Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed"

...said Darth Vader about the Death Star. However, I can't help but be chuffed with the final configuration for me LX200! I set it all up last night for the first time under nice clear skies. I was supposed to go to the Central Texas Star Party but family commitments the next day and a lack of motivation saw me head out to the local observing spot instead.

So, this week I received in the mail the mounting rings to place my William Optics 66mm scope atop my LX200. I also ordered some Meade counterweights to offset the balance of the WO66 and my DSLR. It really didn't take me too long to put it all together last night.

After performing a basic polar alignment, I re-aligned the WO66 to perfectly match my LX200 field of view. Throughout the whole night it was a real treat. While initially setting out just to use it to offer a lower power, wide-field view of the heavens, I eventually used it as a "superfinder" of sorts, using it to help guide my photo sessions visually (more on the photos later, still processing them". It was really nice to be able to take peeks through it while my camera was taking exposures (much better than just sitting around waiting for the shot to finish!

Actually, this was really the first time that I had securely mounted my WO66 on anything! I had been using a camera tripod that was not entirely stable, so had frustrating views through it to date. Being solidly mounted on the LX200, I was very impressed with its views. I could clearly observe the M57 Ring Nebula, M27 Dumbell and a few other DSOs. The moon, which set at about 10:30 last night, looked lovely through the scope as well.

Anyway, last night I took images of M27, M57, M32 Andromeda and the moon. I am still processing the DSO photos, but the moon shot is below.

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