I hauled the whole works out to Powell Observatory and Nick, Tim, Ron and I
installed it on the 30" It only took a short time to do, because the holes
lined up perfectly with the rings. That Nick really plans ahead.
We counter balanced the 8" with the 4" and a slab of steel Nick brought
with him. It was perfectly balanced. Then we did some test driving.
First we looked at Jupiter. What a view!!!!!! Jupiter was awesome at
about 300X and sharp as a tack. We could see the red spot very clearly
and lots of color in the surface details. This is a much better view
than we get right now with the 30". We tried a green filter and it
brought out even more surface detail. Awesome!!!
Then we turned to M57, the ring nebula, and using the 9mm blew up the image until it
almost filled the field of view. The neatest thing about using the 8"
is you don't have to climb that tall ladder. You can actually sit down,
prop your feet up, and gaze until you lose your senses. What a way to
do astronomy. Clearly it redefines the term "armchair astronomer".
Then we observed M11, M72/3, and M2. All wonderful!!!! What a great
scope. I can get very spoiled by this bad boy. No more rotating the fork!
The plan is to hook up the autoguider on the 6" and do astrophotography through
the 8" or even the 4" or both simultaneously. We need to complete the box to
improve rigidity of the mount and offer more surface for more telescopes and
piggyback mounts for astrophotography. That way we will not be fighting over use
of the dove tails during big events like Hale Bopp or SL9. We could even teach an
astrophotography class and have each student mount their own camera and take
simultaneous exposures. What a tool.
The other nice thing about it is that people who cannot climb the ladder
can now enjoy just as good a view as those who can. Safer, easier, quicker.
Even people on crutches and in wheel chairs can observe now. I like it so much I
won't really miss the 30" while it is out of commission. We estimate that will
be from around November 1 through February. But, who cares, now.
Come on out to the observatory and check it out. Click here to get a map to Powell Observatory.
PS:The title of the background music if you are hearing it is "Stairway to Heaven"