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2014_08_0910

Weather

For most of the past week it’s been pretty “clear” – that is, fairly cloudless and cool.  But large wildfires in the Canadian NWT have spread smoke into the upper atmosphere that has hazed out the entire east coast over the past week.  You could see that beginning to move off during the day today and tonight, while not totally gone it is much reduced.  Some other bits of cloud remain, otherwise a very nice night.  about 70F, no wind, VERY good seeing, around 1.5 arcsec.

Rig #1:  Spectra for the U Montreal P_Cyg/Deneb campaign

View of the control panel for Rig #1 tonight - gathering spectra of P Cyg and Deneb for Noel Richardson at U Montreal.

View of the control panel for Rig #1 tonight – gathering spectra of P Cyg and Deneb for Noel Richardson at U Montreal.

 

Rig #2: RX2133+51

I decided to go for another night on this object – it is fairly bright and is far enough away from the full moon that I should be able to get some good data. Sky haze was also a consideration, though it is much less a problem tonight than it has been.

Control panel from rig #2 showing on-going sequence for RX2133+51 (near edge of blue circular "aperture").  Note the FWHM shown in the "Information" dialog - about 1.7 arcseconds - and that includes guiding errors.  So a night of extraordinary seeing.

Control panel from rig #2 showing on-going sequence for RX2133+51 (near edge of blue circular “aperture”). Note the FWHM shown in the “Information” dialog – about 1.7 arcseconds – and that includes guiding errors. So a night of extraordinary seeing.

 

Installed A Wifi Range Extender for the Domes

Since getting Comcast  installed at the studio I had an extra range extender available and so I’ve installed it in the South Dome, and run ethernet cables to each laptop.  In fact, since cladding the outer surface of the north dome the laptop inside has had a hard time getting any level of wifi signal at all.  Usually I would have to rotate the dome so that the slot was facing the house, sync the clock to NIST, then go on about the night, checking back a few times an evening to keep the computer clock within 1 second of universal time.  It also made it next to impossible to run Remote Desktop to control things from my study.  Things are MUCH faster now.  I decided to turn off the wifi radios on each laptop and ran cables from the repeater, making the repeater the only communication link with the house. It’s working much faster than either laptop did individually so this is a real improvements!

CGE Countdown

I got word from Dan Harman (he of Dan’s Piertop Plates) that he expects the adapter plate for the AP1200 back from anodizing on Monday and that I should have it by the end of next week.  So if all goes well the CGE mount in the north dome, which has served so admirably for eight and a half years,  has a life expectancy numbered in single digit days.  For all the crap I read about this mount (which indeed does have some frustrating problems) the two CGEs that have been used here have both been pretty darn good.  As an example, tonight’s tracking is better than +/- 0.3 arcseconds.  Sure, the target is at +51 declination, so that reduces the RA tracking errors by about 40%.   The CGE mounts sell for around $1500 in pristine condition (which mine aren’t).  Quite a bargain!

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