Feder Observatory

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

Archive for June, 2016

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.

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