Viewing Report 22nd/23rd June 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 22:00 – 02:31

Tonight Bob and GingerGeek came over to progress with commissioning the observatory. The task for tonight was to get the Esprit 120 focused and given first light. As the evening progressed there was slight frustration of how long it was taking to sync on a star, in terms of finding it and then being able to sync so we could go back to it. This is because I had been the night before messing with the polar alignment and we have yet to perform a Point run.

Out of focus Esprit 120

It also took some time to get focused on the Esprit due to us setting the maximum extent to the focuser tube incorrectly, falling short of the distance needed at the back focus to get good focus. We then had to go into the observatory and modify the maximum out figure for the Lakeside focuser.

Once this was done focus was achieved and GingerGeek used autofocus within SGPro to get good focus.

In focus Esprit 120

A single image was taken to prove it.

Next we need to refine the polar alignment with a TPoint run and then perform a longer Point run to finish the commissioning of the Paramount MEII.

Viewing Report 26th/27th May 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 23:46 – 02:54

Well after another long day continuing the commissioning of the observatory it was time to test out Bob’s Tak and see if we could get focus. The first challenge was a bunch of devices were not recognised including the Lakeside focusers. It transpired this was due to me performing cable management by the UPS and accidentally pulling the mount power cable out of the UPS, thus no power to anything on top.

Once I got everything running again I reinstalled the Lakeside v1.1 drivers ( not the v2 drivers as they are for the USB version of the focuser), this meant the focuser was then available and connecting on COM 9. Oh and of course both the hand controllers for the Lakeside where physically powered off with their switches that we forgot to turn back on, so that set me back 20mins to figure out.

I slewed to Arcturus and opened up the dome, the dome being slaved to the scope got very close to where it needed to be. The camera was extremely out of focus as it was set to 0, so all the way in, however it also needed another 57mm of adapters to get the camera to focus!

SGPro downloaded image from QHY168C

I also noted visually the offset on TheSkyX for the Tak so that later I could move the FoV indicator to match it.

Tak offset, Arcturus centre, Yellow circle and dot telescope pointing

As can be seen above the offset due to the mounting of the Tak on the side of the RiDK is clearly noticeable and we will have to adjust for this offset when pointing.

I then had problems getting the other Lakeside to connect and noticed the Optec Flip-flat panel software was temperamental and required disconnecting and reconnecting if I left for some time and wanted to open/close. So instead I moved to the RiDK to get the pointing for it instead.

Here is the screenshot from TheSkyX for the RiDK so just slightly off for pointing but I have not Pointed yet nor have I adjusted the polar alignment with PHD2.

RiDK 12″ and Arcturus

I then took a quick image to prove it worked with the camera again since we had all the cabling in bits yesterday.

Arcturus through 12″ RiDK

I also noted a couple of other things that I could start to adjust, so I initially kept the dome and telescope slaved, I then went to Arcturus and then disconnected the slaving of the dome and manually moved the small distance to allow the RiDK to be through the slot and then moved a chunk more for the Tak. We will need a camera with night vision to be able to see the slot and adjust for the Tak and Sky-Watcher Esprit 120.

So fairly cold and tired and I was getting up at 8am to head out for a coffee with my friend Paul, I packed up just before 3am to head off to bed.