Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Testing, Testing... Meade LX200GPS 8" controlled with PC software

Well, at long last, the skies have pretty much cleared (as it ought to be in late May) giving me more opportunities (which have been precious little since the first of November 2016) to get into the observatory (hence, "obs") and practice with the Meade 8" LX200GPS upon its equatorial wedge mount AND with the Meade Autostar software running on a old Dell laptop (with a serial port) using Windows XP (which I keep independent from the internet for security reasons).

Having lined up the scope on the equatorial wedge to be fairly true to the north celestial pole (not the "Pole Star" Polaris because it is close to but not at the actual reference point on the starry background that the sky appears to rotate about) I proceeded to start up the scope and then the laptop with the Autostar software, connect the two via the needed cable, sent the telescope to a known star, centered it with the hand controller (which is, for some reason acting up as of late) then confirmed the star in the software.

From there... it was smooth (star) sailing!

I used the software to point the telescope to desired objects, and with the focal reducer in place, every (and I mean EVERY) object was in the field of view with my 40mm eyepiece!


In just a few minutes I have viewed dozens of galaxies, star clusters and nebula.
Given that I was only out to test the setup and had accomplished that, I decided to do a little astrophotography.

And once again, with my Canon T2i camera body attached to the telescope and the focal reducer EVERY object I desired was in the field of view!


Here are some samples.
NOTE: I was not trying for any kind of pro shots, just "quickies" as I verified that the scope and software were working well together. As a result the images have a lot of "grain" in them.
Most were taken at ISO 3200 and for 30 second exposures.
But I submit them for you viewing pleasure all the same! All are presented "full frame" (no cropping)

Two galaxies from the "Leo Triplet": M66 and M65

The Sombero Galaxy (M104)

(I forgot to log the info on this one, opps)

(and I forgot to log the info on this one, too... hey, I was just glad,
ok, surprised that it was there at all !)

M64 "The Black Eye Galaxy" 
(yes, that is what is referred to as!)

M13 The Great Globular Cluster in the constellation Hercules


M57  The Ring Nebula in Lyra

M52 A loose cluster of stars

M101 The Pinwheel Galaxy
(near the handle of the "Big Dipper" aka Ursa Major
aka the Big Bear, etc)

M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy

I am looking forward to more clear nights and more practice! Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. M61 and M100, respectively. Nice work!