January 2018 ,amusings of the month !

Four sessions , some really poor weather, a few years back I recorded 15 sessions. It seems we are servants to the widely whipping jet-stream. It does make seeing awful at full blast .

Eq5 goto mount. A dreadful DEC motor whirring and grinding , out of nowhere and for no reason. This can happen if the balance is badly out or the gear not adjusted for winter chill. Spent a day taking apart the DEC drive , including adjusting the tiny grub screws .

Very worrying was the amount of brown gunk ( SW grease) and the spindle cog jarring against the Drive cog ( new stepper motor is £100 !) Reassembled  . Cleaned with WD 40 ( cleaning agent ) , greased with white Lithium grease . Tried reassembly about three times and still nothing.

Had a search of forums and” Astonomy shed “came up with the same problemo. Dodgy 8 pin DIN cable. Just swapped them over and it worked and tracked beautifully ! These external cables are a pain.  Try the easiest solution, even if it’s not the most obvious ! Less obvious we’re the two brass washers that I found on the patio paving ! An easy solution to a rubbing sound from a cog . Dooh.

I spotted a Helios ota ( prequel SW) 102,f10 on eBay, as new and with a collimation cell. I had long and good views through a friend’s Helios 150, superb.

Paid £30 plus £7.50 delivery . Phone went and the guy is driving from Wrexham to deliver it . Astro folk are really nice. At 9.30 ( clear night ) he arrived.

I fixed up a spare dovetail , finder and dew strip.

First light , very crisp Moon.  Great contrast on the terminator. Great colour in Mu Cephei and iota Cancri. M35 filled the view and it was splitting beta Monoceros and Tegmine. Great big grin here ! Especially as the boss came out to ask how much !

It never ceases to amaze me that nobody wants old school gear. A bit of cleaning and love and it’s back to out performing modern equivalents , cheap as chips.

By sheer chance I found a collimation cell ( ex Celestron SP-C) to fit the Vixen 102. The 114 mm ( diameter) threads being the same. However on fitting , there was more infocus needed. A quick visit to Lee and an inch of the ota was removed ( made sure he was aware which end to cut !!)

The collimation by Cheshire is spot on. Sometimes diagonals can throw this out and it’s easier to adjust the cell than tinker with a diagonal. There is nothing like a straight through view ! If you can get down low ! Still divided with this scope , as the £30 Helios showed perfect diffraction rings and can take a 2″ diagonal. Ouch.

Final highlight, the continuing struggle to get the SW wi fi adapter working with the ace Sky Safari Pro 5 ( 6 is now on 50% offer), it’s an absolutely wonderful app. Must do a review.

Lee put me on track , not had time to visit the shed / obsy, but he got it working easily on an android device. Going to check this out on Apple . First light Optics came up with a solution. Enjoy clear skies , watch out for the Summer Triangle and planets , pre dawn, Nick.

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