Saturday, October 01, 2005

20050930.2030 - A low energy evening at TotL

I arrived at TotL last night with a heavy load around at 8:30pm. The sky appeared dark and clear above the 30° deck. My observations concentrated in the NNW to NE corridor. The heavy load was Bogen tripod, Tak Bins, TP-10, and a backpack full of accessories. For the energy level I had, but didn't personally accept, this was too great of a burden. It is nice to have the insstruments available when observing but it is a chore to get them there and return home with them.

I had wanted to work with TP-10, concentrating on its alignment. Everytime I set it up I am adjusting the secondary. This doesn't seem right to me, should be just the mirror. After the cooldown period, I began to align. Seeing the laser dot pretty far off center, I reset the extending truss poles. This corrected much of the misalignment. A small tweak to the secondary and then a small tweak to the mirror cell put the red dot on its targets. Still I think that I could learn how to rough align they way I am doing and then do the final tweak with a star test.

To check last night`s performance I set the lambda Cas in field. At 32x, 75x, and 100x, this did not resolve. I thought the separation to be greater than what it is - 0.5"! Silly me. So tonight I`ll pick more reasonable targets. Also, lambda Cas at an m5.3 seems way too bright to conduct as test for this scope. It irradiates far too much for liking, a fainter star in the neighborhood of m7.0 would be more accommodating.

Last night, I wasn't the most social sidewalk atsronomer. I really had an observing agenda and was not too interested in interrupting my activities by swinging the scope to a brighter object or showing a low contrast object that pedestrian wouldn't see anyway. If they passed and asked what we were looking at Charlie and I would just say stars and not gesture any invitation to look. They would stand momentarily and then wish us a good night as they moved on. I was further frustrated that some starhops took effort. For instance, NGC1245, an OC in Per, was eventually abandoned. I observed this in the past, and since I just observed NGC1023, a G nearby M34, I figured what the heck. Well heck it was. My game was off, out of my zone. It happens, move on.

I did have on my list NGC2403, a G in Cam, which should be easy in TP-10. I had the field a few nights ago when I only had the Tak bins. I couldn`t pull out the galaxy but was absolutely certain of the field. Actually, at that time, the starhop was pretty easy, using a round about way to get from Muscida to the galaxy, 7.7° separation (as the crow flies). However, I abandoned that hop, as well, from a half-hearted start. The galaxy was about 24° in altitude and on my way I considered the sky too bright to effectively hop.

Charlie packed up and left early. He was going to CSP to prepare for observing old Moon rising on the morning of 10/2. I was on the fence at the time and ended oversleeping to 10am. That left me out. Dropped by Charlie's blog and read his report. Kin, who had left with me around 12:30 or so, joined Charlie in the morning.

Earth`s evening terminator awaits just beyond the horizon. probably be out agian tonight at TotL.