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Issues with EQ6-R Pro

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#1 Baskevo

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 02:48 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I recently purchased a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount. Highpointscientific.com ended up replacing the one I bought a few months ago because the counterweight shaft fell out, and now I am having issues with the replacement.

 

First of all, the RMS error is not good--at least not as good as the original one I had replaced. I had RMS errors around .8" on bad nights with the original EQ6-R, this new one is at LEAST 1.32"on a good night, sometimes going all the way up to 2" total RMS error. I'm using the exact same settings as I did when I had the original mount with the bad counterweight shaft. It starts off decent for the first hour or two, and after a while it just progressively gets worst, no matter where I am pointing. I also know I have bad backlash, and it is not even measurable in PHD2...

 

Furthermore, for the last week or so, the RA axis gets stuck. It has happened about 4 times or so. EQMod says it is tracking but it is not tracking in the RA axis, and the guiding gets out of control, until the PHD2 star gets lost. I try to park the mount, and it only parks in the DEC axis, while the RA axis gets stuck. I have to restart the mount to get it going again, and when I start back up, the guiding is terrible.

 

I have already checked the power and the USB cable, I know that is not the issue. I plug it directly from the USB port on the mount, and don't use a hand controller.

 

I reached out to both skywatcher and Highpoint, but I wanted to see if anyone here has any suggestions... It is pretty frustrating, especially since this is the second skywatcher mount I have had issues with...

 

I'm using a side-by-side guiding setup, with a ES 80mm FCD100. I have about 12 - 14 lbs. on top of the mount. I am perfectly balanced, and I have been making sure too. Please let me know if there is anymore info I can provide.



#2 Ben Diss

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:09 AM

Newbie here, just getting to know my EQ6R as well. How are you powering it and what is the voltage you're feeding it when this happens? Are the RA and DEC knobs really, really super tight when it's not tracking?



#3 sg6

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:41 AM

I don't have the EQ6, do have the HEQ5 - somewhat similar.

I found my RA would freeze owing to slight misalignment of the gears. So might be worth you looking at those.

 

We have had the Skywatchers here for some years and many end up stripping the mounts and a rebuild. I did it to mine and the improvement was significant. In that it all works and works smoothly. Mine was however out of any warrenty.

 

You might want to look at the Rowan website. The belt drive from Skywatcher is very likely a copy/variant on theirs. So they may have instructions on installing their kit that you could cross reference to yours. Thinking gear, motor and belt positions and tensions.

 

Will say that from people here I would be hesitant over buying a Skywatcher. I do have 2 but they were purchased as slightly oppertunist.

 

The HEQ5 was a good price and I wanted a mount. Found it too heavy for casual use and someone I knew was selling their EQ5. So I took that.

 

The HEQ5 had been stripped and cleaned but reassembled a bit wrong, so likely that was the good price but 2 days and it was all smooth, I was then given, free, a full goto modification kit. The EQ5 had no motors and I have since fitted the basic dual drives. May buy and play with a Raspberry Pi to control the servos better on that.



#4 nate9862

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 09:00 AM

I strongly suggest you contact Skywatcher.  I bought a new EQ6-R Pro about 2 months ago and had a few problems -- some self inflicted, some not.  They've been extremely helpful and responsive to any issues that I've had with the mount.  Mine tracks <0.4 tot error with guiding and a good sharpcap assisted polar alignment.  I'd also check to see that the belts on the DEC and RA axis are taut -- otherwise you'd get pretty poor performance if there's any slack, and it's something easily diagnosable and replaceable. 

 

My hand controller died and skywatcher sent me a new one within a week of contacting them.  Now, my DEC axis belt kept falling off because the retaining ring either fell off or wasn't installed at the factory, but Skywatcher has offered to replace the entire mount head and sent me pre-paid postage.  Like I said, they obviously care about their equipment and company's reputation, and, more importantly, they care about their customers' experience.  I'd absolutely recommend that company to anyone for any of their products -- simply because of how awesome their customer service is.


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#5 OhmEye

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 11:00 AM

I strongly suggest you contact Skywatcher.  I bought a new EQ6-R Pro about 2 months ago and had a few problems -- some self inflicted, some not.  They've been extremely helpful and responsive to any issues that I've had with the mount.  Mine tracks <0.4 tot error with guiding and a good sharpcap assisted polar alignment.  I'd also check to see that the belts on the DEC and RA axis are taut -- otherwise you'd get pretty poor performance if there's any slack, and it's something easily diagnosable and replaceable. 

 

My hand controller died and skywatcher sent me a new one within a week of contacting them.  Now, my DEC axis belt kept falling off because the retaining ring either fell off or wasn't installed at the factory, but Skywatcher has offered to replace the entire mount head and sent me pre-paid postage.  Like I said, they obviously care about their equipment and company's reputation, and, more importantly, they care about their customers' experience.  I'd absolutely recommend that company to anyone for any of their products -- simply because of how awesome their customer service is.

This is great to hear. I haven't had any issues at all so far with my EQ6-R Pro itself but it's nice to think there is good support if I do.

 

The only complaint I can think of isn't exactly with the mount itself, but with the 8" pier extension they sell for it. It has a well known design flaw that allows it to rotate on the tripod and requires some annoying and creative DIY to fix.


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#6 Eric Seavey

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 12:16 PM

I have the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G and in certain positions it seemed like there were moments where it would stop tracking.  I took my whole mount apart and removed all the grease and put in high quality grease, tweaked the tension and went out to image... and.... grrrr same problem.  I may not have enough tension and therefore have a little play in the RA, so I should tweak the tension.  I found my problem went away when I always made sure the system is slightly east heavy, and haven't had a problem since.  I am too lazy to adjust the tension on my wormgear, and this is working now.



#7 NightBear

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 12:23 PM

I strongly suggest you contact Skywatcher.  I bought a new EQ6-R Pro about 2 months ago and had a few problems -- some self inflicted, some not.  They've been extremely helpful and responsive to any issues that I've had with the mount.  Mine tracks <0.4 tot error with guiding and a good sharpcap assisted polar alignment.  I'd also check to see that the belts on the DEC and RA axis are taut -- otherwise you'd get pretty poor performance if there's any slack, and it's something easily diagnosable and replaceable. 

 

My hand controller died and skywatcher sent me a new one within a week of contacting them.  Now, my DEC axis belt kept falling off because the retaining ring either fell off or wasn't installed at the factory, but Skywatcher has offered to replace the entire mount head and sent me pre-paid postage.  Like I said, they obviously care about their equipment and company's reputation, and, more importantly, they care about their customers' experience.  I'd absolutely recommend that company to anyone for any of their products -- simply because of how awesome their customer service is.

 

Wow is that typical for the EQ6-R? My tracking is usually around 0.8-1.0 total error, which I thought was normal.



#8 ftur62

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 12:25 PM

 

 

I am perfectly balanced, and I have been making sure too. 

I'm not sure if this is related to your problem, but I had similar issues with my EQ6R-Pro when imaging near the meridian.  I was perfectly balanced but as the scope neared the meridian the stars started to trail.  I know that the scope should be slightly heavy to the east, but I never really had to worry about that with my old mount (AVX).  However, when I shifted the counter weight "slightly" on my EQ6R, the issue got "slightly" better.  I then added more weight to the counterweight bar with string so I could easily remove it after a meridian flip and the issue improved significantly.   I'm not sure if this is common to all EQ6R Pros or just mine, but adding more weight to make it noticeably east heavy might help.  


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#9 Peregrinatum

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 12:40 PM

Couple of things to check:

 

1) did you calibrate PHD2 near the CE?

 

2)  have you made a PEC file for the mount?  good link here on the topic

 

3)  if you are doing AP, did you account for the cable weights when balancing, is there cable drag?

 

https://www.cloudyni...-pro/?p=8879191

 

I have had my EQ6-R for a year now, it always lets met guide with RMS equal to or close to plate scale.


Edited by Peregrinatum, 26 February 2020 - 12:45 PM.


#10 OhmEye

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 01:30 PM

Wow is that typical for the EQ6-R? My tracking is usually around 0.8-1.0 total error, which I thought was normal.

The guide camera image scale has a LOT to do with tracking error, so there's no useful comparison without that info. For good seeing conditions and 1.3"/pixel image scale my tracking error is typically 0.4-0.6". As seeing gets worse it can exceed 0.8" occasionally. I do have my EQ6-R Pro overloaded though, it has about 36 pounds of payload and 33 pounds of counterweight.



#11 TrustyChords

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 02:27 PM

Is the RA axis getting stuck mechanically (is it jammed or something?), or does it simply stop receiving commands from EQMOD?

 

What I'm wondering is if this is a power supply issue and not a mount issue, per se.

 

With my EQ6-R Pro, I've noticed that if the voltage drops momentarily on the power supplied to the mount, the symptom you described will occur-- that is, EQMOD will keep going along fine, but the mount ceases to respond. In my case, I have the mount's power supply plugged into the house power, and when the house Air Conditioner kicked on, it occasionally spikes the power and the mount would stop tracking in RA. I have to reset the mount, park to home (manually) and start all over to restart tracking.  Of course I make sure not to be running the A/C while tracking and this hasn't occurred since.

 

It may not be this (or something similar-- bad power supply, etc), but it is something you may want to watch for.


Edited by TrustyChords, 26 February 2020 - 02:28 PM.


#12 TrustyChords

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 02:33 PM

 

The only complaint I can think of isn't exactly with the mount itself, but with the 8" pier extension they sell for it. It has a well known design flaw that allows it to rotate on the tripod and requires some annoying and creative DIY to fix.

Yes, this really annoying. What I ended up doing was drilling through the bottom aluminum plate of the pier extension (that black round piece), and tapping it out so I can thread a bolt through. Then I drilled a shallow hole (1/4" deep) of the same size in the top of the tripod base. With the bolt threaded through, the pier can't spin.

 

Also, all of the tolerances are really loose, so I put a shim around the inside of the top of the pier where the cylinder slides around the top mounting piece, and another shim around the center piece on the bottom. All that play can add up to some shake. I'm still not 100% solid, but it's close.



#13 OhmEye

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 04:23 PM

Yes, this really annoying. What I ended up doing was drilling through the bottom aluminum plate of the pier extension (that black round piece), and tapping it out so I can thread a bolt through. Then I drilled a shallow hole (1/4" deep) of the same size in the top of the tripod base. With the bolt threaded through, the pier can't spin.

 

Also, all of the tolerances are really loose, so I put a shim around the inside of the top of the pier where the cylinder slides around the top mounting piece, and another shim around the center piece on the bottom. All that play can add up to some shake. I'm still not 100% solid, but it's close.

The design depends on the tube end being very tight against the tripod base, and the aluminum plate isn't flush with the end of the tube so there is a gap between the plate and the tripod when the center bolt is fully tightened down. I'm not sure how to drill and tap through the plate in a way that doesn't require mounting the plate without the tube attached. If the plate is bolted flush to the tripod with the tube removed then there isn't clearance/alignment for the 3 M6 tube screws to mount the tube. I think the plate really needs to be tightened down with the tube installed, so I'm not sure how to bolt the plate down first. Also, rather than shim the center hole so the pier can't move around I think I'd prefer to drill and tap 2 holes unless I can make a shim ring that is just perfectly sized with no wiggle at all.

 

Right now I have a 1/8" hole drilled through the plate and about 3/16" into the tripod, and a drill bit inserted backwards into the hole to prevent the plate from rotating. I cranked the center bolt down pretty tight at -15C so in warmer temps the thing is holding pretty darn tight for now but I do want to improve it permanently later.

 

I've also recently added leg spreaders and just built a dolly, so I can leave the entire rig assembled and stored in the garage. Once I have the pier extension solid I think I'm set for a few years. grin.gif



#14 TrustyChords

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 04:58 PM

I'm not sure how to drill and tap through the plate in a way that doesn't require mounting the plate without the tube attached. If the plate is bolted flush to the tripod with the tube removed then there isn't clearance/alignment for the 3 M6 tube screws to mount the tube. I think the plate really needs to be tightened down with the tube installed, so I'm not sure how to bolt the plate down first.

You could do this one of two ways.

 

1) As you mentioned- get a shim/spacer measured that sits between the bottom of the plate and the top of the tripod base. It wouldn't necessarily have to be to perfect tolerances-- just enough so the 3 M6 tube screws can be fitted once set. Then, thread the bolt through the plate and into the tripod base-top and tighten it down. With a little trial and error we should be able to get this height correct (enough) so that the 3 M6 tube screws can find the holes once it is all in place. IIRC the tube openings are significantly larger than the tube screws anyways (which could present another problem, but we'll take that one another day if it becomes one).

Or,

2) Install the entire bottom piece, plate along with the tube and bottom tube screws before putting on the top part. This way, you should be able to get a straight hex key screwdriver (assuming a hex bolt down through the plate) and tighten it all up snug while it's open. And then install the top piece along with the mount and the top tube screws. You may need someone to help you do that since it's pretty heavy and may need to be rotated etc to match the screws with the holes.

 

Right now, the top of my tripod plate isn't threaded, so the bolt just slots in there enough to prevent rotation, but not enough to completely tighten in place from the top.  But I may thread that and do option 1.

 

Am I missing anything? I could be missing some key thing... lol.gif
 


Edited by TrustyChords, 26 February 2020 - 05:00 PM.


#15 kyle528

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 06:54 PM

When I contacted SkyWatcher regarding a problem with my eq-6r, they had a replacement on it's way before they were done asking questions. They'll get you sorted out



#16 OhmEye

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 08:09 PM

2) Install the entire bottom piece, plate along with the tube and bottom tube screws before putting on the top part. This way, you should be able to get a straight hex key screwdriver (assuming a hex bolt down through the plate) and tighten it all up snug while it's open. And then install the top piece along with the mount and the top tube screws. You may need someone to help you do that since it's pretty heavy and may need to be rotated etc to match the screws with the holes.

I'm not sure I follow this. What do you mean by "before putting on the top part"? If the tube and bottom plate are assembled, I don't see a way to assemble the top part without the bottom part being open, since I have to fit my hand in the tube to tighten the bolt that secures the mount head. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem, to assemble the top the bottom must be open, and to get to the bottom plate while assembled the top must be open. Even if you mean a very long hex (or whatever) screwdriver to reach the bolt inside through the hole in the top plate, I think the same problems exist for assembling the top while the bottom is closed as the other way around. I'm not sure but I think the top plate may have the same issue with the edge of the tube as the bottom. I have it together right now but I will definitely check that out when I have it apart, thanks for the suggestions!



#17 TrustyChords

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 09:02 PM

I'm not sure I follow this. What do you mean by "before putting on the top part"? If the tube and bottom plate are assembled, I don't see a way to assemble the top part without the bottom part being open, since I have to fit my hand in the tube to tighten the bolt that secures the mount head. 

What I mean is, normally, I think you’d first 1) attach the top of the pier part with the handscrew to the bottom of the mount head, and then 2) attach the pier to that (with the top 3 tube screws), and then 3) finally set that all down on the tripod (mount head, pier attached), and then tighten the bottom 3 tube screws down.

 

Instead, I was suggesting perform 1) first, and then attach the pier to the tripod (3).

 

At this point, you could tighten down the bottom plate, inside the tube.

 

And then lastly set the mount head (with handscrewed piece attached) to the pier.

 

hope that makes sense.


Edited by TrustyChords, 26 February 2020 - 09:04 PM.


#18 OhmEye

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 09:38 PM

What I mean is, normally, I think you’d first 1) attach the top of the pier part with the handscrew to the bottom of the mount head, and then 2) attach the pier to that (with the top 3 tube screws), and then 3) finally set that all down on the tripod (mount head, pier attached), and then tighten the bottom 3 tube screws down.

 

Instead, I was suggesting perform 1) first, and then attach the pier to the tripod (3).

 

At this point, you could tighten down the bottom plate, inside the tube.

 

And then lastly set the mount head (with handscrewed piece attached) to the pier.

 

hope that makes sense.

Thanks, I follow now. My concern is that I've been assuming I have to do 2) before 1) or else the 3 tube screws won't align but that may be a wrong recollection. I will check that out when I get a chance, thanks again!



#19 klaussius

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 01:56 AM

And here I was almost decided on getting an EQ6-R Pro when the opportunity arises. This thread is filling me with doubts now.

 

Is it really as troublesome as this thread makes it seem? I heard others say this was a really good mount (for its price class)...



#20 Baskevo

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 02:16 AM

The one I had originally sent back was great, except for the busted counterweight shaft... There is a bearing that keeps the counterweight shaft from falling out, and the bearing came loose inside the DEC axis. Other than that, the mount was really great.

 

This new one is really bad... I was out there again last night and the RA got stuck twice. It is not the power nor the USB cable, and I don't think this is the kind of thing that can be solved with PEC, is it? It's pretty ridiculous...



#21 OhmEye

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 08:08 AM

And here I was almost decided on getting an EQ6-R Pro when the opportunity arises. This thread is filling me with doubts now.

 

Is it really as troublesome as this thread makes it seem? I heard others say this was a really good mount (for its price class)...

I'm very sorry to hear about the OP's experiences, but based on my own experiences and the EQ6-R Pro reputation on the forums I'm sure the problems the OP is having are not typical. This is really the first time I've noticed a report of such problems, it's very unfortunate. I would expect Highpoint to replace it quickly.


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#22 Eric Seavey

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 01:16 PM

And here I was almost decided on getting an EQ6-R Pro when the opportunity arises. This thread is filling me with doubts now.

 

Is it really as troublesome as this thread makes it seem? I heard others say this was a really good mount (for its price class)...

I've had my "Orion Atlas Pro" for four years and it is still going strong.  I've used it intensively too.  I think Orion/Skywatcher give you great value for the price.  Their customer service is good too, when I called them for recommendations for my "first scope system".  I think the good price/value is related to the relatively large number of items that they sell, and over the years, they have tweaked and improved their lineup.



#23 TrustyChords

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 01:19 PM

And here I was almost decided on getting an EQ6-R Pro when the opportunity arises. This thread is filling me with doubts now.

 

Is it really as troublesome as this thread makes it seem? I heard others say this was a really good mount (for its price class)...

For what it's worth, I'm very happy with mine so far, it does what I want it to do and then some.



#24 Kevin Ross

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 01:25 PM

Furthermore, for the last week or so, the RA axis gets stuck. It has happened about 4 times or so. EQMod says it is tracking but it is not tracking in the RA axis, and the guiding gets out of control, until the PHD2 star gets lost. I try to park the mount, and it only parks in the DEC axis, while the RA axis gets stuck. I have to restart the mount to get it going again, and when I start back up, the guiding is terrible.

When RA gets stuck, does it make a terrible sound, or is it silent?  Can you use the hand controller and just manually slew RA through the entire range of motion? If it makes terrible sounds and gets stuck, then its binding up, and is a pretty easy adjustment.

 

If it just stops responding, and is totally silent, then that would be something else entirely. Maybe something as simple as the connector for the RA stepper motor being loose. You can take the four screws off the faceplate quite easily and have a peek inside, just to check the connectors to the motors are solid.

 

A third possibility, if trying to slew RA and the motor is still running, and sounds normal, but nothing is happening, it could be the belt is too loose.

 

Hopefully Skywatcher support will get you up and running again.


Edited by Kevin Ross, 27 February 2020 - 01:27 PM.

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#25 Baskevo

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 07:26 PM

When RA gets stuck, does it make a terrible sound, or is it silent?  Can you use the hand controller and just manually slew RA through the entire range of motion? If it makes terrible sounds and gets stuck, then its binding up, and is a pretty easy adjustment.

 

If it just stops responding, and is totally silent, then that would be something else entirely. Maybe something as simple as the connector for the RA stepper motor being loose. You can take the four screws off the faceplate quite easily and have a peek inside, just to check the connectors to the motors are solid.

 

A third possibility, if trying to slew RA and the motor is still running, and sounds normal, but nothing is happening, it could be the belt is too loose.

 

Hopefully Skywatcher support will get you up and running again.

It is totally quiet, and it seems as if it is just not responding. They recommended that I update the firmware and try the PEC training... I feel like the PEC training wouldn't help... I will respond to them with your suggestions. I do not want to open the mount because 1) Last time I did that with the original, I made it worse because I'm really bad with stuff like this, and 2) I don't want to risk voiding the warranty.




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