First Clear Night in Weeks.

A couple of nights back we had the first clear night in many weeks. This is such a rare event it deserves an entry all of its own.

So, starting at 7 p.m. I began work on setting up the 200mm lenses for use with the UV/IR cut filters (for stars and galaxies) having removed the Optolong L-Enhance filters (for nebulae). Very first thing I had to do was take one of the Dell Optiplex 7010 computers indoors to sort out. The computer wasn’t booting up and the power-on light was flashing. Luckily I’ve come across this one before and what the symptoms mean is that the RAM needs re-seating. Re-seating carried out successfully indoors, the computer was brought back out to the observatory, fired-up, and all was well! Actually I discovered a second issue with this particular computer. It has always been VERY slow and it always seemed to be doing far too many read-writes to the HDD. On re-seating the RAM I found the root cause of this problem. There was only a SINGLE STICK of 4Gb RAM in the computer! So I just ordered a bunch more RAM to upgrade this RAM-slugged computer.

Next thing was to re-focus the 2 lenses as there were different filters now in place. That took all of 2-minutes. Now, finally, the biggest pain to sort out. I now need to re-flatten both ASI 2600MC Pro cameras as changing filters clearly changes the optical path to the cameras requiring re-collimation. So I get started on that (extremely boring) job when suddenly no stars are appearing on the monitor. Yep – complete cloud cover at 9:30 p.m. time to shut down for the night – and the final (boring) job is set ready for the next clear night. This imaging business really is a thankless task, especially in the U.K.

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