Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cigar Galaxy w/ Supernova

Last night I was able to spend about an hour using my astronomy video
camera before we were clouded out. Got to try out a few new things.
First, since I moved the dome last summer, I now have some views of the
northern sky and M82, the Cigar Galaxy was in a good spot. Second, this
is the first time I used the camera by attaching it directly to the back
of the telescope without having to go through a diagonal which removed
one mirror from the photo stream and I like the results. Bought the adapters online last week and they make sure the camera is the right distance from the scope to be able to focus. Last but not
least, a few weeks back, a supernova appeared in this galaxy so I was
able to get a good shot. The error points to the very bright SN.

This was about a 20 second exposure and then captured with a screen grab from my computer monitor.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Homemade Croissants

Made croissants using recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine. I've made
these before and like how they turn out. They take a while to make but
it's small bursts of activity spread over 24 hours or so. The recipe
calls for chilling the dough by putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes
before you roll it out. This is done multiple times over a number of hours and helps
 spread the butter throughout the crust.

We filled some of the croissants with ham and cheese before baking,
these are my favorites!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Telescope Pier

I finally took the time to install the pier for my telescope in the
Astronomy dome. Here are some pictures as I moved along. The pier was
made by a local welding shop and seems to work well. Getting rid of the
tripod and replacing it with the pier has really opened up some room in
the dome. Last night (New Years Eve), I did a polar alignment and
tracking is much improved. I'll want to do this again but making progress!

I didn't include pictures but I brought power in to the dome from the
house and added a switch so I can turn off the lights on the new front
patio while I'm using the scope.

For those who want the equipment details. there are two telescopes (and a finder scope) on the CGE Pro mount made by Celestron. The 14" scope is a Celestron C14 Edge and the smaller scope is a Williams Optics 80mm refractor. The refractor lets you have a great, wide field view and works well for larger objects. The C14 can bring in a lot of light and details for faint galaxies and other Deep Space Objects (DSO).

Most often, I use a video camera attached to a computer for observing. This lets me sit inside the warm house while looking and taking my time to get a good shot of anything I'm looking at. I have to go to the scope to point at the object and make sure the focus is good but I can change exposures and other settings from the computer.

If interested, you can go to the Night Skies Network site and see live broadcasts from astronomers using video cameras around the world. I don't broadcast every time I use the scope but like to do this as it's fun to chat with people from around the world about what you're seeing or showing. Here's a link for those that want to look- you can watch a broadcast as a guest but have to get lucky to be there when someone is on line.

Night Skies Network

Next up, I'm going to find a way to route all the cables from the dome
in to the house so I can hook up the computer without running the wires
across the deck and having to leave a window open.

Telescopes and tripods removed from dome
Mount for C14 Scope
Pier in place, bolts for leveling scope leveling plate
Leveling plate and control module for scope mount
Scopes and mount attached to pier