A beautiful (extremely rare) clear and Moonless night last night - so I was out until 3:00 a.m. this morning
Two jobs on the go, Hyperstar imaging the Pleiades in the South Dome, and polar aligning and setting up in the North Dome. I will start with the North Dome antics.
I am using Sharpcap for polar aligning and it was less than a 30-minute job to get "Excellent" alignment in the South Dome. In the North Dome it was giving me nothing but trouble. Last night I actually packed up and gave in before pulling myself together and going out again to sort the bastard out. At some times I would get plate solved, at other times I would get intermittent plate solving, and at yet other times the bloody thing would not plate solve AT ALL. By times I really should say ANGLES. So what was happening?
Like an idiot I have 2 apple trees too close to the observatory in the North, no problem with stuff to the North, unless of course you need to see Polaris for Sharpcap polar alignment. Still no great problem, all I have to do is take the top off the apple trees and I'll still see Polaris OK as it is well above the roof of the house. So a couple of weeks back I took the top off both apple trees and thought everything was O.K. But I see in the cold light of day, that I didn't take enough off the top of one of the trees, and it was at that angle (of the mount) that the polar aligning plate solving was failing. Well in the end I managed to work around the offending branches and finally got "Excellent" polar alignment - PHEW!
Whilst I was playing these games in the North Dome I was imaging the Pleiades in the South Dome with the Hyperstar 4. The image shows 27 x 3-minute subs with the HS4. The result is VERY interesting. It is NOT perticularly deep, but it is EXACTLY the depth I would expect from (the equivalent) 15-minute subs from the Sky90s. Now it took 1-hour exposures from the Sky90s to show the Taurus molecular clouds in the region which equates to 12-minute subs on the Hyperstar 4. So the final experiment I am going to do on the HS 4 to finally bring this all together in a way I can understand, will be to take 5, 10 and 15-minute subs with the HS 4 and check out the resulting depth of the images. I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to see - but it would be great if the experiment confirms.
One massive bonus from this HS4 - no ghost flares from bright stars!! Yipeeeeee!!!!!