Thursday, August 23, 2012

1524m 2012/08/23

1524m 2012/08/23 05:15–05:40 EDT Foxmead E window 8 10x50n ne

I observed Mercury again this morning. I spotted it in the trees at 05:32 and it cleared the trees at 05:36.

Temperature: 11°C

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1523m 2012/08/22

1523m 2012/08/22 05:20–05:35 EDT Foxmead E window 8 10x50n ne

I finally spotted Mercury at 05:33 this morning! Sunrise will be at 06:30, so just about 1 hour before sunrise seems to be the right time. I actually glimpsed Mercury a few minutes earlier through the trees. but it cleared the trees at 05:33. As always, once I spotted Mercury with binoculars it seemed really bright and easy to see naked eye. It was much brighter than Procyon, Castor, or Pollux.

Temperature: 9°C

Saturday, August 18, 2012

1522m 2012/08/18

1522m 2012/08/18 06:15–06:30 EDT Foxmead E window 8 10x50n ne

No fog this morning, but the sky was too bright at 6:15 to spot Mercury, even with the help of my iPad. Venus was shining brightly. Sunrise at 6:26.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

1521m 2012/08/16

1521m 2012/08/16 04:30–06:30 EDT Foxmead E window 8–3  10x50n ne

Attempting to observe the maximum elongations of Venus and Mercury this morning, as described in my article on

At 04:30 I had a lovely view of Venus, Jupiter, and Orion rising in the east. As they rose, so did the fog, gradually obscuring everything below Venus. The fog over the meadows was beautiful, but I never saw the Moon or Mercury.

Maybe tomorrow morning? The Moon will be gone, but Mercury will still be there.


I just went out to observe the occultation of Venus by the Moon and discovered that the mount on my CPC1100 has died again.  It was working fine when I last used it on July 18.  I put into Hibernate mode at the end of that session.

Today when I turned it on, I got this message on the hand controller:


I pressed UNDO, and started a Solar System Align on the Sun.  The GPS was working OK.  I got the warning about the Sun, pressed Enter to rid of it, and then pressed the direction pad.  This got me nothing except a message:


I repeated this with the controller from my NexStar 6, with exactly the same results, so the problem is in the mount.  Not the same as last time, because I never saw any error messages before.

We've had a couple of thunderstorms, but no close strikes, and the scope is now on a surge protected power bar.

I've found this file, which has some helpful information:

I dread having to update the firmware.  The last time I did this, it wiped out all 99 of my User Objects, my entire library of variable stars.  I had to re-enter them manually, something I would rather not do again, if I can help it.


Earlier today I set up the Celestron CGEM mount on the concrete pad on the east side of the house: maybe this put a curse on the CPC!