Sketch of M44
21.00 - 23.55. My first report/sketch for a long time!
Done on Monday **night in between visits to M36, *M37 & M38. Then onto the Double Cluster and Stock 2, M103, NGC457, M52, then a trip across to M81 & M82, double star Mizar, M45 The Pleiades, then The Hyades, M42, Jupiter x 3 visits overall, then finally ontothe the Moon just before it sank below the wall. There were other targets as well, (which embarrassingly I've now forgotten!) including a vain try for M51! When I finished everything was covered in thick hoar frost.
I've included the original and the inverted version done with in Gimp2.
*As a test for my EQ6 Pro mount, which had panicked me the previous Thursday evening by making (what sounded like expensive) unusual noises when slewing to M42 then stopped! I'd invited a Rotary club colleague around to observe a few sights after our weekly meeting and had left everything set up tracking M44 since 6.45pm (we didn't get back to my house until about 9.50 and I found out when going out to make sure everything was OK before inviting him outside). He said it may be due to the battery getting very cold and losing charge. I packed everything up at about 10.10 and put it on charge as a precaution (the charging light was orange) and left it overnight. On Googling the problem it appears that he may have been right. I checked the battery the following morning (the light was green) and rather nervously hooked it up and tried the motors, which to my relief appeared to work as per normal. Later on I tried it fully loaded with a scope (my 17kg Meade SN10) and counterweights and again, to my relief, it worked normally. I can only presume that when i'd taken it out earlier in the week (with my 8kg OOVX8L f6 Newt on) to knock some of the rust off my observing skills, I'd not charged it enough beforehand?!
Anyway once I'd selected No (instead of Yes, DOH!!) when prompted for Daylight Savings or not on the handset and oriented the RA axis properly, so the front of the scope was pointing at the target not the rear! :-), it worked fine and most targets were pretty much spot on either in the middle or near the middle of the FOV, which is not bad for just a 1 star alignment!!
Now how do I keep the battery isolated from the cold without compromising its use?
**I'd forgotten how dense the stars are! Its a really good test of a scopes optics, collimation and focusing to tease out the tiny faint pinpoints of light, which appear at times to blend together. averted vision establishes that they are individual points of light. The view is similar to that of M36 & M38 in binos. I could have slotted my 17mm TV Nagler in which at x71 mag and 1.13 degrees TFOV, would have opened the cluster up. Perhaps next time.