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Professional Collimation, Round 1

Posted: 28 May 2016

Friday morning, 27 May 2016, I contacted Frank Lopez at Stellarvision in Tucson. He agreed to come out to the observatory that night to collimate the 12" LX600 telescope.

Open: Friday, 27 May 2016, 1809 MST
Temperature: 92°F
Session: 971
Conditions: Clear, breezy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wired AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
1.25" 5.5mm eyepiece


Opened the observatory dome upon arrival at the observatory to begin telescope "cool-down". SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV.

1845 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF. Used the wired AutoStar II handcontroller for this session as I figured Frank would be more familier with its layout vs the Wireless AutoStar II, which has a slightly different key layout. I took a quick look at Jupiter, 102X. Then slewed the telescope to the star Spica in preparation for Frank's collimation work.

1927 MST: sunset.

1945 MST: Frank arrived. We discussed the problem I was having in more detail and then he began collimating the telescope. Collimating the 12" f/8 LX600 was more challenging than he expected (which explains the difficulties I had during my previous attempts at collimating it). After working at it for about 2.5 hours he got the collimation very close. We took looks at Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, 271X. The views were ALMOST perfect. I did a couple of test images of M4 (globular cluster) using the D7200 DSLR at prime focus. They showed just a slight elongation of the stars. Frank did some more tweaks on the collimation. I then did another 1 second, ISO 12800, test exposure of M4 with this result:


The stars in the image were almostly perfectly round, but not quite. After 3.5 hours working at the collimation, and with the collimation taking WAY longer than he expected, Frank felt that he could get the collimation PERFECT with just a little more time, which had run out this night. He said he would return the next night to finish. 2330 MST: Frank left and I began closing up. I was finally feeling confident that the telescope will be collimated.

Close: Saturday, 28 May 2016, 0000 MST
Temperature: 63°F
Session Length: 5h 51m
Conditions: Clear

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