Viewing Report 14th July 2019 – IMT3 Observatory

Viewing time period – 20:29 – 23:13

This evening GingerGeek and I are going to try and get the guider in focus again. I hope we can do this so I can use the observatory remotely shortly.

On connecting to the observatory I noticed once again that after running the ZWO120MC for a while under ASICAP it went black. I have still not had a reply on the forum and it reminds me not to buy another ZWO as they are particularly bad at support.

That said there are a few things we need to try including taking the 10m USB extension out of the equation. Once I started TheSkyX and SGPro and PHD etc I could see Vega in the image for the 12″. Moving it to the centre and syncing for the moment manually until GingerGeek shows me how to sync and solve with SGPro. The final part here was moving the scope so that Vega was now in the centre of the FoV of the guider square on TheSkyX.

Vega nearly in the middle

So Mark arrived to help focus the guider whilst I looked at the screen on PHD. Before we started Bob remotely once again turned the USB power off to the All Sky Cam to reset it using Node Red. That worked so we had that camera working again.

PHD showed a very bright white screen, we had to wait over another hour for the sky to taken enough to be able to make anything out. Once we could, all we saw was the edge of the dome again.

Edge of dome through camera

It took GingerGeek a while fiddling with the focus to realise the camera on the screen was not the guider! It transpired PHD had for whatever reason picked up the other webcam mounted on one of the OTAs. No wonder we had problems.

Selecting the SX Lodestar guider from the down list in PHD brought up a picture with Vega in it! From there we had a flat topped star as Vega is too bright for the guider. So we slewed to another star nearby (mag +8) and then refined the focus on that. Next we calibrated the guider again as we had been removing and turning the guide camera.

Once done we then slewed to a star near the Meridian to test output of drift align to find that the mount is still reporting being out in dec which is possible for one of a couple of reasons, either the knobs were not tightened correctly or the mount has moved after being hit. Next weekend I will adjust if clear again, but this also means starting a whole new TPoint model.

When I drift align I will perform that on a star near the meridian and the celestial equator. I will then slew away then back and repeat. If all is well I will then test drift away from the equator to see if we have flex and if so if it is due to balance problems.