Monday, February 22, 2016

Back in the Observatory with The Great Orion Nebula (close up)

Today was a preparation day at the observatory for CLEAR SKIES !
I jimmy-rigged an electric motor focuser so that I don't have to touch the telescope. I made it out of an old windup radio generator motor, two AA batteries, and two touch switches... works well !

As evening approached I replaced the standard Celestron NexStar 8i SE collimation screws with a home-made "Bob's Knobs" screws that I got at Ace Hardware. Ok, they are not as nice or convienent as Bob's Knob's (which I will buy someday) but at 75 cent for three, it was hard to pass up. The collimation went well and the views through the eyepieces tonight were very good.

As evening settled in I did some live broadcasting on Night Skies Network (NSN) of the Great Orion Nebula (M 42).  Nothing spectacular, as the full Moon was rising in the east but it was enjoyable... until the temps dropped below 27 degrees F. So I threw the Big Switch and shuttered the observatory.

Here is a poor video snapshot sample of what I broadcast tonight. Tracking wasn't all that good.
Telescope: Celestron NexStar 8i
Camera: Video camera - Mallincam Micro-Ex
Settings: Brightness: 8  Exposure: X512  Gamma: .3  DNR: 1

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