Time: 17:40- CDT
Telescope: ES102mm on NEQ6
Camera: ASI294MC w/ L-ENHANCE
Seeing: Poor
Transparency: Poor
Temp: -24C to -26C
Weather: Clear sky

Testing to see how observatory works in -25C weather. After dusting off the roof it rolled back without any issues.

OBS (RPi4, running Astroberry and INDI-AllSky) and TS1 (RPi4 running Stellarmate) computers were up and running no issues, although allskycam was offline, probably due to power failure reboot. Came up fine, dusted off dome and image is fine. Need to attach the power for the dew heater inside the dome so it doesn’t frost up, otherwise the camera isn’t warm enough to keep it from frosting and snow from accumulating.

First target was to unpark and do a test slew to Jupiter – no issue at all however not on target at all, however plate solve put it on centre in one iteration in EKOS.

Next slew to Alpherataz (a And) on the CCD – just off centre 539”. Focus soft, trying focuser, which wasn’t working last time I tried this. Disconnect reconnect no apparent change. Heading out to fix.

I stood on a stool to reach into the building so I don’t have to open the door. Sure enough, the FCUSB LED not lit, so I unplugged it from the USB hub, replugged and it lit up.  THe USB hub seems to be working on and I’ve had issues with this Shoestring FCUSB all summer so doesn’t appear to be a cold issue. I’ll email Doug at Shoestring and see if he can suggest any fixes.

Tracking was off by the time I got back indoors. Re-acquired star with plate solve. Ah, the mount tried meridian flip but failed for some reason. Logs turned off darnit, turned on now to see what might have happened to cause the meridian flip fail. Focus still not working, out again to see what the issue is. No LED again, so no focusing tonight!

Slew to Double Cluster, 10s test not bad, solved to centre object and took unguided 120s exposure to see how tracking is.

Clearly tracking is decent and the mount is operating properly. Turned on guiding using PHD2 – after a pretty wild start the graph calmed down a bit but still wider swings than normal.

A 10 minute exposure showed reasonably round stars, probably as good as I get in warmer temps.

Took 100x10s exposures of the Dbl cluster and no issues. However started 120x30s exposures and the mount intermittently stopped tracking, causing guiding to fail. Recentered, restarted, and 10 mins later, same result. At this point I decided to shut down and review the logs to see what they were saying. It appears they were not getting saved but I’ll look tomorrow and see if I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

Closed the roof (which worked great!) and called it a night.

By Gord

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