Feder Observatory

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

Archive for September, 2012

Observing Log: September 24, 2012 0

Posted on September 28, 2012 by Nathan

After the Astro 102 lab, Hollee, Randy, Laura, Daniel, and I took pictures of two variable stars using the R filter. Afterwards, pictures were taken of M57 using the R, V, and B filters; three 60 second exposures in each filter. 60 sec in the R and V filters seemed to be slightly overexposed. Set both to 30, which still seemed a little too long for the R and V filters. At the end of the night, took box flats.

Observing Log: Sept. 22, 2012 0

Posted on September 23, 2012 by Juan

Matt and I came out to the Feder observatory to “test” the new observatory manual using a less experienced user (me) starting up the entire observatory. We performed zenith-positioned twilight flats and then after a slow start up procedure (as I kept editing the observatory manual) we got to observing. We did all the observing using MaximDL 5 and the DFM TCS for pointing (The Sky was not used expect to find a field star for focusing at one point). Seeing was excellent for Feder with a FWHM of around 4 pixels (2.2 arcseconds).  We observed the Landolt standard field SA 113, then did test three-band observations of the Ring Nebula (M57) and the planet Neptune (we also recovered it’s moon Triton 12 arcseconds away), followed by science observations of the variable stars HR 7308, V0440 Lac, V0556 Cas, and V0552 Cas. The night ended with Darks and Biases, around 12:30 am.

We used MaximDL 5 and the DFM TCS all night and didn’t experience the dome control problems reported earlier although we did have MaximDL get confused at one point about communicating with the filter wheel (it ‘paused’ during the switch of filter and never realized the filter had been switched). We hit “Stop” on MaximDL, cycled the filters with MaximDL in Single shot mode, and everything worked just fine afterward.

I did realize this morning that we didn’t shoot the standard field SA 113 at the end of the night to facilitate airmass corrections.  But otherwise, a successful evening of observing and we are well on the way to a new draft of the observing manual to be used by the Observational Astro (Astro 390) students this coming Spring semester.

Observing Log: September 15, 2012 0

Posted on September 16, 2012 by Shouvik

Aaron and I went out to the observatory tonight. The sky was clear and transparency was average. We updated the license information for newly purchased MaxIM DL 5 software. We encountered an error message on the intelligent filter wheel when we were using the MaxIM DL 5 software.The error message was :”Error=2″, which implies that the software did not identify that there were four filters already installed in the filter wheel chamber.We switched to the older version of MaxIM DL software afterwards. We had an issue with the dome too. The telescope slewed to 270.4 and the DFM-TCS software read that to be its zenith position.The computer froze when we tried to fix this using the TCS software. We slewed the telescope to its zenith position manually.We had to reboot the computer. We tried to initialize one more time, but it did not work as the dome did not move to the proper position. Before we shut down the system, the telescope was pointing in the direction that it was supposed to, but the field view was covered by the dome.We decided to shut down the system following the typed up procedures and called it a day.

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