Back home from OCA Anza July 10, 2005

  The above photo shows the Mt. Wilson Observatory 16 inch telescope along with the Group III operators and instructors.   From left to right is:

  Me, David Jurasovich (supervisor), Darrell Moon (Group I operator), Nora Demuth (Group III operator and astronomer from El Camino College), and Arbi  Karapetian (Group III operator and spacecraft engineer from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

  Currently I am a certified Group III visual operator and will be training for my instrumentation rating this fall.

  I am back home from a trip to OCA Anza.  I spent all of Saturday afternoon and night there, sleeping over in my truck’s camper.  I left Sunday morning early after sunrise.

I set up my telescope at another member’s pad,  as that member was not present that day. I used his telescope pier and found that it was not polar aligned.   Since it was in that condition I elected not to attempt any astrophotography.  It is not permitted for another person to adjust a pier owned by another person.

After I set my telescope on the pier, I discovered that my RA setting circle gear was again malfunctioning, and that the entire fork assembly was wobbling in RA even with the lock engaged. This was another serious problem that required repairs.  I elected to repair the telescope the following morning when the sun came up.

So with my own telescope out of whack,  I travelled up to the club observatory and visited with the operators there.  I commandeered an unused LX200/10 that was mounted in the corner,  and played with it by slewing it to various Messier objects.  The LX200 is a full “goto” type telescope that autiomatically moves to any object that you tell it to go to, thus a “goto” telescope.  Since the telescope used the same software program that I use on my telescope and the LX200 at Mt. Wilson, it was easy for me to run  the telescope around the sky.

This is different from my personal telescope, which whimsically is called a “pushto” telescope. You manually position the telescope after it tells you which way to move it.

As usual, the summer brings temendous amounts of astronomy activities. I am having to make tough choices between my responsibilities to the OCA club and my commitments the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

On  August 7th and September 10th, 24th an 30th I will be operating the Mt. Wilson Observatory’s 16 inch telescope. Typically these sessions are always run by two operators;  one serving at the controls while the other operator narrates and otherwise entertains the clients.

By serving at four sessions, I will earn a tremendous amount of personal time on the telescope, which I will use up during the Mars opposition in October and November of this year. I intend to image Mars as much as I can, similar to what I did with the TIE telescope during the 2003 opposition.

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~ by matthewota on July 10, 2005.

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