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Category: RoGarOn Observatory
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This morning went pretty well.  I started my observatory at about 1 AM  and managed to get the mount drift aligned to within about 3 and 7 arc minutes of the pole, in altitude and azimuth, respectively.  That was a milestone for me, as I have never done a drift alignment before.  It was relatively quick with my camera configured as a guide camera, since I could see the star drift one pixel at a time and make adjustments on the mount in real time.
 
I also got the automatic focusing software working, so that takes a lot of the tedium out of prepping an image.  I decided to go after an open cluster so I could characterize the stars in the frame by their color indexes, and I chose NGC6633 as a good one that was fairly high in altitude and gave me reasonable signal at a 10 second exposure through my Sloan g', r', and i' fiters.  I set it up in an automatic script that exposed all the light and dark frames while I sat back in my chair and watched.  Then when it started getting light at around 6:45 AM I took a series of flat frames and flat darks, since I had changed the focus on the image train.
 
Of course, that makes it sound way too easy.  It wasn't.  Getting to that point was a chore, since I had to make a new pointing file with 13 observations, and then my mount control software crashed right when I started the data capture.  I was thinking about bagging it for the morning, since it was already 5:30 AM, but decided to see just how hard it would be to recover.  I had to close down a few programs and restart the mount program, set its park position and encoder offsets, and then re-sync the pointing model on a star.  By 5:45 I was shooting my data frames so I guess that wasn't too bad.