12 June, 2017

Some test images of Saturn with the big telescope and CCD. 

Photometry of W Lyr in BVI photometric filters. 

5 June, 2017

Sky is very hazy tonight.. Arcturus is barely visible!

Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson is to be the brightest tonight.. I kept of taking images of it. Each 60 seconds long in Luminance Filter. Made an animation of 3 hours of conitnuous data.  

Nothing else could be done tonight. 

1 June, 2017

Multiple runs for the inherent Periodic Error Corrections of the mount tonight.

At the end made a very very good Periodic Error Correction Curve!! 

Measured the position of 'planet' Pluto. 

Tested recently made new Pointing model of the scope and it is working flawlessly!!

31 May, 2017

Updated the 'Main board Firmware' of Gemini Control.

Rebalanced the Titan Mount.

Made a new Pointing Model.. not happy with the final readings.. will try it again.

29 May, 2017

Windy nights these days. 

Tried to make another pointing model with Tpoint and SkyX.. Halfway through, have to abondon it. High winds were not helping! 

Tomorrow, will give it another try. 

27 May, 2017

It was slightly windy. 

Grabbed an hour of data of an asteroid; later of which astrometric position will be found and sent to the Internatinal Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.

Tried to image Tabby's Star but the wind gusts were too high for any meaningful autoguiding to work properly. 

Waited for a couple of hours with no luck. 

26 May, 2017

Gusts of wind were troubling me to get a good guiding in the first part of the night. I was truing to obtain Photometric V band data of 'Tabby's Star'. Had to leave it because guiding was being impossible! Though managed to grab a few 60 second unguided exposures.

Found Pluto and got a decent Luminance data of the 'Planet'. 

25 May, 2017

Got some photometric readings of 'Tabby's Star' in V and I band with good SNR.

Also grabbed about an hour's worth of Luminance Data of M27 nebula. 

Guiding was not behaving after about 50 minutes, both for Tabby's Star and M27. This has never happened before. 

Tested my southern most imaging possibilty tonight as well.. a bright star (~mag 3) appeared at around 10 degrees of southern altitude. I believe Omega Centauri can be imaged (poorly of course) from my observatory.

Did some experiments with new techniques for taking Flat Frames.. which were unsuccessful.  

23 May, 2017

Spent 3 hours on aqcuiring a continuous data of an asteroid. Hopefully this will give me a light curve as well, along with the usual astrometric information.  

22 May, 2017

Installed some ferrite rings on a few wires.. hopefully this will help some wierd behavior i am seeing in USB connections.  

Captured some good data of an asteriod. Learning more and more on Astrometry. 

Photoshop CS was not compatible on my 4K display.. finally installed Photoshop CC. 

20 May, 2017

I have changed the position of the Weather Station and now it is standing 15 feet high. This will help to get better wind speed data and the temperature measurements.  

14 May, 2017

Losmandy Titan mount without a doubt an outstanding mount! After using it for almost 15 years, i still am impressed by the quality of its performance. Carring C14 and a load of 5 instruments on its back, it still gives me superb performance.. very very happy with this machine and it is half the cost of Paramount!! 

Over the years, i have been using it with first serial connection, then USB and tonight i connected it with the ethernet cable.. configured the network settings and there you go.. all the controls with so many options are now on the web browser!

Fiest thing i did is to update main board firmware and hand control firmare. It took some time to figure out things but finally got it done. 

There are many new changes in the update but one of the feature which i am most excited about is a change in the pointing algorithm. A few goto tests did show clear improvement. I will however thoroughly test it in a couple of days to come.

I also changed the park position of the scopw tonight. 

A night well spent at the observatory. 

 

8 May, 2017

Moon is high up in the sky so no data acquisition possible these days.

Took dark frames of 900 seconds.

Tried taking flat frames with the light panel but no success. It seems three acrylic sheets are not enough to dim down the light for this purpose.

31 March, 2017

I was late reaching the observatory.. Tried some more data on M82 galaxy.. could only get 10 minutes before the telescope limits were reached.

The black eye galaxy was in a good spot. Focused the scope on a star near the galaxy.. guide star was found and got a first image of 5 minutes.. it was a good sight!  Then something happened to the guiding.. recalibrated the guide star and all but still the autoguiding was not good.

I thought is having some more data on M87 Jet but i already have a good SNR there so was not so appealing to me.

I found a good bright star for autoguiding for M3 globular cluster. After the exposure check, i could guide at 4Hz! Baged 40 minutes data of this cluster and called the night off. 

 

26 March, 2017

Changing season also requires some changes in the observatory equipments' settings. Onw of these changes is the mechanical difference of focusing point in the TCF focuser.

I try to delay it as long as i can, because it required some more changes in the telescope and the mount.

Last night, the focuser got focused (and poorly) at around step 100 in TCF Focuser. I knew i wont be able to focus the next day.

So this evening, i performed these steps:

1. I opened the locks of the mirror cell of C14.

2. Set the TCF Focuser at 4000 step.

3. Put the Bahtinov Mask on C14. 

4. Slewed the mount to Dubhe, a bright star in Ursa Major.

5. Changed the focus knob of C14 until the three lines were in the desired position My CCD was still attached and was taking 1 second continuous images which was being shown on my computer in the human room.. i was watching and controlling the software on the iphone though).

6. Took off the Mask from the front of the telescope. 

7. Locked the Mirror Cell.

8. Collimated the Secondary Mirror using Bob's Knobs. 

9. Adjusted the pointing model, which changed a little. 

Went to the Human Room and refocused the star from The Sky X Pro software. It got a perfect focus at 4231 step. TCF Focuser has 15.2 mm of tube travel with zero backlash. It covers this distance kn 7000 steps.. talk aboit precision focusing!!

I wanted to image M81, but a lot of time was lost and the observatory wall was in the view. Still i got a few minutes on M81.

Next i moved on to M87.. this is my second attempt on imaging the jet of this galaxy. Focused the system again near the galaxy, found a guide star, rotated the imaging train, calibrated the mount and the adaptive optics, initiated autoguiding at 3Hz, started taking 5 minutes exposures. 

Thin clouds were in the sky for a while but the guide star did not vanish so i kept going. 

Got 3 hours of exposure in the end! Will process these frames in a couple of days.

 

25 March, 2017

Reached early evening to the observatory.. Summers have started to show up with the change in the CCD camera cooling system. Inwas imaging at -30C, now swtiched to -20C. I have already got dark library for -20C so no extra work for me!

Tood some images of M82, the cigar galaxy tonight, until it changed the meridian. Also my observatory wall started obstructing the telescope view. 

Adaptive Optics' Autoguiding was working at 3 Hz.. 3 corrections being applied in 1 second!! Though it was slightly windy at the time, but 3 Hz kept the galaxy dead center at all times!

Inital processing seems promising! 

23 March, 2017

I am not happy with my current flat field images.. i have tried various changes but still the background is not what i would like it to be. 

Will be attempting a new method next week.. peeparing stuff for that. 

22 March, 2017

Spent the whole night in takig new flats. Using an image rotator is a blessing indeed when it comes to finding a guide star BUT its a curse when using flat frames! 

Also made three animation of a couple of comets captured this last week. 

100 new drak frames of 120 seconds are also new tonight. 

20 Feb, 2017

18:45

After a long time, i came to the observatory. Weather is clear though not very transparent. 

21:00

For some unknown reason, everything is reset in the Gemini Control.. Everything! The Gemini GPS reciever is working incorrectly.. it correctly identifies the geographical coordinates but the timezone is completely wrong. I woud have to look more into it. For now, i am doing manual entires.

Telescope says the mount is tracking but it is not. Have restarted the Gemini Control a few times.. no solution yet.

22:00

'Cold Start' is the final solution for almost every problem Gemini faces. Pointing it at North and restarting the mount as 'Cold Start'

Pointing and Tracking is still bad.  Also the SkyX Pro is not correctly controlling the mount.

22:30  

Slewed to a star, Caster and synched the mount with it. All is fine now.

23:00

I do not usually image DSOs.. but for fun, aqcuiring luminance data of a spiral galaxy right now. 

03:00

Clouds came after some time and i could get only 80 minutes of luminance data.

04:00

Observatory is closed.