Monday, September 5, 2011

A Love-Hate Relationship

I have a love-hate relationship with the telescope mount that I use at the observatory. For reasons that I have yet to determine, it works very well sometimes and not so great other times. I will spend several hours trying to tweak the thing and the results will be mediocre, which is a shame considering that this is supposed to be a high-end mount.

Maybe it's me, but on the other hand I can set up my little Vixen SP mount with the ST80 and get very good results with a minimum of fuss. (One major difference, though, is that the ST80 has a much wider field of view, and so is a little more forgiving of tracking errors.)

Anyway, I finally got to spend some time working with the Epsilon-200 after a long hiatus. I battled the mount, which apparently thought it was on another planet, for a couple of hours and managed to squeeze in about two hours of imaging. All of my intended targets had either set or crossed into the light pollution of Huntsville (why didn't I use the light pollution filter???), so I picked the following items to image:

Messier 2, Epsilon-200 on NJP mount, 16x60 + 8x30
Messier 29, Epsilon-200 on NJP mount, 13x90
NGC 6992, the Eastern Veil; Epsilon-200 on NJP mount; 9x180
Addendum:  The right ascension motor had come loose on one side, resulting in the tracking errors that plagued me the night that I took the above images. The problem became obvious while slewing the scope during a star party--the dust cover that protects the gears began scraping one of the gears as the motor slipped further down. After reattaching the motor and balancing and aligning the scope, everything started working fine.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, very nice, Rory! I especially like M29. That's the best image of that I can remember seeing! The diffraction spikes off the brighter cluster stars set it apart from the background nicely. You should send that one in to S&T. Congrats there! The others are nice, too. Val