Viewing Report 22nd April 2020 – IMT3

22:10 – 03:00

22:10 Bob – Took over operating IMT3 from Dave

The plan was to capture data of NGC 4565 with the OS RiDK 305mm after the testing I’d done the previous night attempting to determine how long we could go with unguided exposures. As NGC4565 was due to transit at 23:36 I thought I’d wait until I could slew to it without performing a meridian flip so went chasing Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS to see what remains of it. However, judging by the horizon it was about to disappear from view but I grabbed a few frames anyway. Unlike previous attempts where it was clearly visible in a 60 seconds exposure I was now exposing for 180 seconds to make out the fuzzy remains.

23:15 Slewing to NGC 4565 would still require a meridian flip so I went to NGC 2903 which I’d looked at recently. set a sequence going to get 30mins of data with 5 minute subs. Auto focus succeeded at the start of the run.

00:05 Slewed to NGC 4565.

Solve and Sync then slewed the framing to try and include NGC 4562 in the FoV.

Plate Solved result for the centre of this frame:

12h36m06.94s Angle 185
25° 57′ 42.16″ Scale 0.325

Started sequence to gather 12x 300 seconds Lum, 6x 300 seconds R, G, B and 6x 600 seconds Ha subs.

SGPro failed to start the Guider and aborted.

PHD2 started manually and 5 frames of Luminance gathered before the guide star was lost and the sequence aborted. Profile does not have ‘Recovery’ set. Need to discuss this with DSW and GingerGeek. While looking at the option found in Tools > Options > Sequence I also noticed that ‘Pause Guiding during autofocus’ is not set.

Mil Dave showed me a procedure he believes is documented in the manual to centre the telescope on a previous image, but this failed to move the mount as expected. I later realized it may have been because we did a ‘Solve and Sync’ followed by a ‘Centre Here’ ( which hasn’t worked for me before). I need to see if I had done a ‘Solve and Sync’ followed by a ‘Slew Here’ whether that would have had the desired effect. Using ‘Slew here’ I was able to reasonably match the coordinates of the original frames (after unsuccessfully trying to ‘Slew to coordinates’ in the Sky).

Update 23Apr20:

Having discussed the above with Dave, I believe we identified where I was going wrong but also discovered some points along the way.

We noticed that the RA and Dec I had recorded from the SGPro Plate solve of the image did not match the numbers recorded in the FITS header of the image and using the SkyX to Slew to the coordinates recorded was off because I hadn’t selected Epoch J2000.0 (used by SGPro) but had used the default Sky ‘Apparent (i.e. current)’ setting for the Equinox.

Additionally, after performing a ‘solve and Sync’ in SGPro, I should have gone to The SkyX and syncronized the Telescope.

Turned off the guided and finally resume a sequence

03:00 Of to bed for me, leaving the sequence to run for a further 1hr30.

Viewing Report 31st March 2020 – IMT3 12″ – Sync and Solve

Viewing time period – 20:30 – 22:20

Tonight GingerGeek, Bob and I wanted to make sure the newly installed version update for SGPro was working. In particular we wanted to get the sync and solve working, so that we could centre an object, but also the autofocus as the was a major update.

In TSX select an object and slew to it
In SGPro take a quick 5s image of the object
In SGPro click the Solve and Sync button on the bottom left
In SGPro the image is now solved and synced to in SGPro
In SGPro right mouse click on the object and select Center Here from the menu
In SGPro select Yes on the Center Telescope window
In SGPro take another 5s image using Frame and Focus
In SGPro the object should now be in the centre
In TSX from the Telescope tab click on the Start Up button and select Star Synchronisation
In TSX make sure Synchronize mount into existing model is selected and click on Sync
In TSX notice the FoV indicator from the camera has shifted to a new position
In SGPro take another 5s image using Frame and Focus
In SGPro the resulting image should not have moved

The mount in TSX and SGPro are now synced to the correct position in the sky.

Viewing Report 5th/6th August 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 22:17 – 01:04

Configuring the guider to work with DirectGuide was tonights job, it was so important I have created a separate blog for it. That took the majority of this session before I really did need to go to bed for work tomorrow.

Once setup and now having the ability to reliably guide without the need for an ST-4 cable, I went to take a quick photo again to test the stability of the system. The importance of DirectGuide is worth labouring here as given we have 3 scopes to guide from, there is only 1 ST-4 port. We did not want to keep plugging in and unplugging the different cables, more did we want to build a bespoke connector for all 3, so DirectGuiding is really the only way this would work.

Once complete I once again tried to slew to the exact area for the Elephant Trunk, this has been problematic due to not quite getting sync and solve working, it works sometimes, and locating a star that I can reliably use. I have noted now that HD 205850 in Sky Safari and SAO 33570 in the SkyX represent the pair of stars in the main section of the trunk. I also took another frame nearby to label for future reference.

SAO 33570 centre of Elephant Trunk and SAO 33573 end of the Trunk
Nearby star pattern SAO 33626

Unfortunately Sync and solve failed and landed up moving the scope to the wrong area, hence I missed the object when trying a longer exposure with the Ha filter. I need to reliably get sync and solve working to be able to use SGPro else I will have to go back to The Sky X that I have used before for image capture which I would prefer not to do given the flexibility of SGPro.

So I landed up pointing at a star UCAC4 739:73701 which was an offset frame from where I needed to be, the purple oblong representing the FoV of where I should have been and the UCAC star showing where I landed up.

Pointing at the wrong object

SGPro did error as mentioned during Sync and Solve as can be seen in the screen grab below. I will talk with GingerGeek to resolve.

Sync and Solve SGPro Error