View Full Version here: : One of those nights
Blimey, some observing night are just not meant to happen.
I set up in clear skies and was ready to go by 5:00pm. At 5:30 it dark enough to do a goto alignment, set up on Rigel and get it in the finderscope cross hairs, hmmm nothing in the eyepiece. :confused2: Then it dawns on me, I replaced a broken cross hair, the finderscope isn't aligned.:doh:Luckily bright double stars are pretty easy to find so after a 20 minute sweep Rigel is found, the finderscope is aligned and the alignment is completed.
It's now 7:00pm, I've had dinner and I'm ready to go, I decide to head over to Omega Centauri to start the evening when the lappy decides to run low on battery power. After shutting down going back inside to find the power lead, put some wood on the fire and pour a glass of wine I'm finally back in action.
It's now 7:45 and the view of Omega Centauri is looking a bit hazy, hmm now what, a quick check of the power pak reveals that it's gone flat thus no power to dew zapper thus one rapidly dewing corrector glass.
Bugger, pour another glass of wine and sit down to contemplate how to get around this problem. No need to worry I look up and :eek:the stars are going out.
It was the scene from Dr Who and Davros where one by one the stars went out over Earth. It was like a giant tarp got pulled across the sky from east to west. :mad2:
It's now 10:00pm, the scope is packed away, the power pak is charging, I've poured another glass of wine, there's more wood on the fire and I'm now watching Transformers. :screwy:
Apart from 10 minutes of Omega Cent the night was a bit of non event.
Also with an hour to set up and an hour to pack up it's also a good reason why I really need to build an Obs. :D
Enjoyed reading your description - and you have my sympathy for having to watch Transformers.
When I see clear sky and decide to set up, it is still with the little thrill of "everything is new". (8 weeks, now) Getting the star alignment spot on is one major event.
Even if it clouds over afterwards and I can't take any photos, I still feel the elation and the joy of doing the other stuff.
But after such a night as yours I would ask myself: why DID everything go wrong? Why? First the laptop then the power pack? And on top of that it clouds over? It must have been meant to be.
Something happened last night that would have happened differently had you been standing outside looking at the stars... what was it?
(And then I'd go inside and instead of watching Transformers I'd be writing the plot of a short story... ;) )
"And only then I realized: had I not tended the fire this evening, the first log I had put on would have lost it's balance and fallen into the recycling paper basket. ..."
"And only then it dawned on me that the Karousians couldn't have secretly invaded our planet had I been able to follow my observing list that one night when the stars went out one by one.
I would have spotted the irregular movement in Omega Centauri and alerted the guys over at IIS. Together, we would have made sense of it and would have come up with a red duct tape protection shield that would have sufficiently clouded their radar and made Wamboin the one spot on earth where rebellion could have been organized. "
Cheers Silv, even after all these years I too get a buzz out of all the setting up and then standing back and seeing everything setup and ready to go, then hearing that cheerful whirring as the 12" buzz around the skies.
As to what happened differently, who knows :shrug:
The lappy was a minor technical hiccup, the power pak seemed alright but must have been sitting on the edge and I may have been able to solve that issue.
As for the high level cloud, well that was in the hands of the astronomy gods, maybe should have put a sacrificial sausage on the BBQ to appease them ;)
Still I seem to have more good nights than duds so I think I do alright in the long run :D
22-07-2012, 05:23 AM
Ah Ric, great story (especially all the wine :lol:) I go through a lot to set up and pull down my imaging gear too and when something throws a spanner in the works and puts an end to the night....:mad2: so I sympathise 100%...incidentally, I really hope to be living near you in the near future, we have already looked at one house in Bywong to rent and another in Carwoola (East of Queanbeyan)...not there yet though...
22-07-2012, 09:38 AM
Same here Ric, though it was just a night of pure white blanket. We were doing an 3 star alignment on the heq5, when near adding the last star we had to stop because the cloud rolled in over half the sky. We dropped back to 2 but by the 2nd star it was total cover. All we wanted to do was try out eqmod and check that PHD was playing nicley with the DSI Pro :(
We should have went out to MPAS, it was just a night of blind hope going no where. Are well watched American Pie 1-2-3-4 and got some reading done plus had a nice dinner :) Lol I only drink JD, do you mix OJ with that stuff? haha I'am pure classy
Hi Mike, if you decide to rent at Bywong your only a stones throw away. You'll have to drop in for a cuppa or a wine. :D
Incidently if you turn into Mac's Reef road from the Federal hwy check out Stonehenge. It's in a cleared paddock on your left just as you turn in. :P
Ah ha, maybe there was a Druid ritual going on last night that caused the cloud. :question:
Hi Jay, sorry mate no OJ with red wine, my Italian rellies would probably take out a contract on me. :lol:
I can already see your fingers keying in the story next time the stars go out one by one... :thumbsup:
Yep, don't let nature get in the way of a good story Silv. ;)
22-07-2012, 12:20 PM
Been there, done that Ric. Too many times to count.
But one good night makes up for all the bad ones.
22-07-2012, 01:25 PM
Yup, one of those nights alright! Lucky you had some wine. Always need a backup plan for when the inevitable happens :) Living in Melbourne, I always keep some medicine in the fridge. Helps me tolerate this climate and gives me something to do when I'm relegated to sitting infront of the idiot box after the latest forecast of "clear skies". Yeeeeeeeeeh :thumbsup:
22-07-2012, 07:16 PM
hi Ric i feel your pain.
After watching the forcasts all week and seeing clear skies forcast Alsitair was coming up for the night. So about 5ish went out skies were starting to clear things were looking good, so started to set up. Before I had finished setting up the lovely blue and turned to a greyish colour. About then Alistair rolls up and we decide to go have a cuppa and see what the clouds would do as there it looked like it was going to clear. An hr later still not good.Turns out Alistair has brought dinner,a lovely spicie chicken dish, well at least it wasn't a total waste of his time coming up.
After dinner things looked on the up so just after nine we diceided that it was worth it and set up. Started the alignment process, yep you guessed it, they started to disappear much like yours execpt for west to east. the clouds disappeared agian so kept at it. Got a quick aligment down. Track down M8 center and get focus, hook up PHD, no go, star dosen't move enough for calibration.Why? Alistair says try Maxim, Maxim wont guide either thru ST4, so try guiding thru ascom. Yeah its guiding. not great, but guiding. So take a test shot thru the QHY8L' only to find its developed what looks like amp glow in the corner but really bad. Check for any reflections, stray light or anything that could be causing said problem, nothing, take cam off scope cover the lense, take shot, still there. Bugger. By this time clouds are back, and look like there staying this time so pack up and go inside.
Atleast Alistair managed to get a couple of shot in thru out the night.
Next morning, after Alistair explaining the diff between ST4 cable and normal telephone cables, I remember I changed the cable for a longer one I had when I got all my cables nicly organised. I had guiding working thru PHD back in Feb, then got cables or tidied up, including changing the ST4 cable for the longer one. It was so long since I had been back out again I forgot complely that I did that. The plugs were the same size :-) . So leasson learned, if you change something test it before you forget about the change.
Now just hope the QHY8L is just another stupid operator error. Although seems strange to be looking good then 1/2 hr later to have this problem.
Ahwell keeps us all entertained.
Yes I agree, must hurray up and get obs happening.
cheers and best of luck next outing.
22-07-2012, 09:03 PM
What a bummer of a night mate. The wine would have helped. Yep, you need to build an observatory mate. I just got in from working on mine and am now enjoying a similar glass of red... ;)
Praying for clear and dark night skies for you mate.
It is certainly true, one good one makes up for all the duds. :thumbsup:
We're going to have to get you out of Melbourne mate, you need some clear skies. :D
Hope you get the amp glow sorted out.
It looked a clear night tonight and not to chilly, building an Obs under the stars, quite apt. :)
23-07-2012, 03:05 AM
mate one of these days I'll leave this sub-polar overcast rainy cold abyss behind... one day... give me Darwin's exciting stormy tropical wet season anyday over the endless slate-grey day -in day-out layer cloud stratus endless drizzle bullcrap purgatory here... The day I leave is the day the entire IIS community is invited to my new tropical sunny hot climate place for a bbq and endless supply of beer.
23-07-2012, 06:57 AM
The Ob is the way to go for sure. The other night looked pretty 'cwappy' early on but my better half went to bed about 8:30 ( way too early for me ) and I looked out, it had cleared. Run the pwr lead across and had a couple of hours out there. Another advantage is the scope is already cooled and stable and no alignment time lost. I'm up and going within 10 minutes. Takes me longer to get some warm gear on first.
And the fire and red wine is just 20 meters away as well ... :thumbsup: should it be required of course.
that sounds as if an ob takes out all the excitement.
how boring it must be to be doing what you actually WANT to be doing ! :lol:
23-07-2012, 04:42 PM
But was the wine any good? That's what I want to know (and Mike might be interested too).
oh my gosh Ric, is it wrong that I'm laughing so hard at your expense right now.:lol:
They say things happen in 3's (sheesh you're wine took a 3rd round too) :question:- you should have seen the signs at no# 2. :P
The wine was very nice David, a Pinot from the local winery Lamberts which is only 3km down the road. :drink:Both handy and possibly dangerous
That's ok Suzy, I can laugh at it as well, now. :D
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