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Log, Jun 27, 2003

13 people. Steve and I stayed around until just after 12 midnight but not because it was so wonderful but because it took us that much time to get a period clear enough to do a proper realignment of the scope. Technically it wasn't cloudy. You could see stars everywhere but nowhere could you see them well. The air was warm humid and just plain thick.

Near the zenith stars were OK and a few objects were actually decent include the Ring Nebula and Albireo. Jupiter was visible but we all thought that it was one of the least satisfying views we had ever had. It was a looked like an very old orange with racing stripes. This was hardly surprising because the Sun setting was a magenta color that you seldom see except on display screens desperately in need of repair.

I was glad to have Steve help me walk through the realignment. My last few attempts have ended up less than great the following week and I hadn't found any reason why. We carefully aligned the scope and then tried to save the alignment (called a "set"). Everything seemed fine until we tried to instruct the telescope to move to a test star Altair. It happily found Altair in Ophiuchus - which is a bit of a problem because Altair just happens to be in Aquila. The scope was some 35 degrees off. Duhhh..... Scratch our heads, fool around with the on-board telescope computer settings (all were correct), and nothing seemed to be wrong. Steve suggest we send it "home" which means dead level pointing due south. We even have a little sign where this point is located. The scope happily pointed at the door handle of the equipment locked - some 35 degrees right and below the correct place. Just about the same relative directions as Aquila and Ophiuchus. Ah-ha! We have solved the problem - or did we. How come it was so far off? Steve suggested retrying the "set". We pointing things due south and dead level and tried again. This time it was just a couple of degrees off on ascension and dead level. Much better but not perfect. We wanted to try again but the haze had become so thick you needed a machete to cut it. So we decided to tell the compute to "go Home". It had one final surprise, just as it began to go to its home position, it lined up due south and dead level. The machine equivalent of "Yah-yah - told you so. So there....!" Sigh, I'll see what it is like on the 4th of July weather permitting.

We will indeed be closed July 11 and 18.

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jun 27, 2003
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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