I fitted an Orion finder/guider scope to the top plate of the mini-WASP array today. Well it was raining and I had nothing better to do. However there is a purpose in the madness. I will simply swap the guide camera over from the Megrez guide scope (leaving the Megrez in place) and see if I can get decent guiding with the Orion guider – if I do get decent guiding then I can think about moving on to step 2. Before step 2 however, I should mention something about my Orion guide scope. If I turned the scope through 180 degrees in a vertical direction – something rattled – clearly not good! Tracked it down to the front lens actually moving in the cell as the tube did not push up against the lens to hold it in place!! Would not have made a very good guide scope with the lens moving as I panned across the sky. Easily sorted – I made a “washer” out of a short piece of thin electrical wire – this was sufficiently thick to hold the lens in place against the finder tube. O.K. so next step was to drill and tap a couple of holes in the top plate to take the dovetail holder for the Orion guider. This was not without incident and led to a broken tap and a broken screw 🙁 Never mind – carry on. Managed to fit the Orion guider firmly to the top plate and I’ll check to see if I can get it working next outing. However, if it does work, it cannot stay fixed on the top plate as the whole array is then too big to fit the dome aperture. I will need to “undersling” the guide scope from a cantilever fitted to the top plate so the guide scope sits between the top pair of mini-WASP imaging scopes. The Megrez 80 guide scope will be removed and replaced by a TS 80mm triplet APO imaging scope. The vacant TS 80 position will be taken up by my second (now fully collimated) Sky 90/filter-wheel/M26C/Robofocus. All I will be missing will be a 4th M26C and Robofocus for the TS 80 – all in good time. And at that point – that will be it – I won’t be able to add anything else to the mini-WASP framework so that will be its final incarnation. The configuration will be the 2 x Sky 90s in landscape mode, both imaging the same FOV. The 2 x TS 80s will be in portrait mode with their FOVs overlapping (mosaic) so that they cover the FOV of the Sky 90s. Hopefully that will then be the end of any further changes/modifications to this project which has driven me up the wall!!
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