Log, Jan 30, 2009

No people. The weather was bad (in fact we had snow by 7:15) but we held a work session to try to "fix" our Meade LX200 16" telescope. This is just a heads up to let you know that the mysterious problem with the telescope is fixed. Bob Napier and his wife, Francine and I met at the Observatory about 6 last night. Bob has had a lot of experience with the Seagrave Observatory's [Skyscrapers] Meade LX200 16". Although the Seagrave scope is mounted in Equatorial mode, about 90% of its functions are the same as our scope mounted in Alt-Azimuth mode. Bob put our scope through its paces and was convinced that nothing major could be wrong because the functions which DID work and the functions that DID NOT work share too many circuits in common. Bob went down a 15 line list of optional modes and checked the setting of each one. When he got to the mode which specifies Equatorial/Alt-Azimuth, NEITHER mode was checked. I made the dumb assumption that this was just another thing which had gone wrong with our scope.

In fact, when you don't check EITHER Equatorial/Alt-Azimuth the telescope enters a third mode called "Land". We think of our scope as a large astronomical telescope BUT Meade thinks of the 16" as a large telescope which can be sold to astronomers AND people who would like a big telescope to look at things on the Earth (like harbor patrols, military checkpoints and the like).

I have absolutely no idea how the Alt-Azimuth mode got turned off. We never go to that optional mode but it is possible that with the extreme cold, we pushed the wrong button with the gloves on. Or maybe the cold "tricked" the telescope to fall back on its most "low level" function mode (aka Land). In any case, as soon as Bob Napier clicked Alt-Azimuth the scope was off and running exactly as it should.

They say that one thing you can never have is too many good hearted friends. Many thanks to Bob Napier - and oh yes we owe him a nice big mug of hot chocolate the next time we see him.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jan 30, 2009
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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