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Friday, April 4, 2008

The Wingview Observatory

The new guide scope showed up today. That's the longish telescope looking thingy on top. Quite an impressive looking rig. Looks easier to set up than it was.

The scope et al needs to be accurately balanced on the german equatorial mount. Took a little time, rotating, adjusting position in rings, adjusting seating of primary mounting plate, getting it such that it can swing to any position and stay put.

The best and simplest description I've found to describe this procedure in the correct order is at Starizona, even the scope manuals from Orion have it wrong. Amateurs will also find many sites (go search for 'em) that surprisingly instruct balancing around the R.A. first, rather than Declination axis. It is most important to move the payload (the telescope and such) center of gravity (CG) to the R.A. axis first, otherwise you'll just introduce wobble and it will mess havoc with your tracking.

The small scope near the bottom of the picture is the 9x50 finder scope. Both the small finder scope used for rough navigation and the guide scope used for extended exposure taking both have an illuminated reticle eyepiece (that would be an eyepiece with crosshairs that light up red, when you dial the eyepiece dimmer switch).

This mount will hold up to 40 lbs. without straining the motor drives. All the contraptions hoisted on the mount weigh almost 20 lbs. without the camera. The mount itself weighs in at 76 lbs, so nearly 100 pounds in all!

Below is a view of the very helpful dual mode focuser with 11:1 fine focus control, I mentioned in prior post. This is so helpful when trying to get perfect focus for taking photographs. Several snapshots at best and that's it; focused and ready to go. It's become so simple, I'm not even using the Hartmann mask anymore.

Here's "the kit." The two most excellent wide view eyepieces are sitting in the lid; one has a 2" diameter barrel, the other 1.25". The doohicky on the right portion of the lid is the laser collimator for quickly aligning primary mirror prior to taking a round of photographs. The rest of the items of course are various 1.25" barrel eyepieces providing magnifications from 40x to 300x, a 2x ultrascopic Barlow, and some filters. The camera adapters for each barrel size are in there as well.

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