Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

My Dark Site Fail

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Stricnine

Stricnine

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 459
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2018
  • Loc: DFW Area, TX

Posted 26 October 2020 - 10:23 PM

So I made a Friday night drive out into West Texas to a dark sky site.  I left around 11:15pm from DFW so I could arrive around the time the sky at the dark site was going to be clearing.  I get there around 3:45 am (after stopping to get some sleep as the clouds hadn't cleared yet).  Even with a slight haze the sky was spectacular.  When it cleared completely I looked at Mars out to the west, it was insanely bright compared to what I've been used to seeing in DFW.  The major stars in Orion were big and brighter than the other stars making it up, the bow was plain as day to me for the first time.  The stars looked close some how, like you could reach up and touch them.  I've been out in dark skies before, but this was something else, like seeing the night sky for the first time.

 

Any way the fail... I setup the SVQ100, aligned, configured NINA for a run on M42.  Got focused, set the focus brake, watched over the first 5 or so captures.  They looked okay, I was quite tired so I crashed in the car for a while.  I get up about an hour later, knowing I'd slept longer than I'd wanted.  The M42 sequence was on its last few images.  And they looked terrible, clearly way out of focus.  My fault, the telescope hadn't really reached a stable temperature before I started the sequence.  And I'd missed seeing that there was some tilt in the imaging train, something I knew about many months ago and how to correct it, but forgot all about from many months of not imaging DSO's and dealing with the quirks of the setup.  By then it was after 5am, still dark, about an hour or so before the sky would be wrecked by the sun's approach.

 

The laptop battery didn't last too much longer either, Li Ion batteries just don't do well in cool/cold temperatures.

 

2020-10-24 Dark Site Fail - Way Out Of focus

 

It's not really salvageable.  Looking through the images that were captured, I could see the changing focus, and after a mere 15 minutes it was looking like the image above.


  • calypsob likes this

#2 Cfreerksen

Cfreerksen

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,189
  • Joined: 18 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Tooele, Ut

Posted 26 October 2020 - 10:41 PM

bawling.gif



#3 B 26354

B 26354

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,698
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Southern California semi-desert (NELM mag 5.3)

Posted 26 October 2020 - 10:42 PM

frown.gif



#4 petert913

petert913

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,386
  • Joined: 27 May 2013
  • Loc: Silverton, OR

Posted 26 October 2020 - 10:48 PM

You say you didn’t arrive until 3:45 am?  How did you even get set up before dawn ?



#5 Stricnine

Stricnine

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 459
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2018
  • Loc: DFW Area, TX

Posted 26 October 2020 - 11:07 PM

You say you didn’t arrive until 3:45 am?  How did you even get set up before dawn ?

??? It doesn't take too long to setup the EQ6R Pro and put a telescope on it.  It took longer to get the software setup and PHD2 calibrated.  It was "Dark" (whatever that means in the Clear Outside app) until 6:16 am or so on that morning.

 

The astrophotography was a secondary goal on the trip, my main goal was to get some sunrise images of some wind turbine "farms".



#6 nimitz69

nimitz69

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,751
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: A barrier island 18 miles south of Cocoa Beach

Posted 27 October 2020 - 11:24 AM

Sorry to hear that .. this is why I built an observatory Vice doing the ‘dark site traveler’ thing it wouldn’t take too many of these to have m3 moving on to something else.  I’ll gladly sacrifice less time on target for connivence. Of course my skies aren’t all that bad either ... SQM 19.65



#7 Stricnine

Stricnine

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 459
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2018
  • Loc: DFW Area, TX

Posted 27 October 2020 - 08:43 PM

Sorry to hear that .. this is why I built an observatory Vice doing the ‘dark site traveler’ thing it wouldn’t take too many of these to have m3 moving on to something else.  I’ll gladly sacrifice less time on target for connivence. Of course my skies aren’t all that bad either ... SQM 19.65


shrug.gif I live in an apartment so a personal observatory is not possible.



#8 17.5Dob

17.5Dob

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 7,029
  • Joined: 21 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Colorado,USA

Posted 27 October 2020 - 09:09 PM

Unless you get an autofocus unit...sleeping is not an option. I'll "nap" for 30 min but then I have to check my focus for thermal shifts, especially this time of year.


  • calypsob likes this

#9 calypsob

calypsob

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,955
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:06 AM

been there done that. more than once I should say :| As Dave says above, you have to baby sit.  I set an alarm for every 30 minutes on my iphone to constantly check the laptop. If you do that nothing ever goes wrong. If you dont babysit, for some reason everything goes wrong in about 120 seconds. 


  • happylimpet likes this

#10 Stricnine

Stricnine

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 459
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2018
  • Loc: DFW Area, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 03:51 AM

been there done that. more than once I should say :| As Dave says above, you have to baby sit.  I set an alarm for every 30 minutes on my iphone to constantly check the laptop. If you do that nothing ever goes wrong. If you dont babysit, for some reason everything goes wrong in about 120 seconds. 

Yeah, I know to babysit, especially the software, LOL.  Knowing that the telescope wasn't fully cooled down, I should've stayed up and kept a closer eye on it.  But, I was quite sleepy too, and the later won over the former.

 

My "favorite" moments over the past few years are when the forecast has been saying 0% cloud coverage all night.  Everything is going well, hours into it.  I get out for a regularly scheduled check on the equipment/software and find it's 100% overcast and PHD2 has driven the mount off into the weeds and is close to running the telescope/imaging train into the tripod.  That's happened too many times.



#11 Joe F Gafford

Joe F Gafford

    Skylab

  • ****-
  • Posts: 4,425
  • Joined: 15 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Denver, Colorado, US

Posted 28 October 2020 - 05:04 AM

  Most of us has been through a few calamities out there. Yours just the latest. Several months ago, the DSS forecast had the wind die down after sunset. I set up in the wind but it got worse and changed direction, causing damage to the portable dome and 18" scope. I picked up the pieces and had the scope repaired the next day with improvements with the drive. The dome took a few days as I was COVID metering the visits to stores to get parts and food. I got some good shots last month with a 2-day clear window with good seeing without the smoke.

 That calamity caused me to take apart the loose RA stacked motor and found some looseness not caused by the incident. I had to modify the autoguide settings and I got a better result. Even the busted RA encoder was repaired. Sometimes it takes a calamity. 

 

Joe


  • michael legary likes this

#12 michael legary

michael legary

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 28
  • Joined: 26 May 2019

Posted 29 October 2020 - 03:23 PM

  Most of us has been through a few calamities out there. Yours just the latest. Several months ago, the DSS forecast had the wind die down after sunset. I set up in the wind but it got worse and changed direction, causing damage to the portable dome and 18" scope. I picked up the pieces and had the scope repaired the next day with improvements with the drive. The dome took a few days as I was COVID metering the visits to stores to get parts and food. I got some good shots last month with a 2-day clear window with good seeing without the smoke.

 That calamity caused me to take apart the loose RA stacked motor and found some looseness not caused by the incident. I had to modify the autoguide settings and I got a better result. Even the busted RA encoder was repaired. Sometimes it takes a calamity. 

 

Joe

Darn that wind Joe. I had a windy time when I took my Edge8 down to the DSS on the 16th, and got my corrector plate cleaned, then a gust of wind blew my finger into the corrector. Worst day of my astroimaging life. Luckily, coatings weren't damaged, and there was just a smudge from the finger. Good old high quality cotton balls and 999 pure water does the trick every time cleaning these things.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics