Friday, September 19, 2014

The Countdown to Calstar 2014

I plan to make the most of my time at Calstar this year, shooting digital and film.
Evening Twilight is 20:30
Morning Twilight is 05:30


SH2 129 - transits 22:06
Wizard Nebula NGC 7380 - transits 23:41
Continue the work on Sadr region (centered on SAO 49578) - transits at 21:18
SH2 171 - Transits 01:00

Later work might go after the California Nebula or Heart and Soul or Pleiades


Color (E200) at 200mm F5.6 for 1 hour
IC 1396 (transits 22:33)
Summer Triangle including Sadr, Deneb, Veil.  Need at least 3 - 1 hour exposures at F5.6 (transits 21:30)
Heart and Soul with Double Cluster (transits 3:30)
California to M45 Widefield (transits 4:40)

Black and White (Acros) at 300mm F5.6 at 40 minutes to 1 hour
Triple Cave (E nebula or Barnard 142) (Transits 20:35 - too low at 23:00)
Cetus widefield (Center on Zeta Cephus - transits 23:00)
Cygnus widefield (Center on GSC 3155:1976 - transits 21:00)
Perseus widefield (Center on Barnard 5 - transits 4:40 - start no earlier than 2 am)
Taurus widefield (Center on Barnard 213 - transits 5:14 - start no earlier than 2:30 am)

Given the need to center on specific targets, I may re-install the Gemini 1 on the GM8 so that it can be used to slew to a specific region.
If I have any extra time to do a trial run at home before Calstar, it will be to validate the installed work and refocus the ST80 with SSAG.  Once I do this, I may create a series of FITs with the SSAG to act as "bookmarks" for slews.

My plan is to arrive at Calstar 2014 on Tuesday, setup and polar align that first night and get some Acros started.  Wednesday and Thursday night will be all E200.  Friday will have a return to Acros, and Saturday will clean up whatever is left.

Stripping Down the Gear

Reducing the Load on the G11

I've been using a side-by-side imaging setup on the G11 for about a year.  In this time, I've found that while the extra mass helps stabilize the guide movements, the tradeoff with additional weight is a setup hassle.

When I put the water cooling system together, I wanted to put the Orion miniguider to work.  I'd tested it before and once the little telescope is properly focused with a fully calibrated SSAG, it shows a lot of stars, ideal for guiding.  Also, the resolved frame is nearly the same size as the APS-C sensor on the SV4.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sadr in Cygnus HaRGB

Taken in the back yard during September while I was testing before Calstar 2014.  Fairly happy with how this photo turned out.