Viewing Report 7th May 2020 – IMT3

22:00 -01:00

Bob, GingerGeek and I rationalised the SGPro Profiles and created a smaller set to account for the fact we could now dynamically change the guider in SGPro and also simplify the Gain, Offset and the sensor set temperature within the profiles.

Before we did this GingerGeek recorded the Brightness value from the AAG weather station and the SQM reading as nautical twilight occurred

AAG and SQM readings at Nautical Twilight

We agreed on the following basic parameters for imaging. 3 profiles for the OS OTA at 3 different Gains and Offsets. 1 profile for the Tak with the need to change the parameters of the camera to one of the 3 correct Gain and Offsets now documented in the TOSA manual. Finally 1 profile for the Tak and as it is a CCD then there is no Gain or Offset. We also agreed the premise of exposure times for the 3 OTAs to make calibration frames simpler – 1, 2 minute for RGB on the OS, 5 minutes for Luminance and 10 minutes for narrowband. For the Tak as it is a OSC we agreed on 1, 2 and 5 minutes. For the Sky-Watcher Esprit 1, 2 and 5 minutes for Luminance and 10 minutes for narrowband. We also agreed on the temperature of the scopes to be run at as suggested by Dave Boddington, we have gone for semi-simple. So for the OS and Esprit we will image at -15℃ in Summer and -25℃ in Winter. For the Tak we will image at -20℃ all year round. Note the new Flats are at the new lower 23k ADU setting.

New set of simplified profiles

So now all the profiles were changed and setup, we set a sequence running for OS Gain 139 Offset 21 for Flat Darks and Darks 1, 2 and 5 minutes. We will need to do 10 minutes tomorrow night. The Flats incidentally for this set of calibration frames was then completed the following morning by 11am before the Sun got too high and the camera failed to cool to -15℃.

Flat Darks for new profile
Darks for new profile
Flats for new profile

Finally I saved the sequence as calibration frames for OS Gain 139 Offset 21 so that it is now easy to pull this up and redo if needed. I also took Bob’s advice and separated out the Flat Darks, Darks and Flats into different tasks. So tomorrow nights job is narrowband darks using this gain and offset followed by starting the new run for gain 75 and offset 12.

Viewing Report 7th May 2020 – IMT3

20:01 – 01:00

Opened dome early switching the safety for the brightness on the new AAG. The first thing to do tonight was to calibrate a little but more the infrared sensor which informs the cloud coverage. This was suggesting it was Cloudy, borderline Overcast and given it was very clear with a hint at wisps of cloud I adjusted the couple of figures for the sensor, from -17 for Clear to -14 and from -14 for Cloudy to -12.

I then set about taping up the USB and power for the SX camera on the Esprit. This is because the connectors supplied are clearly not in tolerance as I have tried many cables and they call fall out. The tape should suffice for the moment and now the camera reconnects to the NUC computer running SGPro.

Tape for USB cable

GingerGeek and I started to have a look at the sky around 9pm. The sky was not totally clear with some wisps of cloud. We tried to get to a point where we could test guiding the 12″ through the Esprit, however as ever the clouds rolled in. However, during setting up the SX814 camera on the Esprit as the guider and performing a darks calibration run we got an error on the USB bus again (we get lots of USB errors) which not only kicked out the SX814 but also the AAG weather station. The problem was it almost killed the AAG software and we had to cancel the process running to resolve. This meant we lost all the settings in the AAG so we have tried to rebuild as per the new screen shots below.

AAG Weather Station New Settings

So instead we re-ran the Flats Calibration Wizard for the OS with the camera set to Gain 139 Offset 21 and also another run at Gain 75 Offset 12. The reason for re-running is that I suspect the flats we have are ever so slightly over exposed at 30-32k rather I prefer them to be at 22-23k.

We also created 2 new profiles that were simply named so we can see them in the list and simplify the naming convention and amount of profiles needed. We will choose the guider on the night within one of the two profiles created. We will also look to review and simply the other profiles for the two additional OTAs tomorrow and delete the remains profiles given the large number we now have.

Two new simpler profiles at the bottom