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Log, Feb 16, 2007

2 people. Well, we actually opened but only Ernie and I were there. Ernie had brought his new 11" Celestron Telescope. I had the Observatory's small but excellent Questar 3.5 set up if anyone came. One car did drive past the Observatory, and I toggled the lights to let them know that in spite of it being dark, we were there. I suspect that the combination of cold and our continuing shutter problem made viewing less than appealing.

Ernie had a series of minor setup problems. Nothing major - just annoying. He was doing a two star alignment on Capella and Rigel. These are fine alignment stars EXCEPT that Capella was nearly on the meridian which meant Ernie had to squeeze way down near the road surface to look up through the eyepieces of the finder and main scopes. Rigel was easier but then Ernie chose to check the alignment by sending the scope to Procyon. Now Procyon and Rigel really aren't that far apart, about 40 degrees but Rigel was west of the meridian and Procyon was east of the meridian. It was disconcerting, to say the least when he pressed GOTO and the telescope started to spin westward away from both Rigel and Procyon. It turned all the way around its axis until it came to rest pointing north. I wondered if Ernie had requested Polaris rather than Procyon when suddenly the telescope started moving again. It cranked and cranked until lo and behold, it had Procyon in the eyepiece. It wasn't centered but piece. The telescope had made a 320 degree turn and a stop on the way but effectively it had turned 40 degrees or so to the northeast.

It became apparent to Ernie and me that Celestron uses the North Pole and the meridian as the crucial test for the telescope to avoid wrapping cords around the axis. I at least have been used to Meade which uses the horizon and due South for the same purpose.

There is a good chance that next week will be a washout as far as I am personally concerned. I will be recovering from some medical treatments and I probably will not be well enough. Please watch the website for cancellations.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Feb 16, 2007
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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