25th day:  11 Aug 2005 (2 hours)

Don't forget: If you want a larger version (800 x 600) of any image, just click on it!

FIRST LIGHT!

It's true - we got everything set up, I mounted an eyepiece (which was tricky, as the scope is optimized for CCD observations), and we saw Vega. Then of course it got cloudy.
 
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As discussed on the previous day, the telescope was mounted 'the wrong way' onto its wedge. We carried the telescope holder back inside, put the telescope on it, unscrewed it from the wedge, took it out of the hut, turned it by 180 degrees, rotatated it 180 deg about the optical axis, and put it back in. Also - and this I didn't document - I added the aluminum spacer between the declination bearing and the engraved disk which collided with the worm gear motor.

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And finally the scope can move where it's supposed to move! Balanced, it can be moved by hand and using motors.

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Ready to look at the first star! Note that the Cassegrain was optimized for CCD observing. When the clouds gave a short view on Vega, it became clear that the back focus is not enough to accommodate a zenith mirror. Without it I could barely mount the eyepiece far enough out. I have a little extension tube, but couldn't find it. Anyway, through some holes in the clouds we saw Vega and (I think) Beta Lyrae. Since the eyepiece was not really sticking in the holder but fixed as far out as it would go, the stars weren't really points, so a check for alignment will need to wait. But anyway - we had first light!

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My first astrophoto through the Cassegrain! It is not Venus, but Vega. Probably slightly out of focus, as I was free-holding my Olympus digital camera behind the eyepiece and pressed the button. The exposure time is 1/30 s at 400 ASA. The large image (when you click on the one above) also shows a hot pixel.

Already I have a number of ideas where I could improve the scope for my needs.

Well, there always must be a new goal...

Prepared by dvk, 12 Aug 2005, 01h30m.
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