Friday, June 23, 2006

Jupiter From the HPO

CSC says 4/5 seeing, but no way was it that good. Jupiter was swimming in the heat. I'm pretty happy with the finished shot, though. That's Red Jr. just above and to the right of the GRS. Ganymede is on the lower left, and Io on the right.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Darth Vader's Mounting Plate

The last piece of the observatory is finally ready to go.The mounting plate is back from the machine shop, and you won't see another one like it. Now to bolt it up and watch the rain!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

HPO First Light Party

Thanks to my fellow Dam Astronomers for helping me christen the Heritage Park Observatory. My back yard looked like a used telescope lot!

L to R: Andy, Daniel, Dave, Ian, Me, Barry, Kathy & Ralph. And Buddy the Astro Dog.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Observatory Update

One Setback Encountered, Another Avoided

I got the mounting plate back from the machine shop, and boy, does it look sharp. I bolted it to the top of the pier with a little effort, and immediately discovered that the holes for the wedge attachment were drilled 15° off. I double-checked my drawing, and the part was machined wrong. It's OK, it's just a matter of drilling & tapping new holes--the old ones won't hurt anything. If there's an upside, it's that I found this before the plate went out for anodizing.

While I was trying the plate out, I thought, "Man, the wedge sure looks close to the roof." So this morning I set the tripod up alongside the pier, mounted everything up, and breathed a sigh of relief. It looks like I have about 1 1/2 inches (37 mm) to spare. It is tight, though, and I'm not quite sure what I'll do if I want to piggyback anything on the tube in the future.

What would I have done if the scope didn't clear the roof? Disassemble the shed, put down concrete pavers under the floor, and rebuild on top. I'm glad I don't have to deal with the money and labor now.