Friday, January 04, 2008

20080104 Mars again

I won't give up so easily, but I really have no plan.

After the dinner tonight when I back home, Almy was sleeping and Alby was still outside, she's making a birthday cake for me. Hey, isn't it a perfect chance for me to go out to shoot the Mars again?

I packed everything, this time, I brought the star diagonal to ease the trouble of locating Mars, I brought the Rigel Quick Finder and the most important thing is, I also brought my LXD55 + G1415 combo, which is far more stable than the TG-SP II when a C5 is used, the electrical slow motion control is also way better to use.

Armed with everything, I placed everything inside the same backpack, and I held the LXD55/G1415 with my hands, it's just a 5 minutes walk so everything was easy. I thought centering Mars would be a snap, but I was wrong, I didn't do it for long, and worst yet, I'm not inside home, but outside sitting on the playground floor, the viewing angle is weired, and there's zero observational comfort that can be spoken of.

Ok, center the Mars in the inner circle of the Rigel, no mars inside the eyepiece. Hey, I tried to move around by removing the RA and DEC lock, okay, a bright patch of light can be seen, fine focus, yes, the Mars is there. Then I center it in my 20mm widescan... replace it with the DBK, oh no... nothing. That's when 80+ degrees field of view that can be a pain! It's too wide for centering, while it's too forgiving in locating objects.

I repeated so many times, until it's like 10 minutes later, I realized that my star diagonal is not locked securely, it slips... that explains why... so I secured everything, and do it once or twice more, it's done.

In order not to end up with nothing, I captured one or two AVIs at 1250mm. Polar alignment is way better than last night, despite I'm just using the same crude compass. Sheer luck.

Hey then, I tried to use a 2x barlows. Someone feels interested and come to say hello to me, I don't really have much time to spend with him since I'm messing around with my setup. I just give him simple answers and he's patient enough to watch my black notebook screen.

After another maybe 5-10 minutes, I finally got it centered... it's so small, but that guy seemed interested. I explained those small black marking to him, and he seemed to be able to spot those subtle markings. Not bad.

After taking one AVI, my notebook told me battery low. For unknown reason, my 12V notebook transformer failed to work, while it's still up and kicking last night... so the battery of the notebook is the only source of energy, I didn't charge it before using, however. Anyway, I know there were still some juice, so I keep recording until 500 frames, I believe. I clicked the stop button in order to secure one AVI first before the battery suddenly went off.

Then I started another, while the DBK is capturing, I talked to the guy, and he said that he was living in Arizona and the sky was so great, what's so funny is that, he quoted an example in the high way... he said when the moon is full, he needed no to switch on any light to see everything... what a wonderful example. I asked about the milkyway, etc... and afterward, I introduced a couple of bright stars to him, and those were those only visible in the sky right then. So the notebook battery still have enough juice after the second 8xx frames AVI. Actually, it's still up and running while I'm typing this, i.e. after copying the AVIs to my desktop and then still updating those silly OS updates...

I checked those AVIs, still a bit overexposed, anyway, it's going to be better than that one last night.

Anything can go wrong will actually go wrong, like my notebook transformer, luckily, I've a notebook battery.

After registax'ing the first AVI, I knew I made another mistake!!!! I left my UV-IR blocker at home!!!! Silly me!!!

DBK 21AF04.AS running at slow 6 fps due to my slow notebook:-

2215 (GMT+8), C5 at f/10, overexposed, and wrong color balance:-

2216 (GMT+8), C5 at f/10, exposure corrected by using the real time histogram in IC Capture, color balance adjusted:-

2225 (GMT+8), C5 at f/20:-

2227 (GMT+8), the last shot of the batch, probably the best one, C5 at f/20:-

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