Viewing Report 24th March 2020 – IMT3 12″

Viewing time period – 18:16 – 01:43

Dome of IMT3 open and cooling down

Tonight I plan on setting the 12″ imaging M94, a Messier galaxy in Canes Venatici.

I slewed to nearby star and focused using SGPro after changing a couple of settings in the step size and amount of data points to be used, I set step size to 100 from previous 1000 and data point to 5 from previous 10 and got a much better focus. Focus landed up first time around at 738840

SGPro Autofocus settings changed

I had tried to get @focus working in TSX but it would fail every time on the galaxy with not enough stars. This meant I could not use TSX to solve and sync to centre M94.

SGPro autofocus

I then tried to centre with SGPro and that also failed so instead I used TSX to connect to the camera and manually moved M94 to the centre of the chip. I ned to get the local plate solver working as it was not running.

@ 20:32 I took an initial 5min sub to see what the image would be like after setting PHD2 guiding running.

5 min M94 sub

@1:20 and after gathering 3 hours of data I moved to other side of mount so meridian flip. I refocused as it had drifted a lot. I now need to consider setting up focus move for temp as the focus shift is dramatic. I also changed PHD2 Hysteresis setting to 0.20 from 0.10 as the PHD was having problems guiding.

I struggled to find guide star and landed up exposing for 15s and then having to increase, possibly needs recalibrating on this side of the mount. But also I need to find a brighter guide star by moving the mount offsetting the galaxy. The other way is using one of the piggy backed scopes which I may do next time.

@1:43 the dome closed, not sure why, might have been high cloud but probably because the WSX software lost contact with the WSX hardware. I did a reset and reconnected and then it was fine, but as the dome had closed I packed up with 3 hours of Luminance data on M94. I now need to take flats on the morning.

Single 5 min sub stretched in PI

Learning’s for next time……….

  1. Update the SGPro Equipment profile with the changes for step size and data points for autofocus
  2. Make sure the local plate solver is working and online at localhost
  3. Review Anydesk bug that changes mapping of keyboard
  4. Check out why WSX is loosing connection and shutting the dome
  5. Work out how to use temperature compensation for the focuser in SGPro
Flats from the following day at the same focus point

Viewing Report 29th December 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 17:43 – 17:48


Slightly hazy right now but I have opened the dome up and turned the cooling fans on the 12″. Slewed to Atik, a mag 2.8 star in Perseus and aligned the scope.

Atik mag 2.8 star in Perseus for alignment

So the star was almost in the centre when I slewed the scope to it, a slight tweak and now synced on it centrally. The Hitec Astro weather station reports slight haze

Hitec Astro Weather Station showing haze

Gingergeek installed a new Intel Windows small form factor computer recently in replacement for the RPi so we could run the AllSkEye software and see if the loss of one of the colour channels was software or hardware. Here is tonights image, which still needs colour calibrating during the day.

AllSkEye camera software