Coordinating observatory use with Rick who had a number of students observing last night (Excellent!!!), club member Cecil and I worked on the modeling again last night.
Modeling, if you recall, is the process where we fine tune the telescope mounts internal mapping of the sky to its exact latitude, longitude, and altitude in accordance with the Equatorial…
When I was last at the observatory, we were finding, and thinking the cause of previous issues, that time zones where not set up the same on the mount as they were on the application… yet they both had the same Universal Time Code… which was 1 hour off. Strange!
Unfortunately, correcting this didn’t fix whatever issue we are having completing the modeling, BUT it did really improve the pointing of the scope… telling it to go to different objects is pretty close now, where as before it was about 15° off. Correcting the UTC/Time by 1 hour would explain that 15° change. When I try this next, I will be bringing my AstroMI GPS/Weather box with me to see if that is more exacting as far as Lat,.Long, Alt, Date, Time….
Cecil and I did various manipulations with the program and the mapping database without luck… we left for home around midnight… I sure hope they don’t change the Daylight Savings Time as mentioned earlier this year… getting dark later means later hours for old folks and students who use the observatory too!
I sent Michael an email requesting additional help… Arg!
You also may recall the inconsistencies I’ve experienced with the Boltwood/ClarityII weather station… last nite, everything seemed to work except it indicated Very Cloudy, when in fact it was mostly clear… maybe it works better at night than the day? Maybe there is a variable for the user to define ‘cloudiness’ that I can tweak… it’s a minor issue though.
Thinking about remote use, this is really only possible if we dont cover the scope or find an electronic means of removing the lens cover… I’m thinking that we can try a much less expensive method, and one that may improve things anyway. That would be to add a dew shield… this is basically a flexible plastic tube the extends beyond the front of the scope 6″ to 12″… this does help keep dew off of the lens, but when not in use, we can aim the scope downward a bit, and it should then also help keep dust, debris, and moisture droplets at a minimum… I’ll look into that… maybe we can just make one?
The other thing we discussed for remote use is a remote switch to power on and off a camera or cameras…
Future plans are starting to shape up… thank you for sending me the K-7 curriculum… I will be going thru those to see what types of aid can be provided by the observatory… supplemental types of stuff.
Part of that supplemental stuff will likely involve our Sun… and the Solar scope. I am now planning on adding a second camera to be always set up… the first on the main scope and the second on the solar scope. I think that I’ve figured out a way to keep the main scope from pointing at the Sun when the solar scope is to be used. Keep in mind that we need to keep the lens caps off for remote use, so pointing that big unprotected lens with an unprotected camera sensor on it cam damage things.
What my thought is that we offset the solar scope a bit so when the Solar scope is pointing at the Sun, the main scope won’t be… the compromise is that when we tell the system to go to the Sun, it will be off a bit… but hopefully we can just use the buttons to get the sun to show up in the Solar scope… not quite as easily done remotely but not too bad if you are there in person… we’ll see! Instructions will need to be provided for showing how to take off and put cameras back on as well as how to use the electronic focusers… should be pretty easy tho…
I just found out that I have been approved access to the Control Room, so will be picking up my badge next week when I set up the solar scope and continue work on modeling… curious thing… last night, before I went to the observatory, it seemed that we were to expect to have pretty clear skies on Tuesday and Wednesday… but this morning they are now saying only Monday… this is bound to change of course!
Welcome to IA!