As many know, it has been a very long and unforgiving winter. I am pleased to announce that first light at DaltonSkyGazer Observatory finally took place tonight. I had free time when an unexpected clear sky rolled in for a few hours. I was able to polar align and align the CGEM mount on pier tonight. I was unable to finish setting up for imaging runs before clouds rolled in, but the night was succesful in accomplishing testing of the CGEM mount.
We were blessed with a warming spell the other day, much of the snow has melted, leading me to think Spring is coming. Tonight’s temperatures were a frigid 7F out, a good test for the new warm room, the warm room stayed a cozy 46F while the dome temperature stayed very close to ambient temperatures as designed. I was hoping to get to imaging but clouds rolled in before I was able to get the cables and imaging gear setup tonight. A disappointment, but it looks like the weather curse has finally broke for New England. Temperatures for the rest of week are supposed to get up to a high of 50F, which will be nice to aid in melting off more snow. I will have some time to work on setting up and organizing the cable runs to warm room during this week, allowing the imaging gear to be set to go at next observing session. The All Star routine of the CGEM worked very well, some minor drift aligning adjustments of the mount will take place as later date as I fine tune the setup. The goto functions were spot on tonight nailing all objects dead center after doing a two star alignment plus one additional alignment star to improve goto accuracy.
I am very pleased after sitting in cold observatory for few months, the CGEM mount performed flawlessly, even with the very cold temperature demands placed on the CGEM mount. The warm room proved very beneficial. I had removed some insulation out of way to prepare for the wood siding going up in the warm room, even with this removed it was very comfortable inside with my radiant oil heater running on medium power. I have several cable runs to finish pulling into the warm room, along with a final organization of the cables at the pier and scope. In addition, I will be wiring up my dimmer system for the red light string located in the dome. In the Spring, I will get back to installing the wood siding which will be going in the warm room along with a final layer of insulation. There are many small items which I need to accomplish once the weather breaks and the snow clears way for outside work once again. All of the major tasks left involve organization and relocating more gear out to the observatory, with permanent shelves installed along with more seating capacity. I hope to have some more posts and updates coming soon!