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1st and 2nd light with new C11S-GT

Started by jeffreyk1965, 12/02/2005 01:01PM
Posted 12/02/2005 01:01PM Opening Post
November 22, 2005 - (Tuesday) - 1st Light with new C11S-GT

I received my new C11S-GT on Friday (11/18/05)but have been unable to test it out until tonight due to clouds. I live in South Florida under magnitude 4 skies. The OTA is very nice and is quite portable. I did notice that the focus knob is smooth for a few turns and then stiffens up a little and then becomes smooth again. It did this in both directions. It did not in anyway prevent me from obtaining best focus but I was wondering why this was happening. Luckily, it is not that bad at all. Also, maybe it will go away with time. I did try turning the focus knob in-and-out of focus all of the way but the minor stiffness remained. There was very minimal image shift when focusing the scope. The ASGT mount supported the telescope nicely with a damping time of about 2-seconds with vibration suppression pads.

I set the scope up in my front yard this evening and put it to the test. I was able to test the scope for 3 ½ hours from 7:30PM until 11:00PM. The seeing was very good, around a 7 and it was nice and cool, in the low 60s. At first, I noticed my gotos were somewhat off and realigned the mount a second time. Again, they were slightly off by a few degrees. I aligned the scope a 3rd time but instead of entering the time as AM or PM, I used military time and my gotos were perfect. I slewed to several objects and the scope hit them all in the eyepiece, many were dead center. I turned the scope off and did a 4th alignment, again using military time, and my gotos were excellent again. I do not know why it matters how the time is entered but I guess I will just enter the time as military time for good goto accuracy.

Next, I turned the scope to Vega and noted some spikes in the out-of-focus pattern. I got a little nervous but noticed that as some time went by, the spikes started to disappear. The OTA needed to call down!! Even in South Florida, the OTA needed to cool down! After about 30-minutes, the spikes were completely gone and I noticed that the scope was very slightly out of collimation. One quick turn of one of the three collimation screws and the collimation was much better. The scope then star tested very well.

I viewed the following Messier Objects tonight: M31, M32, M34, M35, M36, M37, M38, M42, M45, and M57. I also viewed the Double Cluster and NGC7662 (Blue Snowball). In addition, I split Almach and Rigel. I was able to see 6-stars in the Trapezium of M42 and this was with M42 pretty low in the eastern sky. I also was able to see nice detail in M42’s nebulosity.

I also spent some time viewing Mars. Detail was easy to see and I used powers of 175x, 215x, and 254x when viewing the planet. I could see many dark and light markings on the planet but I do not know what their names are.

To sum up, this was a very successful first light and the difference in light gathering power between this scope and the Meade 8” LX200GPS I traded-in towards it was very evident. Star Clusters showed more stars, M31, M42, and M57 were much brighter, and it seemed like the resolution on Mars was better but I would have to compare them side-by-side to confirm that. This is a very nice scope and one I see myself keeping for a long time.

November 25, 2005 (Friday) - 2nd Light with Cl1S-GT

I was at Area 51 (our Dark Site in South Florida) with my new C11S-GT. I observed for about 5 1/2-hours (from 6:30PM until Midnight). Tonight was very clear at times and the transparency was very good. In addition the seeing was very good, around a 7. There was a very good turnout tonight. The following other scopes were set-up tonight: Nexstar 11, Meade 14” LX200GPS, Meade 12” LX200GPS, Meade 8” LX200, 8” Newtonian on an Atlas Mount, 8” Orion Newtonian. There was also a 4.5” Meade Newtonian. I am still awaiting the 2” Star Diagonal I ordered so I could not use any of my 2” eyepieces. Nevertheless, tonight was a fun night and I viewed a lot of objects.

I started off with Venus which was in a crescent phase. Then I looked at Mars and could see some dark markings on the planet. I split Almach, Gamma Aries, and Rigel. I viewed the following Messier Objects tonight: M1, M15, M29, M31, M32, M33, M34, M35, M36, M37, M38, M39, M42, M43, M45, M56, M57, M74, M103, and M110. M31 looked fantastic and I could see one of the dust lanes near the edge of the galaxy. While viewing M35, I could see the embedded cluster NGC2158. I could see 6-stars in the Trapezium of M42 quite easily. I also viewed the Double Cluster which always looks nice.

I viewed the following additional objects tonight: C17 (NGC147) - barely, but it was visible, C18 (NGC185), C30, C43, C44 (all galaxies) and C15 (Blinking Nebula). I also viewed NGC253, the Sculptor galaxy and it looked terrific as it was so large. NGC891 the edge on galaxy was also viewed.

I ended the night with a quick look at Saturn which was still pretty low in the Eastern Sky. It looked spectacular with Cassini’s Division easily seen. The planet was bright and sharp. I only wished it was higher in the sky!!

All in all, tonight was a fun clear night.

Clear skies,

P.S The focuser issue from the 1st night has been resolved. It was just the rubber cover rubbing against the tube when the knob was turned. An easy fix!!