The last many months have seen a decided lack of imaging and astronomical observing. It probably all started when the 16 year old wooden pier was removed as it was rotted, and then even more when the SCG Observatory roof blew off. Since that time the SCGO has had a new better roof installed and an interior renovation.

In the meantime, plans continued for a new imaging platform, The Serenity, further out in the back yard away from all of the tall trees. It started off as a full blown observatory but over time shrunk down to a 4’x4′ remote imaging platform only. It was completed a couple of weeks ago, and a RASCKC telescope was put in for configuration. It too has been packed away for some months.
Last night was the first time there was time available to align the telescope and see how the new handset behaved. First off, it behaved wonderfully. Buttons pushed were recognized, as opposed to the old handset (15+ years old) which did not work well at all.

It was a little difficult to squeeze into the observatory with a diagonal and an eyepiece to do the alignments but in the end, Arcturus and Altair were centered and off we went to Jupiter with a camera installed.

All in all not too bad. An hour or two prepping and then waiting for dark, waiting for stars to come out, waiting for clouds to pass, and a rough alignment was completed.

In the next 15 minutes I managed two 30 second runs of Jupiter, one 30 second run of Saturn and two 30 second runs of the Moon. Unfortunately Mars was behind a different large tree 🙁
The mosquitos were bad and once the alignment is finalized, I should be able to remote the imaging platform from somewhere inside, away from the bugs.

Firecapture was used with a ZWO ASI 120MC camera. I have successfully used Handyavi and its telescope interface successfully to control the telescope from the computer and not the handset, but it was not working last night. So all telescope control was using the new handset. Pointing was not great but got close enough to find the target. The microfocuser worked well.

The 30 second .avi files were processed with autostakkert! v3 and then with registax for RGB balance and wavelet processing.
The images looked pretty soft and fuzzy after autostakkert and only the registax wavelet processing really brought them into their own, sharper and better focus and contrast. My image annotation linux scripts were not applied at this time as I have forgotten how to apply them correctly.. another thing to catch up on.

Jupiter UT 2018Aug23 00:52:07 size=36 arcseconds altitude 25 degrees

Jupiter was low in the southwest, an altitude of 25 degrees. This first image was exposed at 6ms and is incorrectly oriented as I have forgotten the optics of the Schmidt Cassegrain with a diagonal and a camera orientation. This is the best 50% of the frames.

Jupiter UT2018Aug23 00:52:45 size=36 arcseconds altitude 25 degree

The second image was taken right after the first and was 8ms exposure, 30 second run and the best 50% of the frames.

These two images of Saturn were 47ms exposures over 30 seconds and the best of 25% and then 50% of the frames.

Saturn UT 2018Aug23 00:56:24 best 25% size=41 arcseconds altitude 23 degree

Saturn UT 2018Aug23 00:56:24 best 50% size=41 arcseconds altitude 23 degree

Lastly the Moon:

Moon Mare Crisium Crater Proclus best 50%

2ms exposures on a 30 second run on Mare Crisium and Crater Proclus. The orientation appears to be correct.

Moon Mare Imbrium SInus Iridum Crater Plato

The last image of the night of the Mare Imbrium Sinus Iridum Crater Plato area, 2ms over 30 seconds and the best 50%.

There is a long TODO list to accomplish this evening before dark:
add velcro to the handset so it can hang off the mount rather than hang down in the air and floor
cable management to get them off the ground and not underfoot
add weatherstripping to the roof/wall interface as some rain blew in during the last storm
build a dew shield as the corrector is bare with no heating at this point
add the telrad dew shield built earlier this month
attempt an alignment using the camera only not the eyepiece. This would be more accurate as it is at a much higher apparent magnification.
If successful, remove the diagonal.
Simplifying the optical path is always a good thing. This removes another optical flip, removes another 5-15% loss from the diagonal mirror reflectivity, and more.

This weekend: varathane the OSB floor as I keep tracking in water from wet boots.
For the ZWO ASI120MC camera pixel size, a focal ration of F20 is the optimum. This existing scope is a Meade LX200GPS 20cm F10 focal length 2000mm. We will add a x2 barlow to bring the F10 up to F20. This will double the size in pixels of the planetary image on the camera sensor.