Various discussions come up on CN about working in the cold and I wanted to submit this information.
Cold and clear tonight in Fairbanks, and I wanted to test my systems at these temps. It is pretty brutal outside right now, but I am very pleased with two of the mounts that I have listed in my signature below.
1. SPDX relubed with Dow Molykote 33 is working just fine at -30F. All manual, no drives, but easy to use slo-mo handles and slewing by releasing the locks.
2. SP relubed with Arctic grease (I will find manufacturer later tonight) and even easier to move and drive. This is to be expected as the tolerances of the SP are much less than the SPDX.
3. Stellarvue 102 EDT focusing has no issues...very easy with JMI two speed focuser.
4. Rigel finder is fine after I took it apart last season, relubed the brightness pot with arctic grease and wired in 2 double A batteries for power. Before that, it would freeze solid at 0-5F.
5. Pentax 7x50 binos are useless at these temps....they are a rock and cannot be focused, the diopter eyepiece is frozen and I can't adjust the width. These will need to be taken apart and relubed.
6. Bogen fluid head on photo tripod is no longer fluid...completely frozen solid.
Easy to find bright targets tonight with Rigel , but using setting circles at these temps is a real challenge to find objects not visible in Rigel. I find these easy at warmer temps, but with huge gloves, frost, and other cold challenges, they are a little tough.
Great views of Mars, M45, etc. I tried to find Uranus, but just could not do it tonight with star hopping and setting circles...will try again tomorrow night (it should be about 10F warmer in 24 hr). I found Uranus very easily last week in Southern Calif where it was warm and I could set a computer near me outside to use stellar software...can't do that at these temps.
Many, many layers of clothing, extreme boots and the safety / warmth of a house within 10ft. I will go out again later when Orion is higher in the sky.
I will go out in the AM to get some views of Venus, though it is very low on the horizon.
That't the report for tonight.....more tomorrow when it is slightly warmer.
Edited by msl615, 12 January 2019 - 01:06 AM.