Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lean, Green Astrophotography Machine! least I hope it will be! The Meade equatorial wedge turned up in the mail from Optcorp. I have to take my hat off to this supplier, they offered free ground shipping and it got to me in four days flat - very impressive!

I took some time to learn how to set it all up tonight. Attaching the wedge to the tripod was very simple indeed, even when installing the handy alt-az fine adjustment mechanisms that are included. I also quite liked the main bolt with built-in compass that you use to secure the wedge to the tripod - very handy indeed for setup!

Putting the scope (all 57 pounds of it!) onto the wedge tilt plate was really a scary experience. Firstly, there seems to be something very odd about setting up the scope in this fashion. You know it's welld esigned and stable, but you can't help but feel that it might just tip over. Secondly, putting the scope onto the tilt plate was tricky. You have to carefully support the OTA whilst placing it into the right position on the tilt plate. Not too hard, but it just freaks you out a bit. About about five minutes of carefully making sure the scope wasn't going to tilt, I let my faith take over and the scope sat there rather proudly with its new configuration.

I wired up the scope and ran some GOTO simulations just for fun. Just fine, no wobbling, nothing. I can see the standard wedge is a bit prone to vibration, as I knocked it a little intentionally to see what it was like. But it did settle down very quickly.

In two weeks, weather permitting, I'll take it to the Canyon of the Eagles observatory site and will learn how to perform a polar alignment and, if I get it right, will hopefully take some nice images!


imjeffp said...

Welcome to the polar alignment club, Phil!

Here is a very easy to follow tutorial for setting up your alignment. I used it in the observatory, and it's quick and easy.

Phil said...

Thanks Jeff! Actually, that's the best, clearest description of the process I have seen yet. I'll definitely try it out when I eventually get to use the scope next...

Enjoy the chilly weather!