suitti (suitti) wrote,

It's cold out there

So, i was going to go somewhere darker. But it was -4 degrees F, maybe 5 MPH wind. I moved the car to a spot in the driveway where i could load the scope, realized that it was crazy to expect to be able to stay out for more than a few minutes at a time.

So i set up the 10" on the sidewalk in front of the house. I turned on the primary mirror fan, and went back inside for a bit. I kept my scope's computer inside for this. I've been having some problems with it. And it clearly doesn't like the cold very much. I have a fresh battery. The issue is that the display gets sluggish in the cold. But i've also been having problems getting an alignment.

When i thought the mirror might have reached ambient, i went back out. I plugged in the computer, and tried several alignments. Rigel and Castor, making sure Castor is a double star, and double checking Rigel. No go. Sirius and Capella. Betelgeuse and Capella. The computer gives feedback on how good the alignment is, and this one worked! However, a check with M42 showed that it was some 3 degrees off, entirely in altitude. So maybe there's a problem with the altitude encoder.

I went back inside to warm up for a bit. And ten minutes later i went out again. The computer was on, but the display was blank. Nothing to be done about it. I unplugged the computer, and brought it inside.

I checked out my new Q70 on M45 - the Pleiades. In contrast with Tuesday, the entire Pleides fits in the field of view. Well, on Tuesday, i was concentrating on outreach, so didn't really examine it in detail. However, none of the stars are the pinpoints i've come to expect from my scope. My guess is that my collimation is messed up. I was able to get much better views with a borrowed 38 mm Q70 on Thanksgiving Eve in my scope. It's even possible that the primary mirror is flopping around. That might explain my alignment issues. Fortunately, these things can be checked in the comfort of a warm house.
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