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Log, Oct 1, 1999

Monday: Joe and I tried to install the bi-directional dome control remote switches. We didn't have a lot of luck. The connections are a little more complex than we predicted. It was too cloudy to attempt to find the "bug" which caused the scope to drift.

Friday: 74 people. Last week's annoying problem has been resolved. We wondered why the scope seemed to point and track badly and why it grew worse over time last week. We imagined all sorts of sinister things, but the solution was so trivial that none of us thought of it. We are currently operating on Eastern Daylight Time but we entered the delta to Universal Time of 5 which is CDT. The scope was trying to reconcile a time zone and an longitude conflict. If my thumb nail analysis is correct, the only way the telescope can rectify these values is to assume the scope is tilted 15 degrees to the West. Once we entered the right time zone and realigned the scope, all was well. And what an excellent evening it turned out to be!

Frosty Drew Observatory's motto promises that we "welcomes toddlers to elders". And indeed, we welcome everyone. However even we did not quite expect such a young visitor as we had Friday night - our very youngest visitor at - 26 days old! Other visitors included a group of girl scouts and their leaders.

I brought my wide angled Astroscan 2000 last night. I was very pleased with its performance on extended objects. While it can't hope to match the more powerful telescopes on compacts objects like Jupiter, its very wide 3 degree view made the Pleides, the Heads and the entire sweep of M31 (not just the central star swarm) beautifully clear. Quite a few kids got their first chance to actually point and focus a telescope on real space objects. Looking at the Milky Way through this wide angle telescope was absolutely stunning last night.

One of our occasional visitors, Ryu, brought his 5" StarFire - a very fine instrument. Rob set up the Meade 6" which he refurbished, and his own restored 40 year old 6". Some folks set up their equipment on the East side of the dome, but I wasn't able to get their names. With all these folks helping, we were able to show all our visitors lots of fascinating objects. Thanks folks!

Some of the objects viewed were M13, M31, M57, M27, the Sculptor Galaxy, the Saturn Nebula, Epsilon Lyrae, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and the Moon. Three observers, Joe, Dave and Ryu saw the central star neutron star with averted vision! Way to go guys!

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Oct 1, 1999
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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