We unexpectedly got a clear patch of sky last night – and no Moon – but of course such luck has to be tempered 🙂
Started up the mini-WASP array around 10:30 p.m. and decided to start with some Polar Alignment by the drift method. Surprisingly the alignment wasn’t too far out, so rather than lose good imaging time in drift aligning I fired up the cameras and filter-wheels ready for some imaging at last 🙂 Unfortunately it looks like one of the M26C imaging cameras has a fault with the cooling circuit and will be returned to Terry tomorrow – but the other M26C and the SXV guide camera performed well. Of course the Paramount played a part in only 0.5 pixel deviation in guiding all through the night – something I’ve never seen before – but the guiding was absolutely superb. I was imaging in the Sadr region to get some nebulosity along with the stars and took a whole range of sub-exposures from just 60-seconds to 2,000 seconds. Got the expected Polar Rotation all around the edges at 2,000 seconds – but the image quality was excellent and gives me a lot to look forward to when the whole array is tuned and up and running in earnest. Finished playing at 3:30 a.m. and managed to get my head on the pillow by 4:00 a.m.
One thing you should keep in mind if you are about to embark on a new, big, ambitious project like this one – is to remember your history. Your current (hopefully) fine-tuned rig didn’t just happen overnight. It is the result of an enormous amount of effort, blood sweat and tears, and learning – to get to the end result of a good imaging rig. Well the bad news is that when you put a new rig together it is just like starting from scratch again because all that learning history is tied up in the old rig and the new rig needs new approaches and new solutions. Just thought I’d share that with you so that you do better with the blood pressure than I’m managing at the moment 🙂
By the way – I manually pushed the dome around last night (sorry Tom) as I had enough on my plate with two imaging cameras, a guide camera, and two filter wheels.