Feder Observatory

A Blog for Minnesota State University Moorhead's Paul P. Feder Observatory

Observing Log Oct. 13 0

Posted on October 14, 2016 by Erin Aadland

Tyler, Stefan, and Erin went out to the observatory with the intention of observing WASP-75 b.  The temperature was around 40 F, the focus was set to 2842, and the FWHM was between 4 and 7.  When we turned on the continuous shooting and the subframe  in order to focus the telescope, MaxIm DL decided it didn’t want to stop taking images. We had to focus the camera multiple times before it worked.  Then we tried observing WASP-75 b before realizing that the object was too close to the moon.  We also tried to get images of M31 but couldn’t get the exposure time right.


Observing Log for June 28, 2016 0

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Juan

Andy, Eli, and Juan Observing

Notes on the testing of the color camera, 8:35 pm start.  Testing running the Celestron Nightscape camera from the control room of Feder using Maxim DL.

  • Celestron Nightscape camera installed without much of an issue.
  • We installed the Celestron Nightscape ASCOM drivers on XP box.
  • Maxim DL setup
    • Tried setting up Celestron Nightscape as Camera 2.  Didn’t appear to work.  We had to switch it to Camera 1 using the “Celestron” setting with no Filter wheel, then it connected.  
    • We wrote down the original Camera 1 settings for Apogee camera, since we will have to reset it.
      • Apogee USB/Net
      • Filter set to Optec IFW
        • Position 1 Home 
        • Position 2 B
        • Position 3 V
        • Position 4 R
        • Position 5 I
        • COM Port COM6
    • While we were able to snap images, we were getting no image data back from the Nightscape camera.  We switched to using the AstroFX software from Celestron with the same results, images of zeros returned.  
      • Contacted Jeff at USNA (who loaned us the camera).  He experienced similar problems when trying to read out camera with USB1, it would overflow the connection.  Need a USB2 connection to have it work.   
      • I did test this out by running the camera from my Mac laptop using a Virtual Windows PC and it worked, but this makes it a little more difficult to run things since we have to run the observing from the observatory dome.
  • We switched back to Apogee to get pointing fixed up.
    • Astrometry acquired using astrometry.net and got telescope pointed.
    • 68˚F air temp —> 2846 focus implied for Apogee.  Settled at 2852 and getting 8-12 pixels FWHM.  Not great.
  • We swapped back to Celestron, staying on 5th magnitude star to allow focus.  Had to adjust the focus clear out to 3032 to get the best focus (so a difference versus Apogee of +180).
  • We targeted 1727 Mette (JPL ephemeris says 15:08:24, +16:37:55, repointed to +16:36:28 when I realized I was using wrong position).  I programmed the Astro FX software to shoot thirty 180 second frames.
  • We realized dome tracking was turned off, so we lost the last 10 frames. 🙁
  • Andy and Juan were finished around 2:15 am.  We reinstalled the Apogee camera and turned over the telescope to Eli who observed his variable stars, presumably until dawn.

Observing Log for June 4, 2016 0

Posted on June 10, 2016 by Laura Maixner

Andy, Eli, and I went out on the night of the 4th. Temperature was around 65F, focus set to 2865, and FWHM varied between 4.25 and 7 pixels. We looked at the open cluster IC 4665 in 4 sections since it covers a lager area of the sky than the telescope can capture in one shot. We also took lots of extra flats and bias images that Eli will use for linearizing the telescope and his other research.

We had some trouble with DFM TCS and Maxim DL crashing during the night and the computer froze at the end of the night while we were taking the darks so we had to restart the system. We also could not get the telescope to return to it’s starting position at the end of the night. We tried restarting the computer and DFM TCS but the normal procedures wouldn’t work so we put the cover on and had to leave it as it was.

Observing Log for May 1, 2016 0

Posted on May 02, 2016 by Matt

Went out for a relatively brief session this evening. Temperature started at around 60F, focus set to 2860, with FWHM between 5 and 7 pixels. I could have gotten this a bit sharper but it didn’t need to be for what I was observing. I observed EY UMa, TrES-3 and the standard star field SA104.

Northern lights were great tonight for the first hour!

Observing Log, Apr 11, 2016 0

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Matt

Temperature was 33F, focus 2811, and FWHM roughly 3.5.

After the astronomy field trip was done we decided to take some images of M101 for turning into pretty pictures since the seeing was so good.

UNFORTUNATELY, the “Auto Dark” setting in MaxIm DL was turned on, so the images are useless for science. On the upside, no need to stay later to take flats….

Laura Herzog and Matt Craig did the observing tonight.

Observing Log 2/26/16 0

Posted on February 27, 2016 by Erin Aadland

Elias Holte, Laura Maixner, and I came out to observe M3.  The night started out with a camera error, where the camera wouldn’t connect to the computer.   After unplugging and replugging various cords, the camera finally connected.  Then after taking images of M3, the filter wheel had the error “Error=4” which was fixed by disconnecting the filter wheel in the MaxiumDL Setup tap of the camera control window.  We finished the night by taking pretty pictures of M51.

Temp = 38F

Focus = 2825

FWHM = 4.5

Observing Log, 1/3/2016 0

Posted on January 04, 2016 by Matt

Came out tonight to observe a maximum of EY UMa. Weather was excellent, temperature 15F, focus 2799, FWHM 6 pixels. In addition to EY UMa I took some pictures towards the beginning of the evening on the Andromeda galaxy.  Arrived around 8:30PM, left at 3:30AM.

Observing Log, 1/1/2016 0

Posted on January 03, 2016 by Matt

Conditions were reasonably clear (scattered clouds early in the evening while shooting calibration images), with very, very dim aurorae visible at the beginning (around 8PM local). Temperature was about 15F, focus set to 2799, seeing 4.5-5.5 pixels.

Shot darks first, then EY UMa for a few hours to catch a maximum, then planned to observe a transit of HAT-P-20….then noticed it is a known double and thought better of it (did not want to try to model that light curve). Observed a transit of HAT-P-54 instead.

Shot flats at the end of the night, around 5AM, R filter only (all observations were in R).

No equipment problems 🙂

Observing Log, 12/27/2015 0

Posted on December 27, 2015 by Matt

Came out tonight hoping to observe a maximum of EY UMa. Instead, clouds showed up right after I arrived and show no signs of going away after an hour, so I gave up. Got some calibration images but nothing else.

Observing Log Nov 8, 2015 0

Posted on November 09, 2015 by Matt

I made a list-minute decision to come out observing tonight, primarily to catch a maximum of EY UMa. Beautiful conditions, with seeing good and constant through the night. Very nice northern lights, too.

I also did a short test to see if I could figure out what was going on with the “wavy” darks…turns out that turning off the lights eliminates them.

Temperature was 39F, focus 2840, FWHM around 5.


↑ Top