Viewing Report 27th/28th October 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 19:01 – 00:05

GingerGeek and I tried to sort a few things last night, namely PHD2 guiding on both sides of the mount without any recalibration, automated meridian flip within SGPro, focusing and plate solving. After nearly 2 hours we had not fixed any of these problems. So we need further research/reading to resolve.

Instead @9pm I decided to take some more images of M76 since it was due to be fairly clear all night. What I found was this was quite simple to now setup and get working as long as I did not mind performing a manual flip at 11:30pm.

There was one other issue last night which was around the dome closing, it suddenly did this around 10pm, not sure why, I think (I now in the light of day cannot be sure) the relay went off. Looking at the Keogram and then the ASC movie for last night it does coincide with a set of cloud going over so maybe that is why it closed. It will be nice to then get it to reopen when clear, another thing to fix at some point.

So as I say, setting up for the run was straightforward and I used TSX rather than SGPro to centre and platesolve M76 as normal. I then took a sample image of 60 seconds found that the focus was more or less spot on for OIII, despite earlier challenges with focus not working and all was ready to go.

On the point of focus problems, we could not get an accurate V-Curve earlier in the evening, SGPro kept coming up with different focus points after each run and eventually we put this down to the dome and scope not having had time to cool given it only being 30 minutes or so. The outside temperature was around 3℃ whilst the inside was just shy of 9℃. Later in the evening the difference was much smaller (I should remember to record this). I can get the ambient temp for the outside the next day from the FITS header but I have no record of the inside ambient temp, something else to fix.

So I went off to bed just after the meridian flip around 11:30pm and after watching a few frames come down. This morning I took flats and darks and closed the dome which was still open with the first frost of the season having set in and frost was covering the inside of the dome.

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

Viewing time period – 21:38 – 01:50

Quick set of images this evening to take some more data of M76. I can image for 3 hours before a meridian flip. I need to get the automated flip working and thus the plate solving that seems to be having issues. For now I will open the dome and just set it running on OIII through the 12″.

After entering with TSX connected to the ASI camera I started guiding and for setup reasons I have included the guide star here.

Guide Star

@00:45 I managed to do the manual meridian flip and then headed off to be after collecting another 2 hours of OIII data. I left the scope running for the rest of the night knowing that the dome would shut if the sky clouded up.

Last image taken

So I am now up at 7am and indeed the dome closed when the clouds rolled in. I have no real notification of when that occurred so I have now set the HitecWeather station software to log on the triggering of the relay to a file so I can see the time it closed.

This will allow me to compare to the Keogram from the ASC and double check the dome is closing at the appropriate time.

Fortunately SGPro is connected to the weather station as a safety monitor and stops imaging if the dome closes. I can see the clouds started to roll in around 1:30am for a few minutes then just before 2pm there were more and by 2:43am after they covered the sky. The good thing is it looks like, although I cannot be sure, the dome would have closed at around 1:50am which is the time of the last image taken assuming the date stamp is the completion of the image.

Safety enabled

I have now taken flats and darks and parked the scope and it is ready for it’s next outing, I also remembered to turn the dehumidifier back on this time. Both the dehumidifier and the flat panel need connecting to an Arduino to automate turning on and off.

View from cameras when in position to flat panel on 12″