Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weekend Getaway

Amy and I spent the past 4 days down in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio. The Hocking Hills has some of the darkest skies in Ohio so I brought my 90mm and 66mm refractors for the trip. I originally planned to bring the 12.5" ballscope, but there was not enough room in the car to do that so the refractors had to do. The weather for the first two nights was outstanding! Clear dark skies. So I setup the refractors and proceeded to do some observing.

The cabin was in a hollow so the amount of sky was limited, but that did not stop me from enjoying myself. I had a great view of Ursa Major and others straight up. The surrounding trees gave a great backdrop to the sky. I visited my regular favorites and the refractors did not disappoint. I used the 66mm as a sort of finder while the 90mm was used as the main scope. The first night the seeing was not as good, but the second night brought the best views of Saturn.

It was an enjoyable time. I sure wish I had more aperture, but that is ok. The refractors did a fine job.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Secondary Ring Rebuild

I spent most of the weekend rebuilding the secondary ring on the 12.5" scope. My goal was to save weight. After calculating it up, I saved myself a pound of weight. I also improved the light baffling on it too!

Small Star Party on 4/17/2009

A fellow CAS member, and long time telescope maker, Bill Burton had a small star party at his place this past Friday night. It was one of the best nights I can remember. The company was great, the scopes were great, and the sky put on one heck of a show! The sky was amazingly transparent and steady, not a common occurrence here in Ohio.

I brought the 12.5" scope along to attempt to do some galaxy hunting. The scope performed very well. I was surprised at how well it performed. I got the opportunity to use a tracking platform which was really nice. Thanks Tim for the use of the platform! I really need to build me one of those things.

I did not get home until 5am Saturday morning because the skies were just that darn good.

Amy and I are heading to the Hocking Hills for a nice getaway. A scope will be with me (probably the 12). Cannot wait!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I flocked up my telescope

Just a quick note: I added flocking paper from Protostar to both ballscopes and I have become a believer in this product!! When I used both the ballscopes at Perkins this past weekend, you could see a noticable difference in the views. When looking into the focuser (without an eyepiece) the mirror just seem to float in blackness.

I cannot wait until I get this thing to our dark sky site!

8" Ballscope Refinished

The 8" Ballscope is now refinished and she looks great! I got the opportunity to use it at Perkins this past weekend and she did pretty good. However, I discovered something interesting: she bounces like the 12.5" scope now. About 5 seconds to dampen vibrations. The 8" scope never did this before. One of the things that I did differently in this scope was use the threaded rods to separate the mirror cell and the lower compression ring like on the 12.5" I used wooden dowels before on the 8". This week I will be cutting some 1x2 solid oak pieces and wedging them in there to see if that makes a difference. I will cross my fingers!

Monday, April 6, 2009

100 Hours of Astronomy

Well, a busy astronomical weekend came and went. Perkins Observatory, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the Columbus Astronomical Society sponsored an event to celebrate the 100 Hours of Astronomy event for the International Year of Astronomy. I participated in both the Friday and Saturday activities. Friday night, the clouds cleared just in time for observing and we had many visitors viewing the heavens for the first time. Awesome views of both Saturn and the moon were to be enjoyed.

Saturday, we had some of the best views of the Sun with many prominences. Club member Brad Hoehne was able to obtain some pictures of the sun taken through some of the solar telescopes on hand.

Tom Burns, Directory of Perkins Observatory, launched model rockets to the delight of the guests. Barbara S Andereck, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at OWU, presented a great lecture on Galileo. Of course, that evening presented more clear skies for everyone to enjoy.

Everyone was enthusiastic about the event. The staff at Perkins did a wonderful job running the event and many members of the club were on hand to run a telescope, park cars, and run the coffee and gift shops. I enjoyed the fellowship of my fellow amateur astronomers and the guests.

It was a very memorable event and I hope that everyone enjoyed the event as much as I did.

(Pictures taken by members of CAS)