I’ve only managed to set up twice in the last six weeks, it’s been cloudy and rainy. Both times had issues. Mostly with focusing but that should be resolved now. The EAF is working perfectly now as long as I don’t have the temperature sensor connected. APT will be adding focus monitoring capabilities in January for the DSLR so needing to refocus on temp change will not be needed.
Tonight promises to be clear skies with above average to transparent, the Moon illumination will be 93% waning so I’ll be using the Optolong L-enHance filter. Tonight’s first target is IC 1805, the Heart Nebula using the T2i. Once I’ve worked through any startup issues and started imaging, if there’s time, I’ll pick a second target. Setup should not take long at all; I’ve worked out cable management on the OTA and I’m located in my Bortle 5 backyard that has the pathway stones placed for easy tripod and mount setup. Polar alignment shouldn’t take more than a few moments using NINA and TPPA. Hopefully, APT will start testing a Polar Alignment routine soon.
Setup started at 16:15, completed at 16:30 with connectivity to mount confirmed. Sunset is at 17:10. Sat down to the scope at 18:15. Worked on focus then alignment using TPPA. Everything went smoothly, tried working with APT auto focus, didn’t particularly like the initial results and I want to get some data so I used the Bahtinov aide and started imaging around 19:15 a 60 sub 300 second plan. Caught that my framing was off by almost 10 degrees off half way through the second sub so I stopped and changed my camera rotation until I was at 90.7 degrees, close enough, and restarted. It’s nice when everything goes smoothly, 😊. I may decide to go get more data with it since IC 1805 is circumpolar.
Well, I let that go on to long, I wasn’t paying attention and the camera ran into the mount and threw everything off. I only lost two images and managed to recover the really first good night in six weeks and moved on to image NGC 2359, Thor’s Helmet. I have some learning to do on accomplishing a meridian flip. I managed to get a 25 300 second subs on NGC 2359 before it started to disappear behind the tree line to the southwest.
All in all, a good session. I have decent sky at this location, I just don’t get a lot of time on target due to the tree line to the west or if anything starts to the east of me. I’ve pretty much decided to move on from my boyhood home when I do retire, I’ve been looking out west in Arizona and Nevada, there’s some good dark sky out there with some inexpensive land. Time will tell.