Sunday, June 15, 2014


After giving everything a chance to dry out thoroughly, I tested all the mounts this morning, and all seem to be functioning properly, even the CPC1100. Great relief! I guess, since these are supposed to be used outdoors, they are somewhat more tolerant of moisture than most electronics. I'm concerned about the CPC1100, since it was not flooded, but still was giving error messages. It was very humid on Thursday night, and high humidity might cause electrical problems in the mount. I've gotten error messages before from time to time, and then the mount was working OK the next time.



We had a flood in our house which drenched the basement room in which I store most of my telescopes and mounts. Not only that, but when I checked the CPC1100 in the POD (which wasn't in the flood), it was showing Errors 16 and 17, which usually means an electrical problem in the mount.

Monday, June 9, 2014

1554e 2014/06/09/10

1554e 2014/06/09/10 21:45–22:10 EDT Foxmead POD 8 28cmsc

Jupiter was blocked by house as sky was getting dark, low in the northeast. Mars was too blurry with 11mm Nagler (254x) so I backed off to the 16mm Nagler (175x). The disk is very small, 11 arc seconds and obviously gtibbous, but I could still see hints of dark albedo markings. The limb looked cloudy. No sign of polar cap, probably lost in limb haze.

Saturn was lovely at 175x, with Cassini Division plainly visible, plus a couple of moons. I hadn't made a chart ahead of time to identify them.

Finally I moved to the Moon, waxing gibbous, 11.4 days old. The Sun had just risen over Aristarchus and the Schröter Valley.

The mosquitoes were ferocious, as I expected, but I didn't feel like slathering on the Muskol, so I called it a night.

Temperature = 13.4°C

1553d 2014/06/09

1553d 2014/06/09 10:00–10:25 EDT Foxmead POD 8 28cmsc

I'm constantly amazed that I can turn on this telescope (Celestron CPC1100) after nearly 8 months of inactivity, tell it to wake from hibernation, then have it point within a few arc minutes of the centre of the Sun. There's a nice large sunspot group currently, plus some smaller spots. I first viewed with the 40mm MK-70 at 70x, but there were a couple of distracting spots in the eyepiece, including a tiny dead bug. I then switched to the 22mm Nagler at 127x, and the Sun fit snugly within its 82° apparent field of view, 38' actual f.o.v., enlarging the spots nicely.

I did a re-alignment on the Sun, and then slewed to Venus, which was nicely within the 22mm field! I centred it and used it as the second object for alignment. According to Starry Night, it is currently 85% illuminated and 31 arc seconds in diameter, about half what it was during the transit across the Sun two years ago.

The POD is full of dust, algae, and cobwebs, so I'll leave it open today to air out, and try some observing tonight, if the mosquitoes aren't too fierce.

Temperature = 23°C

Here's a picture of the Sun a few hours ago from Big Bear Solar Observatory in California: