Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 5 report

Earlier this week I updated one of my favorite astronomy software programs Deep-Sky Planner to version 7.  I've used this program for several years to plan my observing sessions and to record my observations.   I find the program exceptionally easy to use, full featured, reliable, regularly updated, and very well supported.   I've considered writing a review, but I've found that Rod Molise has penned very good reviews on his blog and in Sky & Telescope  magazine July 2015. If you don't use planning software or if you use a different program, give Deep-Sky Planner a look.

Aug 5 - A very warm & humid night but after an afternoon thunderstorm the skies are remarkably clear. Only a few spotty clouds. The rain cooled off the temp (it is 78 now at 2100 hrs). Mosquitoes are thick and I have the Thermocells going but I've already been bitten once.

My plan was to work on a drift alignment of the mount.  Since mounting my G-11 on the pier in the observatory I've used the polar scope to align, but I do observe image shift between 90 second exposures.  For this setup I'll used my Mallincam with no focal reducer or Barlow.
I followed the instructions written by Ray Shore and posted on AstroPhotography Tonight.  This was my first attempt at drift alignment and I approached it tentatively, making small adjustments, measure the drift, tweak some more, remeasure the drift, etc, etc, etc...  I did find settings that resulted in no perceptible drift for over 5 minutes, but after aligning the altitude and returning to check the azimuth, the drift had returned.  This back & forth went on for hours and frankly I'm not so sure that my final alignment is any better than when I started.   I'll revisit this process at my next observing session and hope to home in on a more stable alignment for my mount.

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