Scott Donnelly

Astro resumption

It’s been ages since I’ve got my ‘scope out, but it’s ben gnawing at me for a while. Last night I decided to get it set up in my garden for the first time since moving house. I had one of those nights that reminds me why I got a scope in the first place - I saw not only Saturn and Mars, as well as several Messier objects, through the scope, but also spotted several satellites, a shooting star, and an Iridium flare (see Heavens Above to find out when you can see one) whist setting up, which was lucky.

I found that Google Sky Map on my HTC Hero is a great aid for setting up, in order to refresh my memory of where all the stars are when aligning the scope. I can instantly identify where the alignment stars and Polaris are as well as pick out which planets are in a good enough place for me to spot (I have several buildings around blocking large chinks of the sky).

I captured some video on my SP900NC using WxAstroCapture, and was hoping to use AviStack to stack the images but it tells me that the CODEC is unsupported - anyone got any ideas?

The quality was really poor though, I need to work on my collimation (Thierry Legault‘s fantastic collimation guide is always my first point of reference). There was a lot of crap on my collector plate which I have cleaned off, which I am hoping will mean a much improved view next time.

I have also LX-Modded my SPC900NC, but do not have a proper parallel port to make use of it - I am going to have to make up a USB-Serial adapter as described by Martin Meijer (I think the Shoestring Astronomy LXUSB is a bit expensive for what it does for my liking). Once I have done this I will post my results.