to try a cluster with the LRGB filter wheel. I took 100 x 5s in each filter and of that stacked 75% of the best frames in DSS. Combined and aligned in PS CS6.

March 23, 2015 10:54 AM Forum: Comets

In the vicinity of M56 / NGC 6779

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Last night while setting up a shot of M56 I saw something streak through going very fast. I managed to click capture just in time to catch it exiting the frame. How would I determine if it was a satellite or other object? Is there a way to take FITS data and get a list of what it might have been?

March 23, 2015 01:12 PM Forum: Mounts

Greased and oiled

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Have been having issues all winter, espec in DEC, due to the factory grease not being able to withstand the subfreezing temperatures. Took apart and lubed it up last night with Jet-Lube Arctic. I wish I could say it purs like a kitten but the CG5 mounts are just noisy for some reason. Anyways, it's much smoother now. I'll let ya know how the grease holds up!

I found that Goo Gone and a toothbrush were able to cut through the old grease (that had the consistency and viscosity of old rubber cement) much better than alcohol. Another rainy day I'll do the RA motor...

March 30, 2015 05:03 PM Forum: LUNATICS

Mare Nectaris

Posted By Charles Stevenson

Took some fun shots yesterday evening with the Atik 16IC and C8. This view of the south-east quadrant of the moon has been decimated by countless impacts and is reminiscent of Swiss cheese.

April 2, 2015 01:05 PM Forum: LUNATICS

Lost in space

Posted By Charles Stevenson

I took a few shots last night ... didn't come out very well due to seeing and I think some thermal current inside the OTA. Anyways, I got lost and I can't seem to find this on the map in Virtual Moon Atlas. It's probably not flipped in the right way. Is there something like for the moon?