08-08-06I called MEADE today and asked a question about drift alignment. We got cut off! After waiting for 1 hour for a help person, I got mad! Today I called twice and got cut off twice! Anyway, it seems my telescope is sick. It drifts right and left when doing a drift alignment.. as well as seeing the star (which doesn't move up or down after alignment) moves left and right also. So this makes me think... maybe my telescope is at fault. They agreed, so I'm sending the scope to Irvine, CA for repair. Hope it doesn't take 3 months to get it back! I want to take some killer pictures. 08-12-06 Well today I sent my telescope off for repair and got to digging in my closet for my old trusty ETX 125. After I set it up and put new batteries in it, the Declination wouldn't work so I called Meade again (3 calls - 1 hour each before I got a real person). Anyway, I shipped it off for repair too. So now I am scopeless! I went down to the telescope shop and bought a 3rd scope... a Meade DS 2114. Its a reflector scope and my luck with it has not been good. I like the GO TO function.. it finds things fine and the motors work great.. but it's ALT/AZ mount only! So I'm having a hard time taking pictures. 08-17-06 I got to looking on eBay for a polar mount scope and found a few small ETX models and made a bid. Won 2 ETX 60's! So I hope to have a better chance of getting them polar aligned and take some pictures with them. 09-02-06 I received my 2 ETX-60's... One wouldn't turn on the azimuth drive the other works fine so I had to stop at Scope City and get an adapter for the camera. Tonight, I'm going out and try to take some pictures! 09-16-06
Received my telescopes from Meade Repair. They're fixed! The LX 200 doesn't drift now. As I understand it, they replaced the RA encoder. And it tracks much better now. The ETX 125 had a bad DEC motor and it works now as well. So I'm back in business now.
09-22-06OK. I got a Field Reducer for my scope today and put it on. It really helps to get galaxies in view! It makes you able to get more information into the eyepice, a wider field of view. AND, it cuts down the exposure time necessary to take a pictue. Pictures that took 2 minutes was cut down to 45 seconds. So I'm happy. Also, got Photoshop CS2 and Keiths Image Stacker software.. trying to learn how to use them both now. 09-30-06 I ordered and received Jerry Lodigruss's CD about how to apply Photoshop to astronomy pictures and have been working on that instead of taking pictures. I highly recommend you visit his page and order the CD! So all of the pictures are now worked in Photoshop. None are as good as his, though. Also, I bought a gig of RAM for my computer (Mac Power G5) and it runs a little faster now. Photoshop makes millions of operations so it works faster now. This is getting expensive! 10-09-06 I went out last night and looked for M33 and NGC7000. I found neither one so I'm going again tonight. M33 won't be near the zenith until Dec or Jan. It's a magnitude of 5.7 so I don't know how well I'll catch it! I couldn't even find M31, so that's bad. Too much lower angle light pollution to find it. Maybe I'll go to Blair Valley this weekend.
10-12-06Last night was spent improving my drift algnment and getting in focus, so tonight I went out and shot M13 to check the focus again. Then the clouds came in. Damn, if my luck didn't go south on me! I sit out in the backyard with my camera on the scope and connected to the iBook. After I take a picture, I download it to iBook via iPhoto. It gives me a quick response that way.
10-23-06I went out last night and set up the telescope. After alignment, I did a GOTO M33 and didn't find the galaxy. Even after working the photo in photoshop, nothing was visible that even looked like a galaxy... so tonight, I'm going to take a 3.5 minute exposure at ISO 800! I know the scope was aligned and it should have been in the eyepiece because I did a GOTO M13, GOTO M57 and those were seen clearly. So maybe I better do a longer exposure... I'll have light pollution galore though!
10-29-06Tonight I went out and took pictures of "Tonights Best". And found M33 and M51! I worked the photos in Photoshop and posted them. But the clouds moved in so I quit. But it was a good exercise getting the camera in focus. I set the scope up and connect my camera up to the iBook and import the photos at the scope. With my soda and cigarettes, I took pictures of all the items listed on "Tonights Best" tour!
11-05-06I went out last night and tried to find M33 again, but the moons light overkilled it. I shot a pic of M15 (globular cluster). Then I went through "Tonight's Best" and looked at everything except those in the southern sky (my house blocks the southern sky). I removed the Field Reducer and got back to higher power telescoping.
11-15-06The other night I went out and started gazing and I thought I'd check to see if I could see M33. I did! The sky wasn't very black (light pollution), and the object was very dim.. but I had to take a picture to see how good I could get it. It is in the gallery now... I plan to go to Borrego this weekend and get a better picture of M33 and M31! There will be no light pollution and the skies are usually much better there!! So with some luck I'll have a better picture for the Gallery then.
11-19-06I went to this months star party and started at 6PM. I tried to do a drift alignment, but after 2 hours I realized I was doing it wrong. It was cold (51 degrees), I was shivering and after another hour I was set up! All I had to do is get the scope aligned (easy alignment), but even that didn't go well. I did a GOTO M33 and it wasn't there, so I did an alignment again. And again it was bad. So I changed alignment stars and now it was OK (not good). By now, it's about 11PM and still was cold (and I had my thermals on!). M42 was visible so I did an alignment on Rigel and my alignment was now good. So I took a picture of it. It's posted in the Gallery. I should have taken more than 1 pic though!!
2-26-07I haven't done anything in a couple months. Someone came into my house and beat me. I ended up in the hospital for awhile. Plus, it's been too cold to do anything outside at night! I hate cold weather and it's been in the forties at night so I haven't done anything. When it warms up a bit, I'll be back out there at night! Can't wait.
Well I haven't been tied to my scope lately. There's not much to look at this time of year. Plus my scope isn't finding stuff. I think I need to do a GOOD Alignment, at least better than it is!
I've ordered my POD and should get it in about a month! I can't wait. Of course I'll have to put it together, but thats oK. I just can't wait until I have it together and put the telescope and a heater inside. Then I just pull the top back, turn on the scope and view away!! In warmth, too!! It should stay warm inside for quite awhile, we'll see. It just sounds great.
Still waiting for the POD to get here. A few more weeks should be time to call in about it!! I haven't done any astrophotography lately. Still a bit chilly at night for me! I can't wait to put it up here! I look forward to that day. But I'll wait. Boy this page is getting long, and I need to remove some of the first days work on it. But this should be my last entry until then.
I got the POD today! It's time now to put it together! It arrived in 4 gigantic boxes with everything, even a DVD that shows you how to install it, and put it together. So in a few days it will be up! The hard part is putting the top on. The pieces together weigh a lot and I will need help lifting it off the ground, my wife is a weakling so I don't know how I'll do it but I will!
Got the POD all together now! The telescope is inside and locked up There's plenty of room for my stuff inside! I have a tool box with my eyepieces, a small table, a heater and electricity inside. So tonight I will do my alignment!!
I've got the telescope in the POD and trying to get aligned but no luck! I think it's because the telescope isn't centered on Polaris yet. So I'm trying to get it centered.
I've been out every night lately looking at "Tonights Best" and I found M8! Trying to get a good picture of that is rough. But tonight I'll try again!
Well, I haven't been out lately.... just too lazy! I'm not sure when I'll go out again and take pictures.
I still have not been out at night checking the stuff in the sky. But the telescope is still as I left it aligned so all I have to do is unlock the door go in and turn the telescope on and look away! But I haven't done that in a few weeks. I Just haven't felt up to it!
I got a divorce, sold my home and moved to Oceanside. Now I'm setting my telescope up again. But have been too lazy to get it together.