When I got home from work there were a couple packages waiting for me, but the best surprise was the PST returned from Meade/Coronado a lot sooner than I thought it would be. The front objective has been repaired, in fact it looks like it was replaced with one of the newer blue tinted ones. I’ll be setting it up tomorrow to test out how much better the sun looks with a good objective. Now if old Sol will cooperate and do something instead of these bottom of the cycle doldrums we have been experiencing…
I sent the PST off to Meade today to get it repaired as it’s showing the dreaded “rust” on the front objective. Meade’s customer service was excellent, no hassle, no nothing. Just gave me my RMA number, shipping info, etc. I packed it up and sent it off at lunch today. I’m hoping to have it back in a couple weeks, but what with the sun being so inactive, it’s no big loss to be without it right now…
We got up early and got Reese out to his t-ball practice. This is his second year of it and the improvement is amazing. It’s still loosely organized chaos, but not nearly as crazy as last year’s practices were. He’s getting the fundamentals down well. After we got back from the practice it was time for me to head back to MITM, and had to say goodbye again, which really stinks.
Back at MITM I set up the PST and opened it up for viewing. It seemed to be pretty popular.
Later on we headed out for dinner and got a surprise while we were there. It turns out that there’s an Orthodox church out there in the middle of the cornfields of rural southern Illinois. So we went over and met the priest, Fr. Paul, who showed us around the church. It’s about one hundred years old and was undergoing a refurbishment so there was scaffolding in place, but I think everyone enjoyed the visit. For most of them it was the first time in an Orthodox church.
We got back to the farm and I set up the dob to get the glass cooling down. After dark we did a little observing of the moon, Saturn, and Mars. There was too much ambient light to really get any decent views of deep sky objects, but everyone really liked what they could see so it wasn’t a real loss.
John Dobson spoke at tonight’s Texas Astronomical Society meeting. It was a great speech, convering a number of topics including the Big Bang theory, telescope making, global warming, and more. I’m really glad that I had the chance to meet and hear him, it’s definitely a high point of my life so far.
And I got all that stuff together for nothing. The TAS picnic just got cancelled due to Rita. And the rain dates are when I’m in Finland, so I get to miss it once again.
I ordered a few parts from Orion today. I’ve got an EQ-1 mount, the EQ-1M electronic drive, and the 1/4″-20 adapter needed to finally get a tracking platform for my PST. I haven’t been able to do any decent imaging because the adjustment capabilities of the standard tripod is difficult and inacurate. It’s great for visual work, but the LPI’s increased resolution makes it much more difficult to keep it centered.
I also picked up the large aluminum accessory case that I’ve been needing for a while now. I’ve got too many eyepieces and other accessories and just putting them all in a box isn’t the best thing to do.
The zoom eyepiece came in today and brought thunderstorms with it. Why is that?
So until the sky clears I won’t be able to try it out.
I managed to get the PST out for a little while this afternoon. No digital imaging this time, but I did give a go to doing some film shots. No luck, I couldn’t get it to come to focus with my 2x barlow so I might try to find a 3x barlow because the consensus on the PST list is that that’s the one I need.
There was one really nice prominence at almost due north with some smaller loops other nice formations along the northwest side. There were also some good looking filaments on the disc that ought to look really good when they rotate off.
Since it’s the first of the month and I’m a little bored, here’s some of my favorite books:
- Mike Weasner’s excellent Using the Meade ETX
- HAM Radio