My objectives were to shoot the Moon and Mars as they approached culmination, which was just before the period of Above Average seeing that was forecast in Astrospheric. I got most of what I wanted on the Moon before I ran out of storage, and I got all that I wanted on Mars.
The set up was the Meade on the G11, which was already up in the yard. I left the weeks-old polar alignment unchecked, and autoguiding was able to keep up with the drift rate. I installed the ASI178 since the Moon would be my first target. I switched back to the ASI290MM prior to shooting Mars.
The temperature was in the low 30s, and the temp and dewpoint curves were not forecast to converge until shortly before dawn, so I was not worried about dew, but just to be sure, I added the dew shield/heater. I saw no dew or frost on anything all night. The RH was 80% by the end of the session. There was no discernable surface breeze.
Most of the lunar images were 5000 frames on the full sensor vs. an ROI. This chewed through my storage pretty quickly. Images were Tyco, Mare Humoris and other images around the southwest quadrant of the moon. I shot a 4-pane mosaic of Mare Imbrium.
I had about two hours between finishing the moon and the time that I wanted to start shooting Mars, and I used that time to start digging out of the storage mess that I had created. My storage starting point was bad, because I failed to clear delete SER files from the last session, and that bad position got worse quickly due to the larger captures. I freed space by stacking as many lunar captures as I could, which I believe was four, and deleting the SERs that had been stacked.
After selecting gain 251 with a 77/65/43% ROI for RGB during my last session, I decided to stick with those parameters. I did do captures for further comparison testing at 90s, 60s, and 2 x 45s.
I experienced hand controller freezes again. I am calling it hand controller freeze for two reasons. First, I am pretty sure that I have eliminated cables because the problem persists with two new cables. And second, I am pretty sure that I have eliminated the control panel, because it continues to work with the just fine through the ASCOM connection.
I believe that cold weather is a factor. The hand controllers that have gone squirrely on me did so after being out in the warmer afternoon air for several hours and the problem didn’t start until the temps started dropping.
The test that I want to do to check for this is putting one controller in the house well before my next session. When the outside controller heads south, I will switch it out for the warm one. The cold, squirrely one will go in the house to warm up. We’ll see if that cures it. Another test I can do is put a hand warmer next to it.
It occurs to me just now that the batteries on both controllers are near the end of their life, and the cold weather crushes them. I am not sure if I will test and replace the batteries until I try swapping cold controllers for warm one.
Eyeballs are rolling out of my head. Will provide capture parameters, processing notes, and analysis after comparing the different captures.
One thought on “Mars and Moon”
Hand controller batteries replaced.