This morning at 04:10 I got up (slowly and painfully) and went out to do my first imaging session of 2022,

yep… Dec 11th was the last one.

Venus, Saturn and Mars were still below the horizon, so that gave me time to remember how this whole observatory thingy works.

Unlocked, opened the doors, unlocked the building and pushed it back to open position. That worked. -5C with little wind this morning.

Pulled down the folding chair and blanket… shook out the blanket.. Yay! No mouse or other critter nest!

Pulled the cover off the scope and remembered this time to remove the end cap! (you would not be surprised at how often the end cap stays on for some time!)

Checked connections, GPS plugged into handset, mount plugged into handset, and turned on the master power bar.

The telescope wanted to know time zone (-5 UTC), Daylight Saving (Yes), found GPS and set time and location. That worked.

Disconnected the GPS and connected the usb-serial adapter for mount computer control, connected the asi290mm camera to a 2nd 5m active repeater USB cable.

Installed the new firecapture v2.7 without issue, started it up and presto! It sees the camera.

I fired up stellarium and tried to connect it to the telescope but that failed. Later in the session I saw that the computer did not see the usb-serial adapter. Will have to troubleshoot that later.

So, with the handset, told it to go to Antares, in Scorpius, almost Due South by this time. It slewed, the noises were fairly normal, so no worries there.

But, as usual, no target in FOV. I am pretty sure the pier is stable, and the mount is stable. I haven’t done a 3 star align in months… but suspect it is a good thing to do every month or so no matter what?

The ASI290mm camera and x1.5 barlow has a very small field of view in this configuration… 0.12 x 0.07 degrees, or 7.2x 4.2 arcminutes or 432 x 252 arcseconds

In theory, once you do a good alignment and park the scope, turning it on and pointing anywhere should get you very very close to your target, and certainly in the field of view… Most people tend to have bigger camera sensors that do in fact show more/larger/bigger FOV’s, so the longer term solution is to also get a bigger camera…

In any event 05:30 came around and Venus had cleared the horizon but was still in our eastern trees. Saturn and Mars were not to be seen, also in the trees.

Over the next month it will be a race between the sun rising sooner and the planets migrating/rising sooner as well, to see if imaging is at all possible. At the moment, Venus had cleared the treeline around 06:15… and we were already on the road to work 🙁

Image above is simulated 🙂 from