Sep 2

2019-09-01 Menke Observatory

Fun time at Menke Observatory tonight! Mike Ombrello and I ate at the Depot before going out, and shortly after we arrived Steve Sinksen showed up followed by Terry Dufek… then Sam and Monica Santiago came in followed by Mike Dannenfeldt and Byron Davies. Eight of us doing some pretty fun astronomy.

Terry was doing some planetary imaging and Mike was practicing some wide-field photography for Eastern Iowa Star Party. Steve had his refractor out doing some wide-field visual, and I had my new rig out trying to figure out how to use the mount and scope. There was also some wide field work done with binoculars.

The sky was great for an hour or two, very dark, beautiful Milky Way, and really nice seeing!

I have quite a bit of learning to do yet when it comes to using my new mount. I really don’t like the way the clutches work, they’re designed to not be tightened so as to allow for any resistance to halt further movement and prevent any damage from happening. It seems that I can’t get them as tight as I would like though.

I also don’t like the finder scope that I’ve got on the Starfire, I’ll be doing something different there too.

I will say that although most of my time was spent learning the hand controller, balance and alignment routines, the simple views I had with the Starfire tonight we’re superb. Craters on the moon were incredible, but more amazingly, Jupiter and its colored bands… and an unusual configuration of its 4 easy to see moons, along with Saturn with its colored bands and an easily spotted Cassini division, and 2 of its moons.

Overall I’m really happy with my rig, I just think I’ve got a learning curve ahead of me.

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