by Dave Skitt
let there be light
Let there be light! And it was good.
You may believe from the title that I will be writing about the beginning of the universe, some formula for the speed of light or my first night out with some new telescope or EAA camera gizmo. Well, I am not. Or not completely. As Observatory Chair, I usually stick to topics about the observatory itself.
My initial inspiration for the title comes from the fact that the Simpson observatory now has an awesome set of four, bright white LED work lights. These light strips were expertly installed up in the roof rafters by creative board member Gene Allen.
The need for some form of work lighting has been known and chatted about for quite some time as we have been taking strides to improve the observatory and its equipment. Those working under the closed roof were frequently short on available light and cursed the inadequate light producers they may have brought along with them.
So, one recent night, while Gene Allen, Rex Parker, Tom Swords, Larry Kane, Jennifer Skitt and I were tinkering with the Hastings/Mewlon alignment, it was decided to finally remedy the lighting shortcomings. In order to use the lights, there are two corded plugs that drop down from the rafters to plug into 110vac outlets located on the north and south ends of the eastern wall. Just be sure to remove the plugs and stow the cords back up in the rafters before moving/opening the roof.
The results, shown in the panoramic photos of the entire observatory, are dramatic. You can clearly see everything. Thanks Gene!
Speaking of the Hastings/Mewlon alignment, thanks to Rex Parker for acquiring the fully adjustable ADM plate for the Mewlon base. We now have both scopes pointing at the same object in the sky. And, in the process, we managed to bring the Mewlon eyepiece height down to a more comfortable position. This will go a long way in making the Mewlon more pleasurable to use.
Now, on to the inference about first light. Yes, AAAP has recently acquired two new EAA video cameras. The first is a Starlight Express Ultrastar-C installed on the Explore Scientific refractor in place of the Mallimcam camera. The second is a ZWO ASI294MC Pro installed on the Mewlon scope. First light for the new cameras was on May 23rd with the assistance of Rex Parker, Gene Allen, Tom Swords and myself. Initial impressions of the images were highly positive, with the understanding that the results will only get better as our experience with these devices and software grows. Stay tuned for updates.
So there you have it. I spoke about new light, aligned light and first light and it wasn’t too technical.