My objective was to shoot a full-disk mosaic of the full moon with the ASI178.

Before going to bed, I checked the Astrospheric forecast for around midnight (4/15 to 4/16) hoping to find good conditions for imaging the moon as it crossed the meridian. It didn’t look good. Waking up at midnight, I looked out the window and the moon looked decent. I decided to give it a try.

I checked Astrospheric again and found below average transparency and poor seeing for the midnight hour, and conditions deteriorating to cloudy seeing (?) and cloudy transparency for the 0100 hour. Once again, I hurried along trying to beat the weather.

I went outside at 0025 and found a very stiff breeze. The temperature was 58F, and I was comfortable in shorts and a light jacket. I finished the session at 0120.

The Meade was already on the G11. I removed the ASI178 and replaced it with the ASI290. Setup, power up and acquisition went very smoothly.

The Good: The moon looked decent in the Firecapture display, so I preceeded to image.

The Bad: Almost right away the hand controller locked up and would not slew to the next frame location (first problem). I was able to clear it by unplugging and replugging the cable. I suspected a weak battery in the Gemini mount control box.

The (really really) Ugly: The laptop low battery warning came on (second problem) just as I had completed coverage of about half of the moon, because I had not plugged the laptop back into the power brick after imaging Venus this morning. I knew that I had enough power to cover one more frame, so I attempted to nudge the scope to the next location. This time I got a runaway slew, and had to power off the mount to stop it (third problem). I also believe that this is the result of a weak Gemini control panel battery. I was really torqued off knowing that I had to beat the weather and now had two problems to solve. I left the scope to get the laptop power brick and the other Geminin hand controller to see if I could complete the imaging sequence. When I came back to the scope, I saw that I was powering it with a battery, so I needed to retrieve an extension cord from the cottage and set it up for the laptop (fourth problem). Before going after the cord, I looked up and saw that the moon was now in a heavy haze (fifth problem), so I decided to temporarily solve all of the problems by ending the session. Since the Gemini battery is in the mount control panel and not the hand controller, I doubt that I would have been able to successfully operate the scope anyway.

There is something to learn from processing the images, so I’ll give it a try. I will probably be able to find a close up or two worth processing.  

Things to work on: resolve the non-functioning filter wheel and get the Gemini hand controller operating again.

The Moon - 2022-04-16-05:05 UTC - Crater Tycho_Southern Lunar Hemisphere
The Moon

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