Finally! I know it’s been awhile but after weeks of battling with the Gremlins I was able to do something. First there was a faulty declination worm block in the mount causing terrible backlash. That was finally replaced after a few weeks of troubleshooting that. Back and forth with the Software Bisque engineers and finally they concluded I needed a new block. First customer ever with a Paramount MEII WITH encoders that had to have a worm block replaced. Lucky me. But they did send it and helped out a lot during the swap. I had to basically disassemble the thing to get the encoder cables out safely! The new block is perfect and my pointing error went from over a hundred to 7 arc seconds!
Then the refurbished computer I had running everything died and that had to be replaced including reinstalling all the software. The new focuser could not reach focus without additional extension pieces I had to wait for. I had to ride out in the midst of everything the worst flu I have had in about 15 years!
After all that, then installing the camera drivers, the focuser driver and checking to make sure everything worked, I finally was ready to take my first test image from the new observatory! It was about 10:30, seeing not great, high thin clouds and a quarter Moon. It gets cold up there in Winter but not bad tonight, maybe upper 30’s. Plus I have the warm room. That really is huge. Just insulation alone keeps it at least 15-20 degrees warmer in there! I decided to target the Rosette nebula. Very popular amateur target. It’s a large spherical emission nebula heated up by massive open cluster of stars in the middle. Measuring 50 light years in diameter and 5000 light years distant, it is a huge object and typically not able to be captured in its entirety without wide field optics. I was just able to capture the bulk of it with this 1000mm focal length set up. The SBIG 6303 chip is not full frame but large enough format to produce a 63 x 95 arc min field. Currently I have no flattener in the optical train as I am waiting for an adaptor but actually the curvature is not awful and is only noticeable in the corners of the image.Overall I was encouraged by the test particularly as seeing was supposedly poor that night! While the image platforms up here will be constantly changing I was excited to be able to take my very first legitimate image with anything! Now it’s onward and upward as they say!
Clear skies and thanks for reading!