July 11th, 2007 by webmaster

Yesterday the weather was sketchy, but I dragged my wooden tripod (the “tristipes”) into the POD, levelled it, and mounted the 10″ Ray Thompson Telescope. It was nice to know that I could just leave it there, set up, protected by my POD.
Tonight was the first clear night in the POD. As soon as it was dark enough (the scope was already set up yesterday!), I collimated it and polar aligned it using the Telrad. A quick star test indicated the optics on “Ray” are not as bad as I had feared. The f/6.3 LX3 has a reputation of fuzzy images, in part due to a large central obstruction (40%), but also the fast primary and seriously convex secondary. (these scopes also have a reputation for losing the reflective coating from the secondary, but this one is fine so far). But once collimated, it was not at all bad - and as a wide field 10″ DSO scope, not bad at all.
My kids and my niece came down and were excited to see a variety of targets, including Jupiter, M22, Albireo, and M57. After the kids left my mother in law (”Nana”) came down for a look at the same targets, plus M31 and Gamma Delphinus. After everyone left I spent some time hunting down the Saturn Nebula in Aquarius to add to my Finest NGC list.
When I was done, all I had to do was drape a tarp over the scope, collect my EP’s, and close up. How cool is that!
The other thing I came away with from the evening’s observing is that the height of the scope could be dropped by 10″ or so, to make it more comfortable to observe sitting down.   

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POD Day!

July 9th, 2007 by webmaster

At last, after over a year since first hearing about it, I took possession of my own Skyshed POD. My friend Pete was here with his pickup, so we drove 35 minutes to Shallow Lake to pick up the grey and white XL3 from SPI. We made a second trip to pick up a second POD, this one to be delivered to my friend Geoff Gaherty.
With Pete’s help we got the walls and dome halves assembled, and then the weather stripping and plates were attached. The dome halves were mounted with the help of my father (aka “Bambo”), and the POD was ready for business by the time the inevitable storm rolled in.

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Observing Log - Jupiter quick entry

July 6th, 2007 by webmaster

July 6
Humid, patchy clouds.
Looking at jupiter, the GRS was visible using my 15mm WA, barlowed, in my 8″ Dob. The spot was transiting around 11:00, minutes before Europa entered transit across the face.
Then the clouds moved in…

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Observing Log - quick entry

July 1st, 2007 by webmaster

Yesterday’s Saturn-Venus conjunction was clouded out. Today it is clearer -  enough to see that Saturn is at ~1:30 wrt Venus. It always amazes me when the motion of objects in the sky is that discernable over a short period of time.

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