Let this be warning for the newbies that think that big tube and big mount is cool. But I still think this is my way - I must be masochist or something.
The forecast said that the rains (water and sleet) should end around 8 PM. It has been so long time since the last clear-ish night, that I decided to try my "new" CEM120 anyway. The sky cleared and I started to bring the gear out.
I also started warming the sauna - I thought that I'd just have a short try. Also tried to follow NEAF.
The first problem was the orientation. I knew roughly which way north is, but not accurate enough for easy polar alignment. I don't know why, but it seems hard to find the directions. I tried with compass and two different phone apps. They all acted the same weird way: When I first align compass or phone to some direction, I got the reading X. If I then turn 90° clockwise and back and wait for compass/phone to get steady, I get a reading around X + 15°. If I turn counter-clockwise I get a reading around X - 15°.
So I set up the Tri-pier 360 in the north-south direction to my best knowledge, and level it. Then I put the CEM120 on top of the Tri-pier and set it to my latitude. Next the counterweight bar, then the telescope (VX12) on top of it, and after that, the counterweights. Balancing with
The tube tended to turn about 10 degrees clockwise even with a small counterweight I made of boat motor axle anode, washers and a long M8 bolt.
It seemed to work when I tried it in my living room, but not now.
The Losmandy-plate of the CEM120 is somewhat heavier at the back end (probably due to the "cable connector block" and 300 mm Losmandy dovetail is just long enough for all the 3 screws, so the tube balancing needs to be done with the ring locations around the tube. Also, the new
Next the polar alignment. Except that it was already 10 PM, and still no stars. Had to wait for darker. At around 11 PM it got dark enough to see Polaris.
I dragged my smaller A-ladder there to have a peek though the
Now someone could mention, that I should have aligned the
The sky looked weird through the SWAN. It looked like all the stars, even in the middle of the view, seemed to be pestered with a huge
I looked along the tube to see how much I'm off and which direction. Yep, I had to turn the whole >80kg (176 lb) a little bit. Again, easier said than done. The Tri-pier 360 has "flexible ankles" that decided to flex. The set-up tried to fall down, and it was hard to keep it up with one hand and set the "ankles" right with the other. It seems more important to get the Tri-pier 360 orientation right, than I thought. Still not good. And the
I decided to try to align the
In the nut shell:
- Find out the orientation of your place well enough for polar alignment.
- Align your tripod/tri-pier well before piling the gear on it.
- I need to check what caused the weird view. Is it the scope or the new eyepiece?
- I need to check what's wrong with the
- There was also quite lot of play in the
- Why the
- How to handle the height?
- How to balance the tube for the
- Too many pieces of new gear at once.
It took 4 trips to get all the gear moved:
1. Tri-pier360 (on shoulder), counterweight pole, counterweights (in a strap on shoulder)
2. CEM120 in a tool box
3. Electronics (cables, power, handset, ...)
4. Optical gear.
I could have used a bag for combining 3. and 4.