Clear and cool – lows in the low 30s tonight. a bit of NW wind from a cold front that just passed.
Rig#1 – new pointing model
I did a 2+4 calibration of the CGE, then did a full calibration using MaxPoint. Since fixing the cables this mount has worked a lot better. Tonight I was actually able to place RY Tau on the chip (albeit near the edge) on the first try. Sadly by the time I got the pointing model finished and got ready to take data a few cumulus clouds drifted by – and by the time they were gone the object was in the tree. I really really have to get that tree trimmed, no matter what Peggy thinks.
Rig#2 – BK Lyn
Rig #2 is back on BK Lyn. Nice bright object for a nearly full moon, only 15 or 20 degrees away from BK Lyn. Some clouds early on caused a number of images to be lost.
The pier top adapter plate from Dan’s arrived the other day, but appeared not to have the correct hole pattern. I went to the post office on Saturday and sent it back to Utah. Only to discover that what I think is needed is to purchase the Astro-Physics part 1612FSA, for which, it turns out, the plate adapter was intended to be used with. I’m still exchanging emails with Dan Harmon but should have it straightened out one way or the other by tomorrow.
The AP dovetail saddle should arrive by Wednesday. I still need to get the counterweight center holes bored out to 1.875 inches. Chet at Grizzly Services thinks it will take an hour or so at $85 per to do the job, much less than a new set would cost!
One of the constant frustrations with this software is it’s inability to maintain a guide star. Even with a bright star clearly visible (with good S/N) the program is often unable to locate the star. When auto guiding the program prints “Star Faded” and despite the star being plainly visible it just does not find it. Sometimes just stopping the guide camera and restarting – just click stop and then track – it will find the star again and be fine. The problem is that once it has not found the star it can completely loose it’s ability to re-find it. Once tonight’s series of BK Lyn images was finished I tried to get a spectrum of Rowen Poole’s suspected T Tau star. At -16 degrees declination it is going to be a challenge no matter what. BUT, once found and centered MaxIm refused to find the star. At one point it seemed MaxIm lost all sense of control of the cameras. Despite asking that MaxIm perform a simple auto dark for the guide camera it just would not do so. The only way I was able to get that back working was to shut the program down and restart. Then it would acquire auto darks – but still would loose the clearly visible guide star. May need to trundle on over to the MaxIm forum and see whether they’ve ever found a cure for that disease…..