Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weather, Field Rotation, Stacked Plates, and Bears

Friday night and into early Saturday morning, we had almost an inch and a half of cold rain.  Saturday morning was foggy and then the wind picked up with some strong gusts.  The house's gutters hummed in resonance when the wind hit just right.  Hummmm!

That doesn't sound very auspicious for astronomy this weekend, does it?

The sky teased with some periods of sunshine, so I staged the equipment just in case, but that seemed certain for naught.

Throughout the day, I watched this weather chart from a nearby weather station on the Weather Underground.

Weather data is fun!

Around 1930, it looked like the wind was finally dying.  I peered out at the sky, and I could see stars!

By 2030, I had everything outside for a night of astronomy.  Of course, at the time I didn't know how breazy it was going to be, but it turns out the the CPC 1100 isn't as easily buffeted by wind as my Dob.

Sunday, January 5, 2020


The Wheels on the Bus go round and round . . .

It's not a bus, but it needs wheels anyway.

My new Celestron CPC 1100 is big and heavy.  With its optical tube assembly (OTA) weight approaching 75 lbs (includes focal reducer, focus motor, and 2" diagonal) and its tripod another 36 lbs,  it's not as big and heavy as some of the other choices that I had considered, but it is marginal in terms of me being able to set up and take down without assistance.

I can carry the OTA assembly from the house, through the garage, and across the driveway to my preferred observation spot and get it mounted on the tripod without too much difficulty as long as I don't have to lower the OTA to the ground and lift it again.  That is the troublesome part of the procedure as it is necessary to remove the OTA from the tripod and carry the tripod out first.

But, what if I could just keep the tripod and OTA together and just move the complete assembly?

It turns out that there are a number of "Scope Buggies" choices that one can purchase to perform that task.  Oh, my.  They are expensive.

I decided to try a DIY approach.

It took a while, but a plan coalesced.  

Thoughts captured in my notebook.  Artsy, huh!?

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