Feder Observatory

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

Archive for March, 2011

Observing Log, March 26, 2011 0

Posted on March 30, 2011 by Matt

I came out this evening with my family.
Tonight there were several goals:

+ Take twilight flats in at least a couple bandpasses.
+ Try observing an exoplanet transit
+ Deep sky object
+ Frames needed to measure the point at which the CCD becomes nonlinear

The night was wonderful in terms of seeing–no clouds, steady images–and the filter wheel worked tonight.
Images of everything above except the linearity images were taken.

Temperature was around 40F, focus was 2800.

No equipment problems, a productive night! And it looks like we caught part of the transit!

Observing log for night of March 15, 2011 0

Posted on March 16, 2011 by Matt

I went out to the observatory tonight with my three kids.

We arrived a little after sunset with a few goals:

  • shoot some twilight flats
  • take images of the RR Lyrae star SZ LYN over at least most of a period
  • try some dome flats
  • shoot a deep sky object or two (even though the Moon is nearly full).

The night started out well, and the kids liked seeing the ‘scope and dome move. Tried a few twilight flats, but forgot to put in a filter, and the scope wasn’t properly focused, so they aren’t too useful.

Once we were set up initialization was smooth, and focusing was easy (got down to FWHM of 5 pixels, about 3 arcsec).

Took several images of M51, SZ LYN, a couple of Saturn and of the asteroid Juno.

I’m confident we caught enough of SZ LYN to see a change in its brightness. Almost all pics were shot in the R band because the V and B filters were producing mostly noise, especially the V filter. I don’t know whether that is because of the Moon (SZ LYN wasn’t that far from the Moon) or because there is a problem with the filter, or for some other reason. Images through the V filter seemed uniformly bad.

Wrapped up trying to shoot some dome flats. Nothing fancy here, just aimed (by eye) at the small segment of whiteboard on the dome and illuminated it from below with an incandescent bulb. My guess is that the flats aren’t useful (too few, and not exposed long enough/not a bright enough light), but had to start somewhere.

Then had to spend almost an hour getting the images off the PC and onto something useful. Definitely need a better solution here.

Overall, a productive night, I think, and the kids were really good…we didn’t leave until after 2AM!

Observing log Mar 10, 2011 0

Posted on March 11, 2011 by Matt

Tyler Lane and Matt Craig observed tonight.

Start-up went great, no equipment problems, and sky was really clear.

We observed M101 through a couple filters, tested the focus with different filters, and tried the sequencing capabilities of MaximDL. Note: when sequencing you need to select an option if you want the pictures taken by the groups you set up in the sequence.

We found out there is a focusing difference between filter and no filter, but once you put any filter in and adjust the focus, the focus stays good on all the rest of the filters.

There was one time it looked like the dome pointing wasn’t matched perfectly to the telescope, but the telescope was pointing near zenith, so it wasn’t clear whether the dome was actually in the way (the picture came out fine).

Here is an action shot during setup:


We did observe one odd thing…take a look closely at this image and try to identify the mystery object!


↑ Top