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Dark Matter Observatory Construction log

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#126 nimitz69

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:13 PM

A/c duct work completed today.  Tomorrow I'll install the last couple of pieces of insulation, the 4 toggle hold-down clamps for the roof & probably the 32' LED strip lighting.  The only thing left after that will be some kind of fold-down shelf for my laptop.  I also wouldn't mind some kind of hand crank rope or chain system to open & close the roof but that's not needed immediately.

 

I also need to build a small ramp so that I  can roll my 14" Dob in for storage & back out again to image/observe.  Of course the CEO is still waiting for me to redo the outside rocks & edging ....

ac inside.jpg


Edited by nimitz69, 31 December 2019 - 08:27 AM.

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#127 nimitz69

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:13 PM

vent outside.jpg


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#128 nimitz69

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 04:22 PM

interior walls, trim, LED lighting &  a ramp to move my 14" Dob in & out of the observatory are done.  2 things left to do:

 

install the toggle tiedowns for the roof & install a fold down shelf for my laptop

 

I also need to redo the edging & rocks on the exterior

 

At that point the observatory is complete .... except for the whole 'install all the equipment & learn how to make it all play together ' thing .... dalek12.gif

interior done.jpg

 

LEDs.jpg


Edited by nimitz69, 04 January 2020 - 04:23 PM.

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#129 nimitz69

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 02:57 PM

image of lights on with door closed ... plenty of light

 

lights.jpg



#130 nimitz69

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:06 PM

went to install the hold downs and realized my LED strips were in the way so I had to order some connectors to make space ... cut the strips, insert the connector & you're done ... just like the instructions say .... nice!

hold downs.jpg

 

only thing left to do is install a fold down shelf for my laptop & I'm going to wait until I get the scope installed to see the best place to do it

 

Now I have to tackle locating the hole on my 'pier-to-mount' plate precisely so that I can screw in the Az adjustment bolt.  not 100% sure on how I'm going to do this since I can't afford to make a mistake.  My current cunning plan is to use the Az adjustment bolts on the mount to hold a marker pen and then lower the mount onto my plate & have the marker pen mark its location.  as long as I can get the pen level & ensure it doesn't move and have it level with the bottom of the mount so the tip of the pen just touches the plate without pushing it around .... sure -- no problem  dalek12.gifdalek12.gif

 

after that its wait for a clear night to check my ability to see Polaris & do a SharpCap PA and then its on to installing everything.


Edited by nimitz69, 10 January 2020 - 03:08 PM.

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#131 nimitz69

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 04:26 PM

realized I needed to put primer over the floor before putting down the vinyl flooring so I won't be able to install the flooring until tomorrow.  Decided to finally tackle drilling the hole for the AZ adjustment bolt

 

AZ adj bolt.jpg

 

and had to make  to trips to Ace to get the right length but in the end everything fits together nicely

 

 

 

 

hopefully there will be a clear night for at least 1 hr this week so I can check PA alignment


Edited by nimitz69, 11 January 2020 - 04:29 PM.

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#132 nimitz69

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 04:29 PM

mount plate.jpg


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#133 nimitz69

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 09:57 PM

floor installed but I was just too tired to try and install the mount/plate assembly ...

BFEA2250-71DB-40AB-AA91-377D5188D642.jpeg

 

Still, since that's really part of equipment install I think we're going to call the observatory complete.  Updating the landscaping doesn't count dalek12.gifdalek12.gif   ....

 

But I will need to do that before I can have my astro club's monthly mtg at my house so everyone can see it ... the earliest that would be is the 3rd week in Feb so even I can probably get that done before then ...

 

next set of pics will be with equipment being installed .... yeah ....


Edited by nimitz69, 12 January 2020 - 09:59 PM.

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#134 nimitz69

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 05:26 PM

mount is now connected to pier & leveled

mount on pier.jpg

 

even managed to get half of the new exterior border and rocks installed ....

 

all i need now is a clear night to check that I can do a PA with Sharpcap ....

 

I understand there will likely be a clear night this September so I got that going for me ...dalek12.gif


Edited by nimitz69, 18 January 2020 - 05:27 PM.

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#135 nimitz69

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:26 PM

telescope is now installed and tonight is supposed to be clear so I can finally do a PA check

7552007C-983F-4E10-A6A7-E7D08EE42CF4(1).jpeg



#136 nimitz69

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:31 PM

scope installed.jpg

 

I also spent the afternoon updating all my s/w and downloading the drivers for all my new equipment.  next will be installing the 1600 mm Pro & EFW on the scope and updating everything in SGP.. At that point I'll be ready to take some images & once that is all working it will be time to install the Senso auto focuser and get that functional.


Edited by nimitz69, 20 January 2020 - 05:34 PM.

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#137 Tom K

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 10:22 PM

Looking good!



#138 nimitz69

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:42 PM

 So although it was 46 degs last night it was clear so i decided to go out to see if i could do a PA.  Got SharpCap up with the PA tool selected and an image appeared on the screen — about 12-14 stars were highlighted and the image looked a little out of focus so i decided to try and Sharpen it up - bad idea. The stars disappeared and i could never get it back in focus. Tried resetting, unplugging and restarting, etc but nothing.  Waved my hand in front of the camera and saw the image Dim so i know it was working but Could never get any stars back.  Finally succumbed to the cold and packed it in.

 

I did bring my NVD out and at one point I held it next to the guide scope and turned it on to see what the guide scope was seeing and there were plenty of stars and what I assume was Polaris. Unfortunately in the evening the Little Dipper is pointed down and at my latitude (28 deg) I can’t see any of the bucket since it is covered by houses and trees.  It’s been so long since I’ve been out I was a little unsure what i was looking at ... lol.  Comparing the view against Sky Safari there is a group of 4 stars horizontally NW of where Polaris should be and another group of 3 stars on a diagonal NE to SW which were clearly visible.

 

tonight is again clear but instead of being outside in my 44 deg/25 kt windswept backyard I’m here posting on the forum.  By the weekend it should be back to normal and we’ll try again 


Edited by nimitz69, 21 January 2020 - 06:46 PM.


#139 Tom K

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 08:55 PM

Sometimes folks can get rough focus in daylight on a distant object so you are at least in the ballpark at night.



#140 nimitz69

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 06:55 PM

i actually have the focus point marked on the guidescope because when i was first learning how to use the guidescope for SharpCap I had similar focusing woos so once i found a focus that worked i marked it .... when I set back to that point - nothing - which why i started scratching my head.

 

i might have to take the scope out and put in on my little manual EQ-1 mount I use for my cruise ship astronomy gigs and see if I can focus on some distant object during the day 



#141 nimitz69

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 08:40 PM

Got the SharpCap PA function working and managed to do a successful PA.  Now I can install the camera, EFW & focuser and and see abut getting everything running.  Since I’ve never had an auto focuser before I’ll probably initialed just do manual focus until I can everything else working correctly and then once I’m confident I can take images with the setup I’ll tackle getting the auto focuser running.  During the cloudy nights I’ll complete my cal library. Should be able to build an extensive library with the number cloudy nights we have around here ...dalek12.gif  


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