Equipment Set Up and Monkey Head Nebula

I had hoped to do a complete post-WSP set up and step right into imaging the target component image to go with my stars component image that I made before WSP. Even though I was able to set up and step right into imaging without any issues at WSP, that wasn’t the case for this session. I was not able to attempt to image Monkey Head before clouds started rolling in.

On the positive side, the weather was warm for an extended scope-side session. Temperatures were in the 60s, but the RH stayed reasonable. I felt dew in the grass, but not on the metal table. There was an occasional slight breeze from the south. I was comfortable in shorts and a light jacket.

Equipment setup of the G11/NP101/ASI6200 was a snap. I took my time and was finished in about 45 minutes. The problems began at power up. I noticed that on one of the four USB hub ports were lit. I could not get the other accessories to connect. I eventually ended up replacing the hub, and that cleared the problem. The power board got rained on while packing up at WSP, so that may be the cause of this problem.

My next problem occurred while trying to capture Flats. The RGB filters worked with the settings that I have been using since last summer. For some reason the Flats Wizard could not reach the right exposure in five attempts, or with would step past the right exposure. I spent 45 minutes on this before I found the right combination of initial exposure and step size for subsequent attempts.

Moving on to polar alignment, the PoleMaster application kept locking up. Restarting the application did not clear the problem, but restarting the computer did. I think that somehow the USB hub, or maybe the computer USB connection that I will describe later, was the cause of this.

While trying to focus, I kept hearing the USB connect/disconnect chime in the background. I found that the computer end of the cable from the hub was loose. Once I had it set I had to be careful not to move the computer, which was difficult while getting the display so that I could see it while focusing.

Calibration completed without an issue. Total RMS was about .9”, which is typical for me. I’d like to spend some time in the future to get this down.

By the time I worked through these problems, high clouds were starting to roll in. Before ending the session at around 2130, I attempted a remote desktop connection to the laptop with my phone. I could see on the phone that the computer was available for a remote connection, but I could not remember the computer password.

Todo list:

  • Check the hub to see if it is really dead.
  • Check the computer end of the USB connection. Is it the port or the cable? Can it be tightened up, or do I need a new cable?
  • Look up the remote computer credentials and see if I can establish a remote session with my phone.

Todo list results: Both hubs checked out fine this morning, and so did the USB connection. Something to keep an eye on.

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