Feder Observatory

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

Archive for January, 2014

Observing Log for January 27, 2014 0

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Nathan

Arrived at about 8:15 pm with Beau. We had to wait for Matt to arrive so that he could open the control room, as neither Beau or I have keys yet… While opening the dome we noticed that the blue ethernet cable leading to the CCD was significantly frayed near the base of the telescope. The damage didn’t appear to affect photometry capability, but could in the future if not replaced.

Once Matt arrived we began start-up procedures. Temperature in the dome was about -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Focus was calculated to be 2743, but had to be tweaked a bit. Final focus value was set at 2731, which gave us a FWHM of about 6.

Our first attempt at an image of M82 (60 second exposure in R) did not display the galaxy. Found that the Declination was off by about 8 arcminutes. The second attempt (in R) succeeded in showing the galaxy (and supernova).

Set the first image sequence to take 2 60 second exposures in R, 3 60 second in B, and 6 60 second in B. Ran this sequence twice. Named save file M82.
Set up another sequence to take more 60 second exposures; 22 in R, 33 in V, and 39 in B. During the sequence MaximDL starting thinking that the filter wheel wasn’t turning when it actually was working properly. Had to stop the process, disconnect, and reconnect the CCD. By this point we still needed 12 more images in B and 5 more in V. For some reason we had an extra R image. Adjusted sequence to take these final images.

At just before 1 am, Beau and I decided leave. Matt stayed behind to take images of EY Uma and some flats. Nothing particularly exciting happened.

Observing Log for January 22, 2014 0

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Juan


IMG 0850Arrived at observatory at 7:20 pm.  Came out to the observatory in the hopes of catching the new supernova in M82. There were a lot of snow drifts out here, but we persevered. Beau and Nathan arrived at around 7:45pm.  Michael and Laura arrived around 8:45pm.

The skies are crystal clear, but it is cold (-6F in dome).  Found some snow inside the one, near the base of the telescope, but otherwise, everything ship shape even after the recent blizzards.  Monitor in the dome would not turn on.  Left the lower shutter up since there are a few gusts out there.


Some issues with the MaximDL software not communicating with the filter wheel (“waiting for filter wheel” when you try to expose).  Given temperature of -6F, the focus was set to 2748 (the last time the telescope was used, it was 40 degrees warmer outside, so the focus was quite a bit off (as seen above).

8:30 pm and we can finally shot biases and get on target.  And the dome wasn’t tracking… sigh.  Fixed via DCS control (don’t know why it wasn’t tracking, was set to track, but re-clicking “Apply” made the settings stick.  First few images of M82 are beautiful!  Here’s our first raw V band image (120 second exposure).

M82 001V 4

 Observing proceeded mostly in an automated fashion with sequences of R, V, and B frames being shot, interspersed with darks.

I will note that the cooler on the CCD doesn’t appear to be cooling the chip below the ambient -10F (-23C).   We finished our exposures (13 R images of 120 secs, 13 V images of 180 secs, 1717 B images of 180 secs, 7 120 sec darks, 7 180 sec darks) at 11:35pm.  

We shot some diffuser flats once we use clips to hold the defuser in place because one of the clips on the light tight skirt came off. After that we called it a night.

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