IOM June 2008: Summer cleaning and updating

There is no imaging object of the month for June!

Looking back over the years I see that it is not only far too late before it is dark enough to start imaging, but also that it gets light far too early in the morning as well.  At best there are only 3-4 hours maximum of imaging time, and even then the sky doesn’t get really dark, so the quality of your images obtained during this month won’t match those acquired at other times of the year.

So what do we do during June?  This is a great time for cleaning up the observatory, patching up any leaks that might have sprung, vacuum cleaning the whole area out and blowing any dust bunnies off the optics.  If you want to carry out any hardware or software upgrades, now is the time to do it, and although you might not take any high quality images, you can still test-run the upgrades on star fields.  Need to change your mount?  What better time of the year than June for a major hardware upgrade like this?

Now is also a good time to get all the last year’s images in order, and who knows, you might even burn all the data onto DVD like you promise to do every year (and don’t).

Finally, get the notebook out and start planning your imaging campaign for the rest of the year.  What objects have you long meant to image and haven’t managed to get due to weather or other circumstances?  June is a time for consolidation – it is not a good time for imaging.

STOP PRESS!!  Today I ordered some high-brightness 5mm white LEDs from Maplin – so you might guess what my June 2008 astronomy project is – I am going to have a go at making a light box for the Sky 90/M25C.  It is true that the M25C normally does not require the taking of flat frames, but the Sky 90/M25C does have a touch of vignetting, so I would like to see how a light box deals with this issue.  I’ll let you know how I get on in a later post.

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