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Final Pier Location; POD Door Repair;
iPhone Galilean Moons, Waxing Gibbous Moon

Posted: 19 April 2016

On Monday morning, 18 April 2016, I did some measurements in the observatory to determine where the pier would be installed. When I finished I left the bottom pier plate on the observatory floor at its expected location for the night session when I would finalize the location based on using the 12" LX600 and StarLock and the PZT. In the afternoon I met with a contractor who will mount the pier. I hope to have the pier installed this Thursday or Friday.

By the way, I have posted my detailed report "SkyShed POD Zenith Table (PZT): Construction, Installation, & Use".

While I was in the observatory I made a repair on the observatory door. I recently accidently stepped on the foam weatherproofing strip at the bottom of the door and knocked it loose. I hope the glue I used worked:


I was about to go to the observatory Monday before sunset when our Federal Government run electric company turned off the power in Oracle. As the outage continued I did go to the observatory to check my door repair. The glue seemed to be holding the seal fine. The power outage lasted about 80 minutes.

Open: Monday, 18 April 2016, 1948 MST
Temperature: 71°F
Session: 950
Conditions: Clear

I was glad that the electricity came back on so that I could do the pier location checks I had planned for the night. 1958 MST: moved the dome onto the PZT. 2001 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock ON. GOTO star Regulus, which was high in the sky but not quite at the Zenith. The StarLock centered it in the 24mm UWA eyepiece field-of-view (FOV). I then manually slewed the telescope to the Zenith. The StarLock successfully locked onto a guide star. Obviously, the dome position on the PZT worked to allow both the main 12" telescope and the StarLock system unobstructed access to the Zenith. I then did some more pier position measurements and finally decided to shift the pier center an extra 1/2 inch to the South from the position I had determined during the day. That would make the walking space south of the wedge almost the same as the walking space to the north of the telescope. I then confirmed the location of the pier eyepiece tray. With the pier location now finalized, installation plans will proceed.

2023 MST: StarLock OFF. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible in a close configuration to one side of the planet's disk. Switched to the Baader 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece. The view was good, even at 8mm (305X). I took this handheld iPhone 6s Plus afocal 305X image (cropped) of Jupiter (overexposed) and the Galilean Moons:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

Switched back to the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (102X) and viewed the waxing gibbous Moon. Took this handheld afocal 102X photo with the iPhone:


The Moon's disk barely fit into the iPhone camera FOV.

I then used the zoom eyepiece for some lunar observing. Initially the views were good using a focal length of 8mm (305X), but they soon deteriorated as the seeing became worse. Last views of the Moon were at 12mm (203X). There were some excellent sights along the lunar terminator.

2100 MST: moved the dome back onto the POD walls and began closing up.

Close: Monday, 18 April 2016, 2119 MST
Temperature: 60°F
Session Length: 1h 31m
Conditions: Clear

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