Finally! A hot night on tap, but a clear night. Jupiter... at its highest, GRS prominent, and Callisto is going to skim by the south pole...
I can't mess with my APM 6" F8, so I'm going with a much lighter 6" F8 -- my 1971 Criterion RV-6 Dynascope. Just got in from setting up the "new" 2nd Meade StarFinder EQ on the short pedestal. Haven't had time or health to cut off the cradle ends, so I swapped DEC axes from the tall to the short. With this Heat, no imaging (NWS says it'll be 90F at 2100 local!), just looking. Besides, I've already made some excellent photos with this old reflector. And yes, I'm carrying several sweat rags with me tonight.
Mission Accomplished! In 2 sweaty hours, Jupiter in vivid colors, and a red GRS from 60x & up. 300x with a Radian 4mm gave a big disk, but the seeing didn't support it. The dry front that cleared the skies, left them stirring too much. 170x with a Nagler 7mm was crisp, and I could see a bit of structure inside the GRS in the calmer moments. M13 with this eyepiece was glorious. I could look straight at its center, and the halo stars glittered. As usual, a great DSO night got wrecked by the Moon. While it was below the tree line, I swept back & forth between Lyra & Cygnus, savoring the rich Milky Way, and checking out all of the doubles (& a few triples!). I used the spectros Big Barrel Kellners -- flat fields edge to edge -- at 24x, 30x, & 40x.
Last night was also an equipment check for my 2nd StarFinder EQ that I put on a short pedestal. Cleaning & re-greasing paid off -- DEC axis swings as easily as my 4" Edmund's mount. It's missing the battery pack, so I used a 9V (they don't last long but I knew it would be a short session). Tracking was good enough for visual at 300x, and for planetary imaging.
I'll be in "official" recovery until the end of OCT. So, setup takes more time -- I can't haul everything out at once. Carried the bare mount to the NE corner of the pool deck, then the counterweights, then the tube rings, then the scope -- all before dinner. Then, I had to rest. My gear has limits, and so do I.
Before I moved the OTA from my man cave (where it has a place of honor!), I checked collimation. I could see it was slightly off, and the LASER confirmed it. I tweaked it with the device, but you better believe as soon as Arcturus broke out, I re-checked. Yep, had to re-tweak. Swung the scope north to Beta Bootes, and confirmed. ALL before I turned the RV-6 to Jupiter. Y'all it pays off, no matter what scope you've got, or how old it is.
If the air had been calmer, I would've made some images. Instead, I sat on my bar stool and gawked. So much color -- red, brown, orange, gray, & black -- and these were true colors. Excellent resolution at 133x with the UO HD OR9. As usual, I kept pushing the power up, just to see... I did discover that this vintage Japanese focuser has a tiny bit of slump with the heavy TV eyepieces that I don't see with UO HDs. Even with the hit to resolution, the wide fields were worth it -- Jupiter & its Galileans floating in a field of stars. Can't beat that. Here's one of my shots from 2 YEARS AGO that shows some of what this scope can do:
This old reflector thinks it's a refractor. Only my APOs have tinier micro-dot faint stars than this 48 year old Criterion. I locked on M13 for almost a half hour. I'd forgotten how well the RV-6 explodes that globular. Dazzling is the most accurate description.
Edited by Bomber Bob, 17 August 2019 - 07:19 AM.