First… thanks to Cecil W, Sam S, Rusty C, Ian S, Steve S, Craig C, and Mike D for helping out Robert M and I with the Green Iowa “Night at the Menke” event last night….
We had 25 guests take a tour of the facility, see how the roll of roof and dome structures worked… talk about the impacts of light pollution on astronomy as well as on our environment and health, take a tour of the facility and check out Jupiter, Saturn, and the Hercules Cluster through the 14″ SCT in the dome. Guests also had the opportunity to check out scopes set up by Rusty, Steve,and Ian… thanx guys! Sam and I chickened out on setting up our gear due to the heat and high humidity… but we had our hands full chatting with guests, so all is good!
The event was to run from 7pm to10pm, but soon became apparent that things were going to run behind schedule. The observatory portion of the program moved from 9pm to 9:15pm with guests actually arriving about 9:45pm… this was actually good as we had darker skies. The guests left as the moon lite up their walk back to WREEC conference room… members left shortly after while Sam, Rusty, and I locked things up shortly after midnight… great time!
Before guests arrived, Robert and I were able to successfully set up the wireless HDMI set up to send what was on the computer screen at the scope in the dome to the TV in the classroom with out running a cable… the picture was excellent and also carried audio as we were able to seamlessly send automated PowerPoint presentations as well as video clips… very cool! This allowed us to have pics running in the classroom for the guests tonite, as well as allow them to watch what was going on in the dome with Stellarium as they cycled, row by row, to view thru the scope. Thanks to Matt for suggesting this route!
Lastly, Steve V, John B and Paul S were very busy working at Jens-Wendt Observatory cleaning and tweaking… here is what Steve reports:
“The good… Clean observatory and the optics are somewhat sharper. The astigmatism is no longer there at least last night. The fan seems to help images, we only used it for about an hour.
The Bad… The moon came out and white washed any photos.
The Ugly… Something is wrong with the drive. Last nights photos have periodic error cork screw lines in addition to drifting or a slipping clutch. When you move the scope in RA by hand there is an odd never before heard rubbing noise and vibration felt. I think the drive is all bound up, possibly the 100 degree heat is expanding the worm and wheel together into the already tight tolerances…it’s Just a guess.”
So… great event, great work, great camaraderie…great success!
Lastly… weather permitting… Craig and I will have scopes set up at the Putnam Museum’s “Lunar Landing Party” see ya there!